How To Turn Down An Invite From A Friend If You Just Can't Afford It

Trying to create strong friendships while on a budget can be a real challenge because sharing new experiences with someone is what helps to form those lasting memories. Since not all friendship groups will have the same financial status, planning trips or even weekly events can be hard when money is a much more significant factor for some.

If a winter ski trip to Aspen is so far out of your budget that it's laughable, you might have an easier time quickly declining that invite because of how pricey it would be. However, wine tasting on the weekends or even dinner and a movie can be an overwhelming thought when you are strapped for cash.

While discussing money can feel uncomfortable or taboo, being honest about your income or goals is nothing to be ashamed about. Instead of allowing your paycheck to define you, or feeling embarrassed about not being able to afford a friend's invite, taking ownership of your choices will ultimately bring you the most peace.

Understand your reasons for saying 'no'

Humans are social creatures, making maintaining healthy friendships vital for mental and emotional well-being. According to the Mayo Clinic, solid friendships not only help to give your life meaning and purpose but they support you through the ups and downs of life. Understanding the importance of these connections can make turning down a friend's getaway even harder. However, feeling confident in your decision will stem from fully understanding your own reasons.

Perhaps you are saving up for a house, or are cutting back on extra spending in order to invest in retirement. Maybe you want a financial buffer because you are considering switching jobs. Whatever your reasons are, it's okay to feel confident in the factors that are motivating your financial decisions. Plus, being honest when discussing your money situation is an example of healthy communication that will strengthen your friendships.

Of course, if your friends pressure you to bend these goals you've set for yourself, they might not be the healthiest influences in the first place. This is why recognizing the real difference between a toxic friend and a good friend is so vital. However, don't be surprised if they don't want to take no for an answer. Friends that are financially well off might offer to pay for your portion of a trip or attempt to adjust the outing to accommodate your budget. This may feel awkward at first, but recognizing that your friends just want to spend time with you is essential.

The truth will set you free

It may be tempting to lie about your financial reality out of embarrassment or to avoid feeling self-conscious. Unfortunately, this could lead to a host of other problems. According to Self, continuously coming up with excuses that don't address your true thoughts or feelings could lead to friends interpreting your declines as disinterest. This can fracture the friendship and lead to fewer invites over time.

Honesty is the best policy and not only will it build trust between you and your friends, but your vulnerability can actually bring you closer to them. Expressing gratitude for an invite but explaining that it's not financially in the cards for you just then leaves the door open for many other options. You may even offer to plan something else that is more affordable to show that you still care. For example, a picnic in the park or weekend potluck can be affordable and is built around spending quality time together.

At the end of the day, you want people in your life that you can be your true authentic self with. It's a sign that someone is really your friend. Ideally, no "friend" would judge you based on your financial status. However, if you consistently feel the need to avoid being honest about what you can afford, you may need to reassess your boundaries. If you are worried about how your friends will internalize your invitation rejection, make it known that spending time together doesn't have to involve spending money.