Thanks for this post and thanks to everyone who have replied with some great ideas.
I have never been shy about declining invitations to attend socialising events and have found that over time people tend to stop asking me.
However, I still seem to meet a lot of people in different settings without the incumbency of having to sit down in a prearranged place to do so. All those who know me also know that I only drink plain water, so being invited for a ‘drink’ is a bit of a waste of time. Sometimes, my response to invitations is to counter it with an invitation to them to join me in one of my (volunteering) activities. This has often worked very well with those who are so inclined.
Some invitations come regularly, usually annually, but when I was working, it was on everyone’s birthday. This was always too much for me so I did my usual thing and compiled a rhyme as a response.
Also, I used to run a (therapeutic) conversational session twice a week, to which anyone could be invited, so I would counter most personal invitations with my own invitation for people to attend these sessions.
Those who did come were not disappointed with the conversational interaction and over time attendance remained healthy.
I am a firm believer in doing ‘your-thing’ as I have written in the very last line of the rhyme; “No can do!”
NO CAN DO!
Sorry I can’t make your do,
but this is not to do with you.
I find as I grow old you see
I can’t be like I used to be.
I cannot socialise so well
and that’s it – in a nutshell.
My taste has gone, my hearing too,
rarely now do I argue.
It gets too hard in company
not to create disharmony.
I used to love to play the game
when humour was my middle name.
But as the pain of life moves on
I find my humour’s almost gone.
All that mischievous tyranny
has melted into irony.
I cannot always find a way
to make sense of all I say,
and if I can’t do this for me
I don’t want other’s there to see.
Oh! to be different I may wish –
like you are water and I’m the fish.
I’ve given up on all these do’s
and only stay where I can’t lose.
If I came I’d feel a Walley
sharing all this melancholy.
So –forgive me if I don’t arrive,
I’m sure that you will all survive.
My best wishes to everyone
and do your thing –‘till your thing’s done.
B. Withers 1996
(In: Reflections 1998)