You’ve gotten changed into your old, ratty T-shirt and just settled down on the couch with a soothing cup of tea, only to be interrupted by the sudden ping from your phone – it’s none other than your friend who is confirming your upcoming plans.
Six times out of 10, you’d dread leaving the confines of your comfortable space but end up saying yes anyway out of guilt and the pressure of maintaining a passable social life. The other scenarios, however, probably would have ended up in you making up excuses.. some of which may or may not have been true.
Most of us suck at cancelling plans like a decent human being. To make things worse, it often feels like an existential crisis in itself. “I should be living life to the fullest and going out more often. But I also just want to retreat back to my bed and not talk to anyone.” If this feels all too familiar, here’s how you can cancel plans without feeling like a flake.
1. Be honest from the get-go – It may not be easy at first, but going through with the dreaded text – and being completely honest – may just do you a favour in developing your friendship. A message like, “Hey, I’m not really in the mood due to my hectic schedule and would rather spend time with you when I’m in a more positive headspace,” can really make a difference. No one knows your feelings better than yourself and this even gives your friends the opportunity to support you when in need.
2. Learn to anticipate your feelings – Instead of beating yourself up for the decision you had made, take the time to reflect. Why did you cancel those plans? Was it the location? The people? The timing? Why did you agree to going in the first place? What did you want to achieve out of that event? Learn about your own needs and this will help you to cancel less plans in the future. Also, remember that friends who don’t make it a point to validate your feelings aren’t friends you want to keep.
3. Find out what brings you joy – Just because society thinks twenty-somethings should be out there partying the night away, it doesn’t mean that you should succumb to societal pressure. Seek what works for you and ultimately, what makes you happy. Choose friends who will be sensitive to your needs and be willing to compromise. In doing so, you, too, should be accepting of your friends’ feelings and thoughts whenever they cancel plans. Give them space and they will greatly appreciate it, as you would.
There’s nothing to feel bad about having to take a rain check. Decline when you want to. Tomorrow’s another day!