When You Can’t Be In Two Places At The Same Time

Liz and I met up a few days ago at a friend’s Cinco De Mayo bash. After the festivities wrapped, I offered Liz a ride home. In the car, Liz exclaimed, “Today was so much fun! We really had some good brother-sister bonding time, didn’t we?”

“Absolutely! What about next week? Remember, Megan is throwing a pizza party!” I suggested.

“Oh, Bob, I might have to cancel that,” she sighed. “Something’s come up at the office that day and now I don’t know how to turn Megan down without seeming rude. Ughh!”

“Oh I get it. But hey Liz, here are few things that I follow when I need to cancel plans without being rude:

Give as much notice as you can: Liz, it’s important to tell her as soon as you can. Waiting until the eleventh hour to cancel plans isn’t ideal. It breaks trust and is rude especially if the person has already made plans for your arrival.

Be honest: Usually friends understand and won’t mind if you cancel plans, but they’ll be upset if they find out you lied about why. So, be honest when you explain why you need to cancel. I’m sure Megan will understand.

Talk instead of texting: When you call someone, it shows you respect their time and want to work things out. Plus, it helps prevent misunderstandings because they can hear your tone and understand your sincerity, especially if you don’t see each other often.

Explain, but acknowledge that reasons for canceling are subjective: What seems like a good reason to you might not seem that way to others. So, be open to their point of view and explain why your reason matters to you.

Offer to reschedule: Canceling plans can hurt relationships if they feel they are less important to you than whatever came up or you don’t want to spend time with them. Offering or suggesting a different time to meet can help.

“Bob, you’re right! I’ll give Megan a call and explain my situation. Perhaps we can reschedule. Thank you for listening,” she said, smiling warmly.

The rest of the car ride was filled with childhood stories and light banter until Liz got off. Driving through the country roads, the cool spring breeze got me thinking about our earlier conversation.

Sometimes, canceling plans is inevitable, but it’s important to do it in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Conflicting situations are a part of life, and it’s impossible to be in two places at once. Everyone usually understands that. Avoid waiting until the last minute, giving vague reasons, ignoring follow-up messages, or making it a habit. Just be honest and sincere; it is actually essential and the best way to maintain any healthy relationship.

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