Social anxiety is no fun, but it’s still more fun than accepting an invitation to something you don’t want to attend. Even if your friend invites you to something you want to do, sometimes we all just need some me-time. So how do you get out of an invitation without accidentally getting out of a friendship? We’ve got you.

The first thing you should realize is this: you don’t have to justify taking a break from socializing. It’s okay to be a temporary hermit on occasion. Plus, we’re living amid a pandemic right now, so that’s the ultimate get out of jail free card. Feel free to use that reasoning liberally. It may be the right thing to do, mainly if you may come into contact with the elderly or health-compromised people.

However, some people might not see it that way. If you’re worried that reasoning won’t fly, we’ve got some ideas on how to delicately and politely decline the next invitation for when you just want to hang out at home in sweat pants (a perfectly fair reason and my personal favorite).

How Important is it Really?
If you’re waiting around to answer an RSVP for something super important like a wedding, then you need to decline quickly. It doesn’t matter if it’s uncomfortable, waiting until the last minute can cost your friend money and cause inconveniences that could easily be avoided.

Declining promptly is especially crucial for significant events or if someone is holding a ticket for you that they could give to someone else. It’s okay to decline; just do everyone a favor and don’t drag your feet out of anxiety. It’s also a good idea to write a note or send a gift if you can’t make a big event.

Answer: Not that Important
With the big events out of the way, your friend might invite you to just hang out casually during the pandemic, but you’re not ready to take that step. What to do?

Once again, don’t ignore the invitation — delaying your response is one way to take a non-issue and make it an issue. Just think of what you’d prefer someone does for you if the roles were reversed. Sure, you can use the old, “I didn’t get that text,” excuse, but come on, who believes that anymore? Plus, this article has “polite” in the headline, so we’re skipping the white lies in this guide.

Don’t Ignore
Acknowledge the invite but quickly explain that you have a prior engagement. We said no white lies, but hey, who says that spending the night on the couch for a Netflix binge isn’t just as valid an event? Busy means busy, the end.

If you’re just feeling tired or socially over-spent, let your friend know! Everyone can relate to feeling like they need some time to themselves to rest. However, be warned that your “team no sleep” friends might not be as sympathetic as most people.

Be Honest
Another way to decline an invitation and this one is radical — just be honest and say you don’t feel like going right now. If the person is your friend, they will probably understand. They may be miffed at the moment, but it won’t matter tomorrow.

“Another Time,” but Seriously
If the invitation is from a good friend, you probably will want to see them eventually, so just suggest rescheduling for another time. Though here’s the catch — be specific and actually reschedule, or you’ll sound like you’re just making an excuse.