Rejecting an invitation can hurt the feelings of both the inviter and the invitee. So, how can we properly say “no” to offers? According to research, there is a better method to make the process go more smoothly by choosing the best “reason.”

Invitations are more than just showing up at a given time. We want the people invited to be part of something special in our lives, so we feel upset even if they have valid reasons for declining. If we believe our invitation was denied due to reasons beyond the intended visitors’ control, rather than assuming they don’t want to go, we take it less personally. So what’s a better way to decline an offer or invitation? Saying “I don’t have the money” is the solution, according to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. This “reason” is more acceptable to the inviter because money is something we only have a limited amount of control over. Time, however, is something we all have equal access to; we all have 24 hours a day. This makes time-constraint denials feel more like a choice not to give way for the invitation.

Even so, the fact that it matters to us after an offer has been refused could be a positive sign. It shows that we value the relationships we have with other people.