How do you politely decline social events during the working day?

(16 Posts)
CatsAndTheirPizza Mon 24-Jun-13 17:08:30

I'm sure I've read on here before about mums working from home having friends struggling to understand that just because it is from home, it is still work. I've been turning down social events during the working day recently and have just had a slightly snarky comment from someone because I have been trying to politely defer a suggestion to meet up. I'm finding that since I have started working from home people still expect me to be available to meet up. I have still been doing so to some extent, but have been trying to do so less regularly so that more time passes between seeing people.

If I spent less time on here, I would get more done, it's true! But it suits my working style to dip in and out of here while I work, it doesn't suit my working style to wipe 2 hours out of a short primary school day socialising. I've always respected when other people have to work, so this is beginning to irritate now.

I just need some stock phrases to hand so as not to offend. I've done the usual 'let me look in my diary and I'll get back to you' ... then offering a week several weeks away. If anyone has any other tips, I'd be grateful.

YoniMitchell Mon 24-Jun-13 17:11:37

What's wrong with 'sorry, I'm working'?

YoniMitchell Mon 24-Jun-13 17:12:04

... followed by 'how about (insert evening/weekend suggestion) instead?'

CrowsLanding Mon 24-Jun-13 17:13:54

What Yoni said. confused

Its not hard, I work from home and have no problem saying 'Sorry I cant I'm working'

CatsAndTheirPizza Mon 24-Jun-13 17:18:21

They know I am working. Evenings are difficult when my husband works away and when he is here at week-ends, I want to see him. I want to see them, but not very often. I just wasn't expecting any kick back from it - but I guess I need to be more assertive and if they can't handle it, it's their problem.

MrsMeg Mon 24-Jun-13 17:22:46

I sympathise, I also work from home and find this really tricky despite being normally quite assertive.

Friends would rap on the office window (converted dining room) and then expect to be invited in for coffee.

They did eventually get the message but it took a few years a while smile

CatsAndTheirPizza Mon 24-Jun-13 17:33:17

Thanks Mrs Meg. Not sure I have years' worth of patience tbh!

HenWithAttitude Mon 24-Jun-13 17:41:32

I work out of the home and still struggle to get some friends to understand that I'm not available in the working week. They make frequent 'dates' and look disappointed when I don't accept...usually followed up with what about the next day? What part of 'I work' don't they get?

I think some regard women working as either a hobby or a flexible choice!

MrsMeg Mon 24-Jun-13 21:34:26

Could you orchestrate a conversation about a fictitious neighbour or friend who keeps popping round for a chat / then get them on your side agreeing how thoughtless said neighbour/friend is given that you work from home?

Or just tell them to stop being so bloody dim grin

CatsAndTheirPizza Mon 24-Jun-13 22:43:56

I could do MrsMeg - but I am a hopeless liar and I would probably forget what I had said and trip myself up! (plus one of the people is actually a neighbour!). I think I'll stick to 'don't be so bloddy dim'!

badguider Mon 24-Jun-13 22:49:46

Your problem is being friends with anybody who would be sarky about you saying you can't meet.

I work from home and have a lot of freelance friends and a phd student friend and we all invite each other for a daytime coffee all the time. We also all often get told 'I can't, got too much work, what about next week' or similar.. we expect that... still nice to sometimes have a coffee break though when work is less manic and no immediate deadline so I'm happy for them to continue to ask.

I work in an office but flexibly within school hours. However I also have a very close group of friends that all meet every week for coffee. We have settled on having coffee as soon as we drop our DCs at school on a Friday (all different schools but all within 10 mins drive). If I'm working I pop in and stay for 15 mins then head off to work so I see my friends but still get to work by 9.30. If I'm not working then I stay and natter or host at my house. Having a fixed time every week that suits everyone is really helpful.

CatsAndTheirPizza Mon 24-Jun-13 23:18:13

'Your problem is being friends with anybody who would be sarky about you saying you can't meet' - I know Badguider, I did wonder, and am pretty sure I am going to cancel the coffee I ended up arranging (I'm feeble, I know). She's been 'under review' from a friendship point of view before, but it really irritated me today as there was an edge to it. I really can't be doing with friends with alternative agendas. She knows what this work means to me too, which speaks volumes.

That's a good idea WhoKnows. Unfortunately, they don't all fall within the same group. I would love to do that - walk into town and get some exercise, have a quick coffee and come home. I need to start being more assertive - I can 'do' assertive in confrontational situations, but I find it really hard with friends.

DIYapprentice Wed 26-Jun-13 17:01:16

Could you say 'I'm sorry, I find if I'm not strict with my working hours I just don't get enough done I'm afraid'.

bookishandblondish Wed 26-Jun-13 17:21:31

Just say you have conference calls with clients/ contacts etc. ( can be Skype/ landline/mobile). And allows you to Facebook/mumsnet/ email.

CatsAndTheirPizza Thu 27-Jun-13 22:33:05

Thanks DIY and Bookish - yes I will. I have cancelled the coffee anyway -

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