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聽flu, something more important came up or you just need some YOU time to curl up in your cozy聽reading nook or take a five-minute DIY bubble bath.聽Girl, it happens. And guess what? It鈥檚 actually okay to bow out of commitments from time to time, so long as you do it聽with聽proper courtesy and respect to avoid being totally rude, which could hurt your relationships.

Girls apologizing

To get the聽deets on how to cancel plans聽gracefully, we talked with Brianna Haag, a well-known San Francisco career-maven, volunteer and social butterfly. In addition to heading up聽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鈥檚 manic about managing her Google calendar. Scroll on for her thoughts on the RIGHT聽way to cancel,聽and you鈥檒l never appear flaky or unthoughtful again.

Cancelling聽plans with friends

This one might be the easiest and seemingly most forgivable, but make sure you鈥檙e honest and don鈥檛 feed the urge to fabricate a white lie. 鈥淵our friends will understand if you鈥檙e exhausted from the work day, just want to fit in a workout instead, or need some alone time,鈥 Brianna tells us.

However, they WON鈥橳 understand if you tell them you had a work thing come up and they later discover you actually bailed聽because you decided on happy hour with your gym crush. We couldn鈥檛 agree more; honesty is definitely the best policy. If your squad is solid, they鈥檒l get it. On the other hand, don鈥檛 make canceling on your besties a habit just because they love you enough to forgive you.

Ditching a date

If it鈥檚 a first date, you might feel inclined to bail last minute since there鈥檚 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, 鈥淩eally try to follow through with the plans (you made them for a reason!), but if you must cancel, ALWAYS do it聽with a respectable amount of notice and an explanation.鈥

Brianna shared a personal story too, telling us, 鈥淚 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聽ask for a raincheck, and needless to say he completely understood.聽I made sure to follow up about rescheduling and to make it clear that I was excited to meet him.鈥 Also, Brianna says, if it鈥檚 a date with someone you鈥檝e been seeing for a while, there鈥檚 likely to be a little more room for forgiveness.

Woman receiving bad news on smartphone

Skipping a聽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鈥檚 obviously super important to be there to show that you care and you鈥檙e passionate about your work and team, sometimes it鈥檚 impossible to squeeze it in.

鈥淚t鈥檚 okay to miss work stuff every now and then,鈥 Brianna agrees. 鈥淏e sure to let the organizer know not to expect you anymore 鈥 regardless of whether it鈥檚 an office聽happy hour, industry event, optional off-site or something else.鈥 She also says聽that if there鈥檚 a Google calendar invite for everyone, you should definitely remember to update your RSVP so people don鈥檛 expect you. 鈥淭his is especially important if they鈥檙e ordering drinks or food,鈥 she wisely tells us.

Changing your RSVP for聽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.聽鈥淚f there鈥檚 a ticket involved and you鈥檙e going as someone鈥檚 guest, give them enough time to find聽someone else to go with them. There鈥檚 nothing worse than canceling so last minute that it鈥檚 impossible for them to recruit another attendee,鈥 she says. Brianna also noted that though most event tickets AREN鈥橳聽refundable, you can always check to see if they鈥檙e 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聽of important celebrations聽that you surely聽hate to miss, like acknowledging your friend鈥檚 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鈥檙e totally unable to聽share the good times around a major milestone? 鈥淭his is a tough one, but the more advance you can give your friend the better,鈥 Brianna says. 鈥淚f it鈥檚 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聽as possible.鈥 We all know that things happen, and you鈥檒l totally be missed, but most importantly, you鈥檒l avoid hurting your friends鈥 feelings by following Brianna鈥檚 advice.

What was the last event you skipped? How did you handle it? Spill your story on Twitter @BritandCo!


(Photos via Getty)