Raise your hand if this sounds familiar: it’s Tuesday morning and you’ve just finished your second coffee. You’re on top of the world because you already reached inbox zero and it looks like you’ll be able to head out of work at a reasonable hour. Hell. Yes. Around lunchtime, a friend WhatsApps you, ‘Drinks tonight?’ and you automatically reply with a resounding ‘Yah!!!’. But come 5:30pm, your pep has worn off and all you want to do is unhook your bra, watch a true-crime doc, and scroll mindlessly through Insta. F*ck.
You have options: you can say you feel sick (an obvious lie lobbed by so many), you can say you got slammed with a last-minute project (less obvious but still overused), or you could rally and go meet your friend even though you might be miz (a favourite option of people pleasers everywhere).
But many overlook the underutilised fourth option: simply telling the truth. Yes, you can actually be honest without ruining anyone’s life—you just need to
Narrate Your Flakiness
Let’s say you’re wiped and you just wanna be on the couch with your Internet boyfriend Karan. Try texting your friend something like: ‘Hey...I was in a different headspace when I agreed to meet up. This day has kicked my *ss, and all I can think about is going home and not moving for the rest of the night. Rain check?’ Chances are, they will totally understand and empathise with you. Maybe they’ll even breathe a sigh of relief because they wanted to cancel too. Regardless, they’ll appreciate that they’re not being both cancelled on and lied to. And either way, it’s just you and Karan now.
Resched Like a Realist
If you insist on rescheduling plans right after you cancel, pick a date when your calendar looks particularly chill. It’s easy to throw out the promise of another meetup to solve your current sitch, but you’ll make life messier if you have to bail again. (And if you just realised that you actually don’t really like your Taco Tuesday partner, skip the whole ‘Let’s def get together next time’ BS completely.)
Know When to Suck It Up
Some things you can’t skip—ever. Bailing on weddings, birthday parties, and intimate gatherings with head counts is what’s known in the flaking community as a friendship-ender. If you really can’t make it, RSVP your ‘Nope!’ ASAP. Just don’t do the thing where you say you’re in and then secretly plot a day-before exit strategy. (PSA: if social anxiety’s the issue, you’re not going to turn into an extrovert overnight.) And if you do say yes to your work friend’s -awkward bridal shower, at least there’s cake.