Saying ‘No’ to Holiday Parties Could Boost Mental Health
A study conducted by the American Psychological Association dives into the intricacies of RSVP behavior. The study sheds light on the mental health benefits of declining certain invites, particularly during the holiday season.
The study, including five experiments and over 2,000 participants, aimed to unravel the dynamics of how people respond to and perceive rejection in social scenarios. One of the experiments prompted people to imagine either extending or rejecting a dinner invitation from a friend, held at a local restaurant featuring a celebrity chef on a Saturday night.
RSVPing “no” to holiday parties is good for your health.
The results revealed a common trend. Those envisioning themselves refusing the invitation often anticipated a more negative impact on their relationship, expecting feelings of anger and disappointment from their friend. They would also envision potential exclusion from future events. Interestingly, those on the receiving end of the rejection reported lower levels of disappointment.
The research indicates a tendency among people to overestimate the consequences of declining social invitations. They found that 77% of respondents in a pilot study admitted to accepting unwanted invitations due to fears of repercussions for declining.
In another experiment involving couples, regardless of the duration of their relationship, people rejecting an invitation to a shared enjoyable activity tended to overestimate their partner’s negative reactions. This pattern persisted across couples at different stages of their relationships, suggesting a consistent tendency to misjudge the impact of saying “no.”
Overall, refusing certain social engagements can contribute positively to mental health, serving as a buffer against holiday burnout, according to the study. However, the researchers caution against full-on avoidance of all events, emphasizing the mental health benefits of socializing in moderation. While declining some invitations may offer relief from social pressures, maintaining a balanced approach to social interaction remains key.
Check out the complete study here.