How To Cancel Plans Like An Adult


Be a grown-up about it

The time has come to accept the inevitable: you’re growing up. Embrace it! Becoming an adult can be daunting, but not when you have guides as easy (and, let’s face it, as cool) as the ones in our new Adultify series. Now, you won’t ever have to utter that cringe-worthy term “adulting” when you accomplish something, like doing your laundry—you know, basic, responsible grown-up activities—because you’ll know these truths to be self-evident.

Canceling plans is a whirlwind of emotions. On the one hand, you've just given yourself a certain amount of free time. On the other, you've probably just spent an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out a way to get out of whatever it was without offending the host. That's a lot of energy dedicated to something any real adult knows should be a piece of cake if you were just honest upfront. 

But, hey, we get it. Canceling plans is tricky, and with Facebook, Google Cal, and more digital invites being thrown our way daily, it's easy to feel popular and stretched too thin. It's also completely valid if you truly just want to not go to something. The key is to own your feelings and actions. To help you get there, we spoke with etiquette experts. Ahead, the eight absolutes of canceling plans. Happy adulting.

Don't Overbook
"Think quality over quantity," says lifestyle and etiquette expert Elaine Swann. "That's the cue we should follow, and think about which event your presence is best served." Accepting two invites is fine; three gets tricky. Diane Gottsman, a national etiquette expert and owner of The Protocol School of Texas, stresses the importance of becoming comfortable with saying "no." If you absolutely have to go to both, Gottsman adds that being proactive and letting the host know to not count on you, for say dinner, is the most respectful thing you can do. "It’s not canceling," she says. "You just have to let the person know you’re going to be juggling two things."