There seems to be an alarming trend among “millenials” (I myself am technically a millenial…) of sort of…glorifying flakiness?
And I get it, I really do. We often tend to over schedule ourselves and, often, we really do want to do all the things we commit ourselves to. And it’s totally a relief when you’ve got something after work every day on week, that something gets cancelled. And I’ve definitely had plans where the other person calls and is like, “heeeeeeey, do you maybe want to cancel?” and I’m like, “yes, omg, I love you but this week is so busy.” But for the most part, flaking on plans is rude, rude, rude and it’s part of being a well mannered and adult person that when you make commitments and keep them, not to mention knowing your limits of how many social events you can manage in a given period of time. However, sometimes you must cancel and here’s how to do it without being a monster:
- Give the other person an out. Say you are feeling kind of indifferent to getting off the couch, but you know once you get there, it will probably be fun. So call the person to gauge their mood, say something like, “I am still in if you are, but how are you still feeling about seeing that movie tonight?” And perhaps they will be just as happy as you to cancel. If they aren’t, you should still go.
- Give as much notice as possible. Especially in NYC, you have to let them know at LEAST an hour beforehand because any closer than that and they are probably already on their way to meet you.
- Don’t cancel on someone who is cooking for you or hosting you at their house in any kind of “formal” way. When I host a dinner party I get the groceries at least 3-4 days in advance, do major cleaning a day or so before, and often start cooking 1-2 days before. So someone cancelling, especially on short notice can create a whole lot of wasted money and time. The importance of not cancelling becomes smaller the more people who were originally invited- if it’s a party for 10, it’s not as big deal if you don’t go, if it’s just you, it is.
- Be very apologetic and offer up an alternate. Say you have to cancel on drinks plans- call and say how sorry you are and then immediately reschedule that person to get coffee sometime in the near future. Do your best to make a firm plan so that person knows that you genuinely want to see them.
- Don’t flake twice in a row, and really try to avoid flaking on the same people often. My mom used to tell me in regards to invitations that if you keep turning invitations down, people will eventually stop inviting you. The same goes for flaking; do it too often, and you won’t be getting the opportunity to do it as much.
- Don’t use flaking as a tool to get out of seeing people you don’t like. Be genuine and only make plans with people you truly want to see and only do things that you are interested in doing. Don’t be afraid to decline invitations, declining is far better than cancelling.
- Don’t ever cancel on something when someone has fronted you the money to attend (i.e. your friend bought popular movie tickets in advance because the theater has assigned seating). If you must, then you need to pay back the money if they can’t find someone else to take the ticket.
- Don’t lie about it.
- Don’t cancel on someone to hang out with someone else (unless it’s a major emergency). Needing to rest and recharge is a thing we all understand, but cancelling to hang out with someone else is sending a clear message that the first person isn’t important and that’s a terrible way to treat someone.
- Don’t make conflicting plans with the idea that you will decide which you want to do at the last minute. That is garbage behavior.