When it comes to turning down another couple, everyone will say that it’s best to be direct and honest. If that were true, a rejection would sound like this:

“Would you two like to come over Saturday?”
“No, we don’t find you attractive.”

Yikes. It’s no wonder conversations rarely play out like that. In the real world, people generally say they are busy on whatever the proposed day is. The conversation typically goes something like this:

“Would you two like to come over Saturday?”
“No, we already have plans.”

“Ok, well how about October 24th?”
“Gosh, you know, our son plays basketball and we just never know when those games are.”

Etc. Etc.

Now, often, people are busy. For example, my wife is traveling to two international destinations and will be gone 12 of the next 14 days. If someone we were interested in asked about playtime, we’d quite honestly reply that we are busy.

How can I differentiate between someone interested but busy, and someone who isn’t interested? We want to have regular play dates, so we have to ask people. But we also don’t want to be that couple that can’t take a hint.

What do you think? What do you do?

Do you ask a couple twice and, if they say they are busy, wait for them to ask you? Or do you ask once?