How to Be Excellent (or at Least Pretty Good) at Canceling Plans
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If you choose to use strategies for conscientiously flaking, try to do it rarely.
If you have to do it often, it’s probably because you’re saying yes to too many things and the real problem is not how to get out of stuff but how to say no in the first place.
This approach is fine, as long as it's true. It’s always good to give a reason why you’re bailing, especially when that reason is truthful and specific. Also, deliver your excuse over the phone or in person, so there’s less room for it to get lost in translation.
For example, “I’m not feeling up for it tonight” may not sound ok in your head, but it’s definitely more effective than “something came up.”
When you cancel plans, the goal is to walk away completely unscathed, and that means avoiding both guilt and FOMO, so stay off social media.
If you had to skip a party for a last-minute family thing and instead sulked over Instagrams depicting the fun you could've been having — not ideal.
If you really want to commit to transparency, you can incorporate your friend into your decision-making process, which also lets you test the waters to determine the best course of action.
Present your friend with your dilemma, and let him/her weigh in. If they seem upset and hurt by the prospect of your canceling, try to make it happen. If they seem totally understanding, go ahead and cancel.
Even the most understanding friend will only be understanding so many times. Your reputation and your relationships will eventually suffer.
And when you do bail, set concrete plans for next time — and stick to them.
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