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I live in a city in the UK that is hosting some competitive sporting events in coming months. From my time at university and beyond, I have made a number of friends and acquaintances across the globe, some of which are interested in the sports involved. They mainly come from North America and Asia. Many have been messaging me asking if it is worthwhile travelling to attend these events. Many of them - from the wording of their messages - assume that because I live in the city, that I automatically have an interest in the sports involved.

The problem is that I have no interest whatsoever in these events and thus have never tried to learn more about them. I would normally recommend a friend or acquaintance who also lives in the city that they could ask for pointers from, but nobody in my extended circle is interested either. To my knowledge, I have never lead anyone to assume that I do like these sports.

Personally, I find the events to be quite inconvenient due to road closures, effects on public transport etc., but I keep these opinions to myself as I don't want to discourage an avid fan from attending (and it's the price you pay for living in the city!). When someone asks for info or if I'm interested, I don't mention these inconveniences, nor say anything hurtful or extreme; just that it's not my cup of tea, but they ought to check out web sites or Facebook groups for people that might be. I'm always still happy to catch up with them in person if they come visit though, and the city has plenty to offer besides hosting these events. I'd hate to lie to them because I know virtually nothing about the sports, I really can't say if the long trips are worth it just for those.

On my opinion alone, some are feeling discouraged or are seriously considering cancelling their trip because it's not worth it if I'm not excited about it. For many I suspect I'm their only regular point of contact here. My questions are; How can I encourage them to not base their judgements purely on my own opinion (without ignoring them or lying)? Similarly, how can I suggest to them to do some digging into groups that would be interested without coming across as dismissive?

  • are you sure they would not expect to witness the events with you and they change plans because they understand you would not be interested? – Federico Aug 23 '18 at 12:48
  • Agree with @Federico since I at least would interpret those messages as an implied excuse to come visit you and hopefully spend some time doing an activity you would both enjoy. Have you considered suggesting an alternative activity? – Onyz Aug 23 '18 at 13:08
  • @Federico There were no implied invitation that I could see, though it's a possibility. I'll give them a re-read to be sure. – user8671 Aug 24 '18 at 7:10
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It sounds like the people wouldn't go to see the event if they couldn't make visiting you part of the trip. Which is to say, you are as important to them as the sporting event.

There's no reason to mask your lack of interest in the sport:

To be honest, you're better off asking someone else because I really couldn't care less about (the sport). It's just not my thing.

(For example, every year in San Diego there is a well-known convention called Comic-Con. This is one of the largest conventions in the world, with hundreds of thousands of visitors, hundreds of booths and exhibitions, talks from major film studios, and usually more than a few celebrity appearances. In all the years I've lived here, I have never gone. I hear it's fun, but I have no interest. If people ask me if they should go, I tell them pretty much what I wrote above: "It's just not my thing. You should ask someone who does go.")

Anyway, this response may be a disappointment if the wanted to invite you to see the event with them. If that's the case, you can proactively address it by offering an alternative:

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't come here to see it. I've heard it's quite exciting. We can always make plans to meet at (location/activity) afterward.

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    Going over the emails, there aren't any direct invites to the events (though some might get a little lost in translation!). I've been saying to them that we can do things outside of the events but you're right, it'd be good to insist they don't change their plans, and that they will still find it interesting. – user8671 Aug 29 '18 at 9:52
  • @Kozaky Sure, I may have been reading too much into it. If they just want your opinion, be direct but non-judgmental and advise that you are not the person to ask because you're not a fan of the sport (but your friends who are fans have told you it's fun) – Andrew Aug 29 '18 at 15:33
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As with most situations of this nature, simple communication is probably best, but you are already doing that, as you posted:

When someone asks for info or if I'm interested, I don't mention these inconveniences, nor say anything hurtful or extreme; just that it's not my cup of tea, but they ought to check out web sites or Facebook groups for people that might be. I'm always still happy to catch up with them in person if they come visit though, and the city has plenty to offer besides hosting these events.

There does not appear to be any deception by these comments.

If they are discouraged by your lack of interest, that is out of your control. Should THEY choose to change their plans, that is THEIR choice.

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