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How to Politely Decline Being the Best Man

decline being the best man

Is there ever a good time to say “no” to being somebody’s best man? Absolutely, and we’ve got you covered with a list of perfectly acceptable excuses.

Trying to slip out of the responsibility of being the best man can be awkward and uncomfortable. After all, likely the groom is your friend, he’s getting married, and he has bestowed upon you the honor of being his best man for one of the biggest moments of his life. Perhaps you don’t have the best relationship with the groom due to one reason or another, step back to wonder whether they may have asked you this honor in order to mend your friendship.

If mending a friendship or avoiding awkwardness doesn’t move you, and you’re dead-set on slipping out of the celebration, then that’s completely in your right to do so. After all, weddings are imposing, expensive, and nerve-wracking.

Why you shouldn’t even be in the wedding at all

Aside from not being the best man, there may also be reasons why you’d want to skip out on the wedding altogether. There are great reasons why you shouldn’t be involved in the wedding, including:

#1 You don’t get along with the bride. This is a great reason for you to opt out of the nuptial festivities. If you can’t put your stamp of approval on the relationship, you probably shouldn’t be helping the couple celebrate their happiness – especially not as the best man.

#2 You get along too well with the bride. Are you secretly in love with the bride-to-be? Have you slept together or do you have a romantic past? This is probably one of the best possible reasons that you should decline being the best man at this wedding. After all, who wants to risk you echoing your professed love for the bride after the minister reads: “If anyone sees a reason for the bride and groom not to be wed…” [Read: 10 surefire ways to stay friends after having sex]

#3 You don’t get along with his friends. Do you get along with his other groomsmen buddies? This is another legitimate reason to opt out, as you’ll be spending an abundant amount of time with the groom and his friends. It might put a snag in your best man activities, if you don’t get along with your immediate company.

#4 You’re just not that close. It’s happened before where, simply put, you just don’t know the guy very well. Maybe he just moved to your area and doesn’t know many people. Regardless, it became super awkward when suddenly, you’re supposed to be acting like his “bestie” at his wedding – besides, you’ve never even met his fiancée!

#5 You’ve had a problem between you. So you had a falling out, a blow-up, or perhaps he’s your brother or a member of your family, and you simply don’t get along. While these are all legitimate reasons not to be a groomsman, think of how you would feel if something were to happen to him, say a mutual friend calls and says he got into an accident or died – how would you feel then? Suddenly, your differences may not seem so big. [Read: 10 simple ways to calmly deal with difficult people]

Polite ways to get out of it

If you’ve decided that you’re still not into being a groomsman, then it may be time to bite the bullet and start thinking up your excuses. Never underestimate the power of using your family or work as a fantastic way to get out of something.

#1 You have family responsibility. Let’s say you just had a new addition to the family, or maybe you have sick relatives that are especially going to need your help that particular month. Major bummer, right?

#2 You’re in a time crunch. Perhaps you have your own event you’re concerned with, or a work deadline that falls right around the time of the wedding. Explain honestly that you simply couldn’t give the groom the time and energy that he deserves for his wedding.

#4 You’ll be out of town. A great reason not to be the best man is if you’ll be out of town either on an anniversary or work-related trip. Stress that these plans have been in the works for a while, and your tickets are non-refundable. Be sure to send a great gift and stay out of sight during your faux vacation days.

#5 You can’t afford it. Being in a wedding isn’t cheap. You’ve been asked the “honor” of being his best man, and now suddenly you’re shelling out money for a new tux, tie, gift, bachelor party, and whatever else your groom might need. Simply explain humbly to your groom that you just can’t afford to be in his wedding party. Tell him that, while you appreciate the offer, you simply couldn’t do financial justice to his big day.

#6 Your nerves won’t allow it. Explain to the groom that you aren’t good at public speaking, and explain to him, with apologies, that all the public spectacle is causing your nerves to fly through the roof. [Read: 10 motivational tips and tricks for shy people and introverts]

How you can opt to be a groomsman instead

Perhaps it’s the principle of being the “best” man that you don’t like. As stated in the onset, maybe you just don’t know the guy very well, or perhaps he chose you over his brother, or other best friend, and it’s now created some tension with his family. If possible, offer instead to be a groomsman as opposed to being the best man.

What you must do is to let him know immediately. One last thing to keep in mind is your timing. You don’t want to leave the groom hanging with your answer. The sooner you get out of it, the sooner he can replace you, and you can go on pretending the unpleasantness never happened. If possible, offer to help in other ways. Even if you don’t mean it, it will make it sound like you care about the event and feel at least some small amount of guilt for jilting him. [Read: 10 simple tips to avoid being rude in any situation]

In the end there’s no easy way to decline an offer that carries such emotional weight behind it, however you’ll find that most men are easy-going, especially when you give proper notice and a well-reasoned excuse for not accepting the honor of being the best man.

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Waverly Smith
Waverly Smith

Waverly Smith is a freelance writer who has been getting paid for spreading her sarcastic take on love, life, and sex since 2010. She is many things that peo...

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3 thoughts on “How to Politely Decline Being the Best Man”

  1. flin says:

    While I do agree that there are certain situations where it’s better to decline being the best man. I’d say that you having a fucked up relationship with the bride or her or the grooms friends isn’t a reason to decline the offer. The groom has asked you to be his best man for a reason, he values you more than anybody else, it’s a great honor for a friend to respect you so much, try not to disappoint him. By asking you to be his best man, he is telling you that he values you more than his other male friends, so you having a bad relationship with the rest of them doesn’t really matter in this situation.

    What I’m trying to say is, if the only reason for you to decline this honor, is your bad relationship to some other people that will be at the wedding, then you should swallow your pride for your friend and just do it, because it will mean a lot to him. 🙂

  2. prankster says:

    My best friend since kindergarten refused to be my best man. It hurt me so much that I had to post pone the wedding to get him to be my best man. I was crazy, right? But if you have been our friend and have seen what we’ve been through together, he was my perfect best man and I think my wedding should be perfect and without him, it wouldn’t be. My wife really understood, so she agreed to postpone the wedding to a couple of weeks for me to get my best man. To my surprise, we didn’t need to post pone the wedding. He was just joking. I should have known!

  3. deck says:

    I really think it’s rude for a person to say no to being a best man, I mean, you chose him to represent a symbolic meaning at your marriage. Who would decline that? I mean, don’t get me wrong this is really useful for guys who got invited to be a best man but isn’t really close to they guy. I’m talking about guys who have been best friends forever and being asked to be best man and making up an excuse not to come. I hate that.

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