Tue, 9 Apr, 2019Joanita Wibowo

4 ways to cancel plans politely

4 ways to cancel plans politely

We all have those moments where we just can’t bring ourselves to leave the house for a social engagement, despite our best efforts. While it might be relieving on our part to cancel plans, it might leave the other person feeling annoyed or betrayed. Bailing out of plans is sometimes necessary or even inevitable, but there are ways to do it that won’t make your loved ones feel completely let down.

Here are some of the best tips to turn down plans last minute responsibly, with courtesy and respect.

1. Give as much notice as possible

Inform your friends or family members as soon as you know you won’t be able to make it, especially if it is a one-on-one meeting. This way, you will give them ample time to make alternative arrangements.

2. Be genuine

A sincere apology requires truth. Granted, some discretion might be needed depending on the person – it may not be the wisest idea to tell a new acquaintance that you would rather stay home and watch the telly. However, for close friends you can say, “Hey, I’m sorry but I’m just not in the mood to meet up today.” By doing this, you won’t have to lie, and the honesty will soften the blow of disappointment.

3. Come up with alternatives

Offer a concrete plan to make up for your absence this time. Initiate the rescheduling and suggest ideas – for example, “I can no longer make this afternoon, but I’m free on Thursday evening for dinner if you’re around.” Apart from alternative arrangements, you can also suggest doing a favour for them as a way of saying sorry.

4. Avoid being a repeat offender

Cancelling one time might be acceptable, but continuously flaking on the same person will signal your disregard for their time and feelings. To avoid this, try not to overcommit yourself, and agree to a plan only if you truly intend to go. Find out what you are comfortable with – perhaps the dinner date should be downgraded to drinks, or the one-on-one hangout should be shifted to a group activity instead.

Do you have tips to cancel plans respectfully? Let us know in the comments below.