So my friend called me and asked me what I was doing later for Thanksgiving. I replied that I would go with my family to dinner at an uncle's house. Near the end of the call, he asked me if I would invite him to the dinner. I replied yes out of no real thing to say or just being nice.

I do not feel comfortable with him attending my family's dinner. This is weird because he said he didn't want to go to his family's dinner. What should I have said to refuse inviting him to my family's dinner?

He also told me to pick him up. He doesn't live far, but honestly I don't feel it is appropriate for the occasion.

  • I've edited your question to make it fit better in IPS. Please make sure it still match what you want to ask. Please also read Jesse's comment.
    – Vylix
    Nov 24, 2017 at 2:05
  • 3
    I assume this happens in United States? Different cultures might affect how we should give our answers.
    – Vylix
    Nov 24, 2017 at 2:07
  • 2
    Why do you feel it's inappropriate, and why did you feel you couldn't tell your friend that reason?
    – Kat
    Nov 25, 2017 at 0:28

3 Answers 3


He asked you for an invitation that wasn't yours to give. You're not the host, you're not the one who prepared the food, and you're not the one who will be inconvenienced by a last-minute guest. Whether to invite him is up to your uncle.

What you say in this situation is something like "I'm sorry, but my uncle is hosting, not me. I can't just show up with an extra person; that's not fair to him."

In the alternate universe where you want him to come, your response should instead be "I'll have to ask my uncle first; that's not my decision to make". Then you do that and, if your uncle says ok, you invite him.

I've occasionally dealt with people trying to invite themselves to events I'm going to, and this is the approach that has worked for me (US midwest).

  • 4
    You make an excellent point that I should have included in my response. "It's not my event; it's not my place to extend an invitation." Have an upvote! Nov 24, 2017 at 5:48
  • 8
    This would still have been a valid way back from the situation; you'd thought since saying yes, and realised the invitation wasn't yours to extend so must withdraw it.
    – Dan
    Nov 24, 2017 at 13:44

"I'm sorry; that's not going to work." People get so worked up about how to handle saying "no". There's no additional explanation necessary. Just apologize and say it won't work. If the friend asks why, the answer is "it just won't. I'd love to spend time with you, but Thanksgiving won't work."

  • specially if it is about family, nobody decent will ever say something if you refuse to invite them at a family event.
    – Walfrat
    Nov 27, 2017 at 11:55

Don't say "Yes" if you don't mean it, that the most important thing here, probably. If you don't have a thing to say right away and you don't want to give a flat "No" for whatever reason, say that that you need to discuss this with others first, while you formulate the answer.

But in this case the answer is pretty easy: "Sorry, mate it's a family only thing, you know how it is"

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.