Every group of friends has their token flakey friend. You know the type. They’re the first ones to say “YES!” to a social event and the last ones to say they aren’t coming. Sometimes they thoughtfully tell you they aren’t coming 12 hours after the fact.
I’m that friend.
Don’t assume I’m defending people who cancel on plans last minute. Far from it. It’s a deplorable trait I’ve developed over the years, challenging the patience and tolerance levels of all my closest friends and family.
I have a horrific memory and tend to triple book every second night without realising. I also spontaneously crave alone time, and fail to predict when my brain is going to shut down into “I WANT TO BE ALONE” mode.
For some people, being direct can be difficult, especially if you have friends who don’t appreciate your honesty as much as they could. So, as an experienced piker, I’ve filtered out all the worst and best excuses.
The Best Excuses
“Someone will be there who I have EMOTIONAL ISSUES with/slept with and am secretly in love with”
This only works based on the level of intimacy with your friend group, or the size/venue of the event. If it’s just you, your best friend, and their cousin from overseas, probably don’t use this one. Unless it’s true. Good luck with that.
“My butt is sick.”
The fail-safe excuse that nearly every employee has deployed at least once. Although when a… friend of mine used it, they lost their job. There’s no proof that it’s related, but there may have been party noises/laughter in the background when they made the call. I can be very loud. My bad.
IT’S A CRISIS.
Just make the call, sob out that you can’t go, revert to a hysterical state, and hang up. Sadly, this excuse requires a skill set I do not have. I don’t call people, and I can’t cry on cue. If this is an available ‘Out’ to you, I envy you. Wouldn’t recommend doing this every day though. Or every week.
“My pet is sick.”
So, your real-life, actual, living, breathing pet is legitimately ‘sick’. If someone makes you feel bad for looking after your furbaby, at least you know, now is the time to cut them out of your life. Forever.
You can get a new friend, BUT YOU CAN’T REPLACE YOUR FURRY CHILD, (You can, it’s just emotionally traumatic and I’m not recommending it.)
Someone is having a baby.
Is it YOU? Are you having a baby? Is it someone you know? Is a stranger having a baby? SOMEONE, SOMEWHERE is having a baby. It’s a baby red alert. You can’t possibly go to this event, you need to sit in a waiting room waiting for hours on end, mentally preparing yourself to pretend you know someone with a baby. Claim a baby. Send photos from the hospital. Ask yourself, is this long-haul excuse and execution worth it?! Absolutely not, what are you thinking?!
“I can’t make it tonight. Family emergency.”
This depends on what kind of family you have. Is your family emergency the kind that involves homicide and witness protection? Or do you come from a home where the worst crisis involves the new coffee table not matching the curtains? Either way, you can’t be pressed further without the recipient of your message looking like a dick. As long as you’re not bailing on your own mother, you’re out of the woods! Congratulations!
“There’s a fresh meme I need to get on top of I need to be on my computer for the next 24 hours”
There’s a very small window when memes are fresh, as you can tell by the header image on this article. Surely they’d understand that.
The Worst Excuses
“I’m sorry, I double booked!”
YOU CAN’T ADMIT TO THIS. That’s just letting them know you like the other person better. Why don’t you just punch them in the gut, in person, next time to save everyone the trouble. If there IS a next time. Spoilers: there won’t be.
“I’m exhausted because of x/y/z reason”
No one cares about your personal problems, Jeanette. You made a commitment to NOT be exhausted. We’re all tired. We all lie awake at night, stuck in our own personal existential crises. No one wants to be here. You’re just being selfish.
“There’s been an unexpected visit from a family member.”
If it’s an unexpected visit, they’re probably living in the house in front of your granny flat, not the Netherlands. You’re not living out an Everybody Loves Raymond skit (or ARE you?). You can afford to say no if it’s THAT last minute, and your friends know it.
“My car is broken/not working/on fire”
Maybe this excuse worked 10 years ago, but not when there’s an Uber driver every 20 metres. Don’t fall into the trap of saying “I can’t afford an Uber”, because you’re inviting your friend to pay for your Uber for you. Then where does that leave you? At the event you were trying to avoid and down $20 because you now owe your friend money, well done. You suck at this.
Have a friend text the excuse that you “got too drunk at the pre-drinks and have passed out in a ditch.”
Are pre-drinks suitable for this event? Wasn’t this a baby shower?! You’ve never been known to pass out before 6pm before. You normally pass out at 9pm? And now you’re throwing a friend under your bus of lies. Don’t do this. There’s always the option of legitimately drinking too much, but do you want to bail THAT badly, that you would sacrifice your liver’s health? I’m not judging you if you do.
“My pet is sick.”
“You don’t even have a pet.”
You’re perpetually destitute and can’t afford that $4.20 train ticket.
This only works if all your friends are as poor as you are and won’t threaten to pay for you. Only make friends with people who are working class, or friends who are under the age of 35. Only make friends with millennials who spend all their money on avocado. Only make friends who don’t invite you to things you don’t want to go to.
Go Forth and Bail
Word of warning: getting rid of the stigma of being the flakey friend is difficult. Maybe impossible. “FLAKEY AF” might end up being on your headstone.
Social expectations aside, if you don’t want to go to an event and couldn’t anticipate your mental state, you don’t owe anyone an explanation beyond “I’m sorry, I don’t feel like it”. A good friend will be understanding. It’s your life. You need to TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR OWN DESTINY. Learning to say NO straight away instead of feeling like you need to say YES every time, is one of the best lessons you can learn.
Sadly, for my friends, it’s one I’m still getting used to.
Train yourself to click “Maybe” on Events.
Always click “maybe”.