How to Decline an Invitation
Business Writing Tips

How to Decline an Invitation

If you’ve been asked to participate in a meeting, and you have another appointment at that time or you just can’t do it, you have a few options. You can say no and decline the invitation, or you can put it off until later (or never). This article will go over some of the most common ways to decline an invitation.

Declining an invitation is not always easy. It can be hard because you may feel like you’re letting someone down. But if it’s not a good time for you, it’s best to decline politely. Here are some tips on how to decline an invitation without hurting feelings:

1) Be polite and respectful – The first thing to remember is that you don’t have to be rude and express regret.

2) Show interest in the event/meeting

3) Explain the reason for the decline like family obligations or other engagements

4) Suggest another date and time for the meeting

What Are Some Reasons to Decline an Invitation

It has been observed that many people are declining their appointments nowadays. The reasons for the decline can vary. Some of the main reasons for the decline of an invitation are:

1) Another meeting at the same time – Just let them know nicely that you can’t make it – ”As much as I would like to meet with you, I regrettably won’t be able to attend the event on XX because I’ll be having another meeting on the same day. I hope we’ll get a chance to meet in person in the future!
2) Illness – There are many causes of illness such as a virus, infection, or flu. In this case, you should not feel guilty. It can happen to anyone and you cannot change the circumstances.
3) Vacation – It is planned in advance and you cannot change the date of the planned trip.
4) Problems with your family, pet, car, home, etc.

Decline Invitation Phrases:

1. I regret to inform you that …
2. I’m unavailable on that day …
3. I’m afraid that I’m obliged to …
4. Unfortunately, I will be …
5. Sorry, but I am busy on that day …
6. I’m afraid I can’t make it then.
7. Much to my regret, …

Sample Sentences to Decline an Invitation:

1) Regretfully, we need to inform you that we are unable to accept your invitation owing to a prior engagement.

2) Unfortunately, I’m unable to attend owing to another meeting on that date.

3) Unfortunately, I need to decline our meeting as I shall be out of the country on 5th January.

4) I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it on Saturday as I already have something on.

5) Unfortunately, I will be out of town on the 17th and therefore will not be able to attend the conference.

6) With reference to your letter of the 16th May, I would like to inform you that I will be unable to meet you on 20th May.

7) Much to my regret, I’m obliged to cancel our forthcoming meeting, owing to a sudden illness. I apologize for any inconvenience caused, and I will contact you as soon as possible to arrange another meeting.

8) In reply to your letter of 16th May, I would be pleased to meet you but would prefer if the meeting could be postponed to 20th May.

9) I’m afraid I will need to cancel the meeting on Friday. My team leader just told me that I need to present our new product on that day. How about meeting you next Friday?

10) Unfortunately, I will be out of the country for three weeks. May I suggest I get in touch with you on my return to arrange another appointment?

11) I’m afraid that I’m obliged to change the date of our meeting, due to a problem with my car.

12) I wonder if I might ask you to postpone the meeting to 5 pm on the same afternoon.

13) I’m unavailable on that day. I suggest we postpone the meeting to the following week.

14) I will be pleased to meet you on Monday but would prefer it if it could be postponed to later in the day.

15) I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it after all.


There are multiple reasons why you need to decline an invitation. Some people might say that they cannot attend because they have a conflicting event going on, family-related problems, or they are just on a vacation. When you decline the invitation politely and are honest with the other person, he will be just as polite and will not be offended.

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