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Two classmates often phone me, asking if I want to hang out. The times I have done so, I did not enjoy myself at all. We don't seem to share any hobbies/interests.

What I have already tried (didn't work in the long run):

  1. telling them that I am being somewhere else, and can't come (and it's true when I do)
  2. telling them that I'm too tired (does not have to be very tired at all)
  3. saying that I'll call later (which I usualy don't do)

I think if I continue using the beforementioned approaches, then eventually they will stop asking. But those are all indirect approaches and - even if they stop - I fear they will think of me badly. I also think it is dishonest of me using these white lies to get excused of hanging out with them.

Question: How can I ask them to stop asking me to hang out?

Goals:
- I do not want to burn any bridges, since I will still see them regularly in class.
- If it is possible without burning bridges, I would like to explain it honestly (I just don't like hanging out with them) and not rely on lies.
- I want to keep it as polite as possible
- They accept that I don't want to hang out with them, but are not mad at me.

The obvious approach is just telling them "Sorry but I don't like hanging out with you", but I fear that they will be mad at me or think that I don't like (or even hate) them - which could have negative repercussions, seeing that there already is some bullying going on in my class.
To be clear: I think they are nice people but I just don't like hanging out with them.


Additional info:

  • Country: Sweden
  • Age: 12-13
  • The mentioned classmates are not involved in current mobbing.
5

First of all, I'm pretty impressed with your English. (I assume you are Swedish and speak it as your first language. Speaking a foreign language is not an IPS skill, but one needs to give credit where it's due.)

Right now, you're putting your friends off. Eventually they'll get tired of calling and quit doing so. But you want to tell them to stop calling because it's not fun to hang out with them.

I'd suggest being honest with them. "Thanks for asking. The last times we've hung out, it hasn't been fun for me. I'll pass, thanks." That tells them that you didn't enjoy hanging out with them. Then, if they call again, I'd suggest telling them that "I'm just not interested in hanging out any more. Thanks for inviting me, but I'm just not interested in it any more."

Don't blame anyone. Don't say it's you or it's them. It's just not fun any more and time to move on. You don't want to say anything hurtful; you just want to tell them that you aren't interested any more.

You're going to have to do this multiple times in your life when you leave jobs or break up with boyfriends/girlfriends. So I'd suggest paying attention to how this goes for you and learning from it. What worked? What didn't? What could you have done better? This is an important interpersonal skill - telling someone you aren't interested anymore - and learning how to do it gracefully is very important.

  • 2
    Very good answer! One suggestion tho: you could skip the part with "The last times we've hand out, it hasn't been fun for me". They are teenagers, quite sensible at this age and I don't know if it will be good for his friends. I' suggest a calm-warm voice telling just "Umm... I think I'll pass, thanks for asking". If you'll do that a few times, they will stop calling. But there is a risk: they will probably label you as the guy that doesn't hang out, and if you have mutual friends, it might not be ok in the future when you'll want to hang out. Just a thought. – lukuss Apr 30 '18 at 5:53
  • Hi, I edited the question quite a bit to shift the focus from requesting phrasing to asking how to do X with specific goals. Maybe it will get reopened this way. I pretty much changed the core of the question, so you might want to re-read it and edit your answer accordingly. ;) – Kaspar Scherrer Apr 30 '18 at 10:07
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I would ask myself, 'If I have nothing in common with these two people, why do they want to hang out with me? What do they get out of it?' Then ask yourself, 'Are there other people I'd prefer to hang out with? Or, do I prefer being alone?'

An old friend called me after some years to invite me to a heavy-metal concert. But I'm not interested in smoking pot and listening to deafening music at a concert filled with partiers and burn-outs. So, I politely declined the invitation. I could have suggested a different activity, but I just wasn't interested in having him/her as friend.

I didn't want to offend, because I've never burned a bridge. You never can tell what the future holds and who will end up in which positions! But I didn't want to encourage him/her either. You only need to politely decline a few times before people don't call anymore.

Maybe you could suggest an activity that the three of you can agree on. I know when I was 13 or 14 the kids at my school were interested in pretty much the same things: music, partying, sports competitions, dating, hanging out, family, etc.. I never found anyone I just didn't like.

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