Here it comes. You’ve been invited to your family reunion hoedown…and they all want you stay together in a hotel. Your family is great and all, but that’s just a lot of time together. Feeling more comfortable with some distance between you, you’d rather save the money and stay in your own RV with your own bed. Now comes the hard part: how do you kindly decline a hotel stay with your family without breaking your momma’s heart?
The Quick Dodge: Thanks, but I’ve already made plans.
Try something like this — “Oh, we’d love to stay at the hotel with you guys, but we’ve already made plans for staying at (insert campground here) and placed a non-refundable deposit. How about we do dinner?”
The easiest tactic, this doesn’t require any kind of skill or wit. It’s a quick in and out, tell the truth and hope they accept it without hurt feelings. It’s a simple formula. Thank them for the offer but explain that you’ve already made plans. The clearer you are about your intentions and the more it seems like you’ve got solid plans, the less likely it is that you’ll get much push back from the person requesting your stay. Adding an extra offer to hang out might help soften the blow a little so it doesn’t seem like you just don’t want to be around them.
The Tuck and Roll: I’m more comfortable in my RV than a hotel room.
Try something like this — “A hotel stay sounds great, but we’ve gotten used to our homey RV and really enjoy our time there when we’re traveling. Why don’t we hang out at the pool (or at our place, over drinks, something where you can all spend time together so they don’t feel like you’re being stand-offish)?”
A simple and honest approach, explaining that you’re just more comfortable around your stuff and in your own bed is something that anyone can understand. Most people don’t mind traveling, or even staying in hotels for a night or two, but given the choice, you bet that the majority of those people will pick their own bed and pillow any day over a hotel stay.
What not to do.
Using your kid as an excuse just isn’t a good idea (especially if it’s family). If you’ve got luck like a black cat on Halloween, your relatives are likely to check in on you and your little pumpkin to see if there’s anything they can do. They really mean well! But when he’s running around playing like a maniac it’ll be pretty obvious that he’s not actually under the weather.
On second thought, outright lying in general is never a good idea. You have to remember the lie and work to make sure it’s not discovered. Save yourself the headache by being upfront and honest. Besides, your momma always could tell when you were lyin’ between those teeth.
What to do.
Be thankful, honest and don’t over explain why you’re turning down the offer. Someone is opening their home or hospitality to you, so you should be kind in the way you decline the offer, especially when it’s a good friend or family. This can get tricky, but remember to be honest (but tactful!) and to the point. Over explaining your situation can make it seem like you’re making an excuse.
Did you ever wonder how the people of the South got such a great reputation for Southern hospitality and charm? They always flash a smile! Even when the news is bad, it’s softened a little with a smile from the bearer of bad news. No one really takes rejection well, but if you show a big Southern grin, your momma’s bound to take it a little better.
Be confident (but not forceful) in your answer. If you look or sound like you might be wavering, it’s invitation for another request. If you seem like you’ve clearly made up your mind, you’re delivering the message that you can’t be swayed even if there’s another request in the future.
There is a right and wrong way to turn down an offer. Learning how to be tactful can save relationships and headaches in the future. Next time when your family is insistent on you dishing out the dough for an expensive hotel stay, don’t be afraid to try one of these tactics to help you toe the line between an uncomfortable hotel room and enjoying your Good Life home away from home.