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Due to COVID-19, Keiro has decided to transition all of our scheduled in-person events in 2020 to alternative formats. Read full statement here.
Enryo is a familiar Japanese cultural concept that is very much prevalent in the Japanese American community. Although the concept emphasizes respecting others by being mindful, it also may mean holding back our true opinions, thoughts, or actions and avoiding talking about an issue directly. We may be afraid of hurting someone’s feelings if we do not say what we think others want to hear.
In many Asian cultures, people may not be as verbally explicit and may avoid confrontation, while other cultures may get straight to the point they are trying to make. (Brett et al., 2013). However, the pandemic has forced many of us to reconsider how best to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
One lifestyle change we may have to make is learning how to say “no.” Whether you are invited to a party or have friends who want to gather together, it is important that we learn how to say “no” if we are uncomfortable with these situations. In addition, you may no longer want to attend a previously scheduled event due to health and safety reasons. The “rules” of socializing continue to evolve, so do not be afraid to change your response during these uncertain times.
COVID-19 is still present and actively spreading. Just because restaurants are opening and your friend asks you to lunch doesn’t necessarily mean you should feel pressured to go out. It is ultimately your decision and you should do what makes you feel most comfortable and safe. Now is not the time to worry so much about declining invitations or hurting other people’s feelings. Most people should be understanding, so simply saying “no thank you” or “maybe next time” should be enough to decline an invitation. Do not feel guilty about missing out or not participating. It may be uncomfortable at first to say no to others, so here are some tips on how to say no (How to Politely Decline, 2020).
It’s Okay to be Disappointed
Offer an Alternative
Examples of How to Decline an Invitation
Saying no or declining invitations may be uncomfortable and difficult at first, especially if it involves close friends and family. Although we may miss our friends and getting together, we should prioritize our health and safety. Remember, older adults and those with chronic illnesses are at a greater risk for serious illness due to COVID-19. If you find yourself getting invited to outings or events, think about how comfortable you would be in that situation. The gathering will likely not be very fun if you are worrying about your safety and health the entire time. In addition, your friends or loved ones may not be able to attend due to their own health conditions, or their children asking them stay home. Instead of gathering in person, include more people by getting together on Zoom or other platforms to socialize and stay safe. Ultimately, you are the one who gets to make that decision about going out. It may take some practice getting used to saying no, but do not feel guilty about declining.
Brett, et al. (2013). How to Argue Across Cultures. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2013/12/how-to-argue-across-cultures
Galligher, A. (2020). How to Politely Decline Social Invitations to Events During COVID-19. Retrieved from https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/blog/how-to-politely-decline-social-invitations-to-events-during-covid19
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