Here’s How to Gracefully Cancel Plans in 5 Common Situations
You made plans and were looking forward to them, but for whatever reason you just have to cancel. It could be that you caught the flu, something more important came up or you just need some YOU time to curl up in your cozy reading nook or take a five-minute DIY bubble bath. Girl, it happens. And guess what? It’s actually okay to bow out of commitments from time to time, so long as you do it with proper courtesy and respect to avoid being totally rude, which could hurt your relationships.
To get the deets on how to cancel plans gracefully, we talked with Brianna Haag, a well-known San Francisco career-maven, volunteer and social butterfly. In addition to heading up events for Table8 and managing a seriously impressive social life full of dates, friends and workouts, Brianna also balances scaling an annual male beauty pageant fundraiser and serves on the boards of two different non-profits. Needless to say, she’s manic about managing her Google calendar. Scroll on for her thoughts on the RIGHT way to cancel, and you’ll never appear flaky or unthoughtful again.
Cancelling plans with friends
This one might be the easiest and seemingly most forgivable, but make sure you’re honest and don’t feed the urge to fabricate a white lie. “Your friends will understand if you’re exhausted from the work day, just want to fit in a workout instead, or need some alone time,” Brianna tells us.
However, they WON’T understand if you tell them you had a work thing come up and they later discover you actually bailed because you decided on happy hour with your gym crush. We couldn’t agree more; honesty is definitely the best policy. If your squad is solid, they’ll get it. On the other hand, don’t make canceling on your besties a habit just because they love you enough to forgive you.
Ditching a date
If it’s a first date, you might feel inclined to bail last minute since there’s little risk involved. Or maybe you changed your mind about meeting your latest Coffee Meets Bagel match or would just prefer to spend your Monday catching up on the latest episode of KUWTK or GOT. Whatever the cause, Brianna says, “Really try to follow through with the plans (you made them for a reason!), but if you must cancel, ALWAYS do it with a respectable amount of notice and an explanation.”
Brianna shared a personal story too, telling us, “I recently canceled a bowling date fairly last minute, because a friend of mine had box seats to a Warriors Finals game. I made sure to be clear with my date and ask for a raincheck, and needless to say he completely understood. I made sure to follow up about rescheduling and to make it clear that I was excited to meet him.” Also, Brianna says, if it’s a date with someone you’ve been seeing for a while, there’s likely to be a little more room for forgiveness.
Skipping a casual work event
With a huge emphasis on culture and team building, more and more companies have started to schedule involved off-sites, after-work team-building events and happy hours. Though it’s obviously super important to be there to show that you care and you’re passionate about your work and team, sometimes it’s impossible to squeeze it in.
“It’s okay to miss work stuff every now and then,” Brianna agrees. “Be sure to let the organizer know not to expect you anymore — regardless of whether it’s an office happy hour, industry event, optional off-site or something else.” She also says that if there’s a Google calendar invite for everyone, you should definitely remember to update your RSVP so people don’t expect you. “This is especially important if they’re ordering drinks or food,” she wisely tells us.
Changing your RSVP for a ticketed event
Tons of events require scoring tickets in advance, and doing so obviously comes with the best intention of attending. These types of commitments range from smaller meet-ups to concerts, sports events and conferences.
Relying on her knowledge from four years of working at Eventbrite, Brianna fills us in on the proper etiquette for missing out. “If there’s a ticket involved and you’re going as someone’s guest, give them enough time to find someone else to go with them. There’s nothing worse than canceling so last minute that it’s impossible for them to recruit another attendee,” she says. Brianna also noted that though most event tickets AREN’T refundable, you can always check to see if they’re transferrable to someone else. In the best case scenario, you might still have a shot at filling your spot.
Missing an important milestone
Adulting brings about lots of important celebrations that you surely hate to miss, like acknowledging your friend’s big birthday, engagement, marriage, baby shower, promotion of her dreams and so much more. Not only does being a part of the celebration show your BFFs how much you care, but making memories totally sweetens your life and social calendar too!
So what to do when you’re totally unable to share the good times around a major milestone? “This is a tough one, but the more advance you can give your friend the better,” Brianna says. “If it’s a baby shower, a wedding or a bachelor/ette party, your friend is important to you, so your reason is probably already super valid. Just remember to be incredibly honest and give as much notice as possible.” We all know that things happen, and you’ll totally be missed, but most importantly, you’ll avoid hurting your friends’ feelings by following Brianna’s advice.
What was the last event you skipped? How did you handle it? Spill your story on Twitter @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)
It can be intimidating to step out on your own and build a business from the ground up. As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, we're talking with Selfmade alum and solopreneur Colette Lawrence, the faith-based motivator and relationship builder behind The M.E.E. Movement, about ways in which women in business can find success.
B + C: How did you know M.E.E. Movement was your business to start?
The M.E.E Movement represents motivation, empowerment, and encouragement for women. It is what represents me. I did not know at first that it was my business to start, but then the thought of monetizing what I loved came to me. It scared me, however. I registered the business in July 2020 and have been slowly building my wings since.
B + C: What's one strategy that's helped you start your business?
Thinking through and researching what the requirements are to start my business, and then asking questions of people who are in the business. Not all advice worked; however, it helped me to figure out what I needed to do and not to do.
B + C: Did you always know life coaching would be your entrepreneurial path?
(Smiles) No, I did not. I 'stumbled" on it. I knew that people were always coming to me for advice and I found that I loved having conversations with them, especially with women, young and old.
B + C: What was your most valuable takeaway from Selfmade?
My most valuable takeaway was the first day of training: Get out of your own way. There were a lot of great moments and important takeaways from every presenter. However, getting out of my own way, pushing past doubts, was for me my most valuable takeaway. Doing something that I had never done before took courage. If I do not focus on what is happening with me mentally then I cannot deliver to my clients successfully.
B + C: What's one piece of advice you would give to female entrepreneurs on the brink of starting?
Get out of your head. You have something to offer. You have what you need to succeed so go ahead and do it.
B + C: How do you stay motivated?
I stay motivated by listening to music and listening to motivational speakers, and sometimes someone will just reach out and talk about the impact that I made in their life. That adds the extra juice or sauce I need to pummel through the day.
B + C: What's your best organizational tip?
Keep a diary and journal. It's the best way for me to keep organized and it also provides a source motivation as I record not only my "losses" but my wins as well.
B + C: Who inspires you in the entrepreneurial space?
Shirley Toliver – She motivates and empowers and makes me always want to show up.
B + C: What has receiving the Office Depot scholarship to Selfmade done to help you start or grow your business?
The scholarship was a blessing in that all the areas that were covered offered valuable information that I needed, from social media to HR. As a new business owner, I needed to know this to increase my own personal awareness in what it takes to run a successful business. The candidness of the presenters made it easy to see myself in their shoes and helped me to realize that I can also get there.
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