Scientists reveal why being a scrooge about holiday parties is good for your mental health

  • Study says it's okay to say “no” to vacation invitations to avoid burnout
  • 77% of people worry that their relationships will be ruined if they decline an invitation
  • Read more: How to relax during the holidays

While saying “no” to holiday parties may seem like you're being stingy, researchers have found that declining an invitation to an unappealing event is good for mental health.

Scientists at West Virginia University conducted a recent survey and found that more than three-quarters of people accepted an invitation to attend something they didn't want to attend because they were worried about the consequences of backing out.

This action left individuals feeling stressed, anxious and exhausted, and the study found that all of this could be avoided by declining the invitation.

However, the team decided so Not only do loved ones not care about declined invitations as much as we imagine they do, but declining invitations can be helpful in avoiding burnout.

Declining invitations could be good for your mental health, according to researchers who say it may help you avoid 'burnout' during the holiday season.

“It's a huge problem,” Julian Giffey, lead author and assistant professor at West Virginia University, said in a statement Press releasese: I was once invited to an event that I never wanted to attend, but I attended anyway because I was nervous that the person who invited me would be upset if I didn't do it — and this seems to be a common experience.

“However, our research shows that the negative consequences of saying no are much less serious than we expect.”

The new study, published by the American Psychological Association, found that of the 2,000 people surveyed, 77% said they accepted invitations to an event simply because they were worried about how the person would react if they didn't go.

The researchers conducted a series of five experiments, looking at the thought process that invitees went through when considering declining an invitation versus how the invitee reacted to rejection.

The study revealed that an invitee is less likely to have negative feelings if the invitee declines an invitation to attend their event

The study revealed that an invitee is less likely to have negative feelings if the invitee declines an invitation to attend their event

In one experiment, participants were asked to react to a scenario where a friend invited them to dinner at a restaurant with a famous chef, but the participants had plans during the day and wanted to relax that evening.

The majority of participants responded that they believed if they declined the invitation, their friend would be angry with them, it would hurt their friendship, and they would not be invited to events in the future.

Researchers in the study said one explanation for invitees' concerns was an “inflated sense of importance,” but stated that an alternative reasoning was that they “overestimate negative consequences…due to motivated reasoning.”

The study presented a third possibility, which is that the invitee believes that the person who issued the invitation will focus on withdrawing instead of thinking about the reason behind rejecting the invitation.

In another experiment, the researchers used a typical approach to test their hypothesis from the first study by having half the participants play the role of the inviter and the other half the role of the inviter and then switch their roles to the opposite perspective.

The team said their findings support their first hypothesis that the invitee believes there are negative consequences for declining the invitation.

The study acknowledged that although participants' answers were anonymous, “it is possible…that they wanted to respond in a socially acceptable way.”

Overall, all five experiments had the same result, and the study said that saying “no” to invitations is a difficult process, “which leads people to accept invitations when they do not want to.”

“Through our experiences, we have consistently found that invitees overestimate the negative repercussions that arise in the eyes of invitees after declining an invitation,” Jiffy said in the statement.

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