You’ve seen it. There is an event or invitation posted on social media, and someone has publicly shared this:
“I would go, but can’t because of X. Winky face!”
Fair enough, only good intentions involved there I’m sure. That said, I would like to toss this friendly suggestion into the ether:
Events are posted on social media by organizers for our benefit — to inform us of the details, to offer us a chance to seize on the opportunity, to engage with the people who are interested, etc. A public ‘no’ in response doesn’t serve much of a purpose. If there are people who need to know for one reason or another that we will not be attending – or if we simply want to indicate our appreciation to the organizer – a simple private message will almost always suffice. (Even for small private events of less than 20 people, I’ve taken to usually withholding a public ‘no’ at least until the ‘yes’s’ have had a chance to come out and play.)
In my observation, a lot of people have already figured this out. If you haven’t, consider that your public ‘no’ leaves the organizer with two options: leave your stinker sitting there, or delete it as frankly not very relevant (which, being the conscientious social media user that they are, they are hesitant to do). I assume that’s not the intent.
We can do our friends and well-meaning acquaintances a favor by — almost always — kindly keeping our no votes to ourselves. Or better yet, turn them into a yes.