A reality of adult homeowner life is that sometimes going out just doesn’t seem as exciting as it was when you made plans in the first place. Maybe you’ve bought some cozy new cushions and suddenly your couch—and Netflix—are beckoning you to join them on a cold winter night. Maybe you realize there’s just too much to catch up on around the house and those dinner plans need a rain check. Either way, follow these guidelines for the most etiquette-friendly way to break off plans.
Suggest another day and time. While you may not have control over something that came up, you can suggest another date if it’s a get together with friends that you’re missing. Saying, “I’m so sorry but something came up and I can’t make it to dinner, can we try for next weekend?” makes it seem like you’re still committed to spending time with your friends, if not today.
If the event involves something non-refundable, offer to pay anyway. In the event that you’re missing a concert or event that requires a ticket that’s been paid for, assure your friend that you’ll send a Venmo or e-transfer to cover the cost. Bonus points if you send them extra for a drink or appetizer on you.
Pick up the phone if it’s a last-minute cancellation. A personal touch is the best option if you’re cancelling on the day of. Call your friend on the phone to let them know that something’s come up, or leave a voicemail if you can’t get through. They’ll appreciate the effort.
Be honest about what’s happening. Give yourself a little more cred by being honest with your friends or guests about what’s come up. A simple “I’m so sorry, but a …. just came up and I’ll have to break our movie plans,” or an “I’m so sorry, but I’ve had a terrible day at work and I need to decompress,” will go a long way.