Two particular areas where people struggle with saying “no” at Christmas are around parties – agreeing to go to ones they don’t want to, and staying at ones that they want to leave.
Invitations to events that you don’t want to go to, whether pantomimes or parties, can cause you to feel pressured into making a commitment. Don’t think that you have to commit there and then – mention something positive about the event, but tell them that you’ll have to think about it. When you speak to them later be honest, and don’t ever make up a reason as to why you can’t go – if you’re found out it looks much worse than a polite no ever could.
When you’re saying “no” to an invitation try to use the “no” sandwich. This is a reason why it sounds as if it will be nice, a genuine reason as to why it’s a “no”, and then something else positive – perhaps “if we had more notice next time we’d probably say yes”.
But what if having happily gone to a party you’re now trying to leave, and being pressured to stay? Use the opposite of the “no” sandwich – in this case tell them no, mention something positive about the party, and then tell them no again. For instance – “We must go as we’re getting tired. It’s been a great party and we’ve really enjoyed it, but we must go as we have to be up early”.