Possibly related to this thread about declining participation.
However I don't feel like the answers fully suit my case, and as the details are different, so perhaps the answers will be.
I am currently a consultant, employed by a small consulting firm.
The company I'm assigned to (where my actual day to day work is performed) has team events during business hours, which I mostly attend (work permitting).
However the consulting firm (where I spend little to no time) also has team events, monthly to twice-monthly, that have no set duration. (in the lines of:
it might be a dinner, it might be a bbq, or it might be drinks) which makes planning around it hard. And twice yearly outings.
The monthly events are impractical to take my girlfriend to, because they tend to be at hours where our son is already asleep. And the drive is substantial enough to make a back-and-forth take up enough of the evening for her as to be impractical.
I've made excuses in the past, which I know is not the best way to deal with this situation, but when put on the spot I did so without thinking.
Currently nearly everyone attends, and I've had the argument raised that if others can make the time, so can I. I really dislike being compared to others when it comes to my personal life. Covering the cost of the drinks is not enough incentive to give up an evening at home. And the arguments about how others choose to spend their time actually makes me want to push back even more.
I attend the twice annual team buildings, and I endure them because I consider them part of the job. I'm not a very sociable person but I do my best for these events.
Yet I'm quite sure if this is a bi-weekly occurrence, it will cause strife between me and my family for something I don't actually enjoy doing. And it will just cause me to resent the events even more.
How can I adequately convey that, while I do appreciate the invitations, and I think team-building is important. For me personally the twice annual events are enough, and I would appreciate being able to skip the additional drinks / outings without being looked down on.