Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

We always want to strengthen friendships, even when we have to turn someone down.

How do you respond to an invite in the distant future when you can’t commit?

You want to affirm the relationship instead of potentially hurting it.

Listen in on today’s episode for examples from Michelle’s texts.

You will learn how to respond when you can’t commit to an event that is far in the future.

We’ll share tips on how to do this without breaking the connection.

Can you make it?

When someone invites you to an event that is months or years from now, it can be hard to commit.

This is because you don’t always know for certain you will be available at that later date.

Something may come up causing you to cancel plans made with a friend.

It can be nerve-racking committing to events in the distant future.

Don’t miss a related episode sharing how to cancel plans considerately.

Check out episode AEE 673: How to Flake Out without Losing Out on the Connection.

Michelle’s texts

Michelle shares a text message response to a friend who invited her to a concert in the future.

Michelle: I wish I could tell you if I could go. Literally today we were talking about going out of town around this time of year. Obviously not set in stone but if you have to decide then I’d probably say I shouldn’t book anything. But I appreciate your thinking of me and maybe we can find time to do something else fun.

Four basic steps to say you can’t make it

In today’s episode, you’ll learn how to say you can’t commit to an event set in the future by a friend or colleague.

This vocabulary helps you do this in a kind, considerate way that affirms the relationship.

There are four basic steps that can be used as a template to make sure you communicate well in English and keep the connection strong.

Michelle used these 4 steps in the text message shared above.

#1: Be honest

It’s always vital to be honest with friends.

You can share what’s happening and explain your situation.

Looking into the text message sent by Michelle, she was honest with her friend.

She shared that she had discussed with her husband potential plans that would be near the date of the concert.

#2: Share a plan

The next step is to mention an action you suggest based on what you shared.

You can share how your situation coincides with their invitation.

Then, give your friend options on what to do.

Looking again at Michelle’s text, she mentioned that her plans are not final but it would be best not to book the concert tickets since it may conflict with her schedule in the future.

She suggested that her friend not take any action just yet.

#3: Thank your friend and affirm the relationship

Michelle then ended the text by thanking her friend and giving her confirmation that her inability to commit doesn’t affect their friendship.

She helped her friend feel that though she can’t make it to the concert, she hopes they can catch up another time.

Related episodes

Check out two other episodes related to today’s topic.

When it comes to making and canceling plans, you need to consider the connection.

These episodes will give you the vocabulary and skills you need!

What if you are sure you can’t make it?

There will be situations where you have to decline invites.

Either you are not sure since it’s too far in the future or you aren’t free on that date.

Michelle shares that this happened to her when a friend invited her to be a maid of honor in a wedding.

It’s difficult for those planning a wedding when you delay responding or are unsure.

Michelle knew she couldn’t attend because it was on the same day as another major event she was attending.

She responded:

“I feel so awful but I can’t make it because I’m at a friend’s wedding as well on that same day. I’m so bummed.”

  • bummed: annoyed or disappointed

Another scenario shared by Michelle is when she sent RSVPs for her son’s birthday and a friend responded:

“Sounds good. We might be going on a trip that weekend but didn’t book the ticket yet so up in the air.”

To say ‘up in the air’ means plans aren’t set and it is unsure if something will happen.


Here are a few roleplays to help you better understand the learning shared in today’s episode.

In these scenarios, Lindsay and Michelle are texting each other.

Scenario #1:

Michelle: Lindsay! Save the date. My bridal shower is on December 6th. I’d love for you to be there.
Lindsay: Oh thank you so much for that Michelle. Oh, that date. I might be in Florida. Still arranging the plans but I’ll keep you posted. I hope I don’t have to miss it.
Michelle: Oh, okay. Let me know.

Scenario #2:

Lindsay: Michelle, would you want to go to this wine festival with me? It’s not for a while. October 10th.
Michelle: That sounds so cool! Oh no! October 10th? I definitely can’t go. I have a wedding that day. I’m sorry.
Lindsay: Ah no worries.


It can be tricky to decline invites far in the future, especially with friends.

You don’t want to break the connection just because you said no.

The key thing to do every time you decline is to affirm your relationship.

You have to communicate that not being able to commit to an event doesn’t mean you don’t want to see them.

Take the chance to make plans to do something else together!

Use the steps and examples learned today next time you need to decline an invitation!

When have you had to decline an invitation?

Share it in the comments below.

  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)
  • US_ListenOn_AmazonMusic_button_black_RGB_5X
  • App-Store-Button
  • google-play-badge
  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)
  • US_ListenOn_AmazonMusic_button_black_RGB_5X