Hello fellas. My name is Jay, and welcome to The Mansplainer column. This is where I step out of my Gucci’s to put myself in your shoes, and then try to outwit life’s greatest conundrums known to men. Keyword being ‘try’, because unlike bad advice columns out there, I don’t pretend to be a wanker of a know-it-all.

This week, Sam, a reader, emailed in about one of the growing pains of ageing. He just can’t seem to say no whenever his Bros ask him out to a party or when his colleagues peer-pressure him into after work drinks. He has an even harder time saying no when he’s persuaded to stay. To quote him, “The heart is willing, but the body isn’t.”

These were my recommendations to him.

  1.      Plan your exit well ahead of the party.

What is your compelling excuse? Are you going to ‘forget you left the stove on’ or will you ‘have an early start the next day’? Unless you are prepared to burn your social bridges, you need to make the effort to invent a compelling yet unpredictable excuse that is not the above two.

  1.      Timing is key.

Time your excuses properly. It is never easy to eject yourself from a party, while your friends attempt to bust your excuse. An excuse laid down preemptively is more convincing than something uttered on the fly.

  1.      Be consistent.

No means no. Don’t change your mind, even if your friends promise that there will be a bunch of drunk VS angels coming in later. The slightest sign of waver will signal to everyone that they can control you.

  1.      You’re already there – try to have a great time, at least.

I’m going to do a 180-degree swerve and side with your friends for now. Maybe you do need to learn how to let your hair down! There’s always something to be learned from a shitty situation. Likewise, there’s always something you can get out of in an engagement that you don’t wish to be a part of. Sure, you could stick to your comfort zone and stake out on the couch for some Netflix yet again; but you’d be missing out on the opportunity to have a serendipitous encounter with a new lady friend, learn some new office secrets or simply to foster better relations with your friends.

You see what I’m getting at?

  1.      Be very sincere and honest.

Yes, the occasional white lie may be necessary, but it is always a good practice to be honest. Never try to slip out the back door when you think no one’s looking, and then drop an apologetic text. You won’t just be a killjoy, but a killjoy plus a coward. I know it because I was once, well, that coward. I’ve made that rookie mistake so you don’t have to!