Bailing on catch-ups is easy if you have a smartphone. Texts, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and other social media outlets now make for buffers for delivering rejection. The RSVP era is officially over and the courtesy text, “Sorry, running late. Get me a latte?” has become the norm. We’re living in a world where bailing is common, and the toll it’s taking on our relationship is serious.
“New technologies have led to dehumanisation,” says psychologist Angela Bradley. “Because we don’t have to see (or hear) responses when we cancel plans via a screen, minimal emotion registers with us. We have to remember friendships are a privilege and an investment, so it’s not alright to call yourself someone’s friend and not be there for them by cancelling plans.” After all, there are only so many times you can make excuses without having your friends feel like they’re coming last. How you respond to plans matters. But, if you absolutely have to flake, here’s how to do it …the right way.
Give at least 24 hours’ notice
We all know that having plans fall through at the last minute is all kinds of frustrating. But by giving a full day’s notice, it hopefully won’t provide too much disruption to your pals and their schedule.
Do it face-to-face
Hiding behind a screen is possibly the worst thing you can do when cancelling. Letting friends down face-to-face, or at least via a brief phone call, will mean less hurt and rejection.
Pitch a new plan
Be proactive about rescheduling and offer up a new suggestion. This will show that you’re committed to the relationship and eventual hang-out.
Be as direct as possible. A truthful response is the best option, like, “I’m stuck at work and won’t be able to get out in time. When are you free next?” If you’re simply not interested in the plans in the first place, say so. It’s a better, faster route than having to repeatedly deflect the person.
Puts plans on hold
When you receive an invite to Jenna’s 25th Birthday Drinks on Facebook, don’t click ‘Maybe’. Work out if you’re going or not, and offer a response. Don’t keep people guessing – there’s no point in stalling the inevitable.
Bail on them for someone else
Yep, ditching your friend so you can hang with someone else “better” is 100 per cent not okay. And, given how connected we all are these days, there’s a high probability they’ll eventually find out (*ahem* Instagram).
Credit: Natalie Babic