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There's a reunion party that has been organized by my High School friends. Let's say, it's on 10th of June. They expect almost everyone to be present since it's the first reunion that we have had. But, I wouldn't be able to attend it due to reasons being that I am fully occupied that day, as by day, I have to go to a training place(which is optional, for the record) and by night I have to travel to another city for some work.

To Clarify, I did tell them I couldn't attend but they keep pestering me saying I could skip the optional training to attend since it's the first reunion. So, how do I communicate effectively to my friends that I won't be able to attend this event?

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    What's wrong with just saying "I won't be able to attend this event."? – sphennings May 23 '18 at 14:14
  • @sphennings Sorry, I had forgotten to add that part as to why that hasn't worked so far. – Sid May 23 '18 at 14:19
  • Do you want to stay as polite as possible, or would being a little rude be ok? (i.e. "let me decide myself where I set my priorities") – Kaspar Scherrer May 23 '18 at 14:21
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    It sounds like you're less interested in how to tell them that you won't be attending and more interested in how to get them to stop pushing for you to attend after you have said that you won't. – sphennings May 23 '18 at 14:22
  • @sphennings No, but, considering I have already told them in a certain way and it wasn't successful, I am looking how to tell them in a different way that works. – Sid May 23 '18 at 14:34
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What's important here are two things: your willingness/availability to attend the reunion, and the willingness of others to accept your non-attendance.

You can do precious little about the second, and have already made your decision regarding the first. Now the challenge is to convey the first item in a way that helps with the second.

I believe that the reason you are unavailable is irrelevant and talking about it only encourages argument. So it's time to quit saying, "I can't make it because I have..." and time to start saying, "I'm sorry, but I'm not available and won't be there." "Why not?" "It doesn't matter; I won't be there."

That's it. You're not available. The reason is irrelevant - you can't come.

Now, for the people who won't accept your lack of availability or are overly insistent on your attending, I'd say something like, "Thanks for asking. I understand it's important to you but I can't make it. Please don't keep asking; that won't change that I cannot make it." And if people try to "help" you by saying "change your plans" or "come on, don't you want to...", I'd respond a little more forcefully: "I've already said I won't be there and I'm going to ask you to stop and to accept that I will not be there. This is getting tiresome. Thanks." Keep in mind that the badgering will continue until people discover one of two things: you will be there, or it won't work. So it's important for you to help them arrive at one of those two and quickly.

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I did tell them I couldn't attend but they keep pestering me saying I could skip the optional training to attend since it's the first reunion.

Well, now you've learned your lesson. Don't divulge details like that. You should have left it at "I'm sorry, but I can't make it".

That said, your friends are being jerks, and there really isn't a response you can make to make them not feel like they have the right to be jerks. They have no right to harass you about not going to this event. You are under no obligation at all to make them accept your reason.

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It sounds like you have done just about all you could. You gave them a fair reason to why you cannot attend. Any further pestering on their part is now out of ignorance or rudeness.

A further idea would be to emphasise just how important this course is to you and your career, even if it is optional. "I'm happy that you really want me there, but in the long run I stand to benefit a lot more from this training course than I do a high school reunion. I've already committed to this course, signed up etc. and it will not go down well with my superiors if I back out now."

It's up to you now to stay assertive and not succumb to what sounds like peer pressure. Eventually you may just have to give them the ultimatum; the more they talk about it, the less likely you are to go (even if you never wanted to go anyway).

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