Why You Should Stop Lying to Get Out of Social Plans

How many times have you thrown around the "sorry, I can't come, I've randomly come down with the stomach flu" or "I'm busy" in order to avoid social plans that you just don't feel like going to? According to a survey by Yelp's Eat 24, almost 80% of 2,000 men and women ages 18 through 54 said that they've lied or made excuses to avoid hanging out. I'm no exception and you probably aren't either.

I asked you (yes you, the readers!) on Instagram and Twitter to tell me the main reason that they lie in order to skip social plans. About 70% of you said that mental health was the main reason: having a little more "me" time, dealing with social anxiety, etc.

There are some days when maybe you're just not emotionally up for socialization or you just think that lying down in bed alone with Netflix would be a lot more rewarding. And that's completely okay. We all need a little alone time and a healthy dose of self care. It's vital for our well-being. However, it's strange that we often don't own up to it.

Why isn't it normal to say to someone, "Sorry, I can't commit to these social plans because I just need a moment for self care." Why do we need to search for flimsy excuses that are blatantly false?

The thing about bailing on social plans brings up a difficult point. It absolutely sucks to be on the other end. I have been flaked on too many times to count and most (if not all) have been disappointing. It sucks when you're looking forward to something and a friend cancels. However, I have also been the flaky friend probably just as many times and I completely see the reasoning. There are just some times when it's more emotionally damaging to go.

Abandoning social plans can essentially be seen as either selfish and rude, but it can also be the better choice for your mental health. 

Therefore it's a difficult thing to deal with, especially as we have all experienced being the one to cancel as well as the one that gets cancelled on.

Since it can be better for you, but not necessarily for your friend, I think that the best thing to do is to be honest about it. Yes, you may be cancelling on them, but instead of throwing some lame excuse on them that they can see right through, it's better to tell them the truth: it's for your mental health.

If someone was to cancel on me, I would much rather them own up to it and say that it's something that they just need to do for themselves rather than tell me that "they're sick" (which they obviously aren't) or "my grandma came to town" (when she lives in a completely different country).

Giving a fake excuse will only cause your friend to speculate further and jump to conclusions. Is it because they don't like me? Do they not want to spend time with me? According to the surveys that I took on Twitter and Instagram, almost 30% of you mentioned that the main reason for lying to get out of social plans is because you genuinely don't like the person (or people). If you give an excuse and your friend doesn't buy it, they may assume that you don't like them, since that tends to be another big reason for cancelling on social plans aside from mental health reasons.

Just tell them the truth. It's better that you're honest rather then leaving them to speculate about it. Other people will understand. Out of the two recent occasions that I either bailed on social plans or chose not to commit to social plans, I was honest about my reasons — my mental health — and they understood.

In fact, just yesterday one of my friends mentioned that she was considering backing out of our prior plans for a night out. She said that she had a huge workload, desperately needed sleep, and also had a busy schedule that weekend, so she just wasn't sure if she would be happiest sticking to the plans. 

My initial reaction was that I was sad to not be able to spend time with her, but I understood why she needed to say no to those plans, so I felt content with her choice.

Since we've all been the ones to cancel just because we're not feeling it, when we're the ones flaked on, we're a lot more understanding. We see the true reason why: it's not because we're not liked by our friends, it's just because everyone needs a little self care in their lives.


How you should handle avoiding social plans (when necessary)

If you're not sure if you'll be up for those plans, don't fully commit to them.

When we're making social plans as a group, I have this one friend that will often reply "I might come, depending how I feel because I'm flaky". And it's a solid answer. When I'm usually unsure if I'll be up for a party, when people ask me if I'm going, I'll usually reply with "maybe", regardless of whether or not there's actually anything on my calendar, and then confirm a solid yes or no when I'm more sure of my answer. This way, you can try to avoid having to back out after committing.

Give more notice.

Obviously if you find out an hour before the plans that you feel absolutely terrible about going out, it's probably not the most ideal situation. If you feel that you aren't mentally up for social plans, try to give your friend(s) notice about it. For example, let's say that about a week out you're aware that you're going to be super busy that weekend and might need a breather. Let them know, "Hey, I'm not positive that I'll be able to make it". And obviously if you are sure that you want to avoid those social plans, let them know ASAP. It's not the worst thing to get cancelled on a few days out, but a few hours is definitely not the best feeling.

Why You Should Stop Lying to Get Out of Social Plans


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