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An Introvert’s Guide to Cancelling Plans (Without Losing Your Friends)

posted by Jason Kottke   Dec 20, 2019

Olga Khazan writes about How to Flake Gracefully:

I am the queen of cancellation.”Heyyyyy guyyyyyyyssss-” begins a typical email from me backing out of plans, yet again. (The Ys multiply the guiltier I feel, and the more recently I’ve no-showed.) A book thing came up, and it has to be done by Monday, so I can’t use that non-transferable ticket you got me after all. Or I’m sick, again. But actually sick this time — not pretending to be sick so I can run errands without making anyone mad. To make time to copyedit something, I canceled on a work party of my boyfriend’s, then canceled on my own work party for good measure. I’ve started feebly sending this same boyfriend to social engagements in my stead, like a sad foreign minister from Flake Nation.

Part of the secret is not to overbook yourself in the first place. I’m a long-time practitioner of this technique — I say a straightforward no to lots of things, and if I say yes to something, I almost never cancel. And lately I’ve been saying yes more often, because as Khazan writes, getting out and doing stuff, even if it’s potentially uncomfortable and maybe not even your cup of tea, is part of caring for yourself. Human souls are not meant to be left on shelves; they need to run and play with others in the real world. Still though, as an introvert, I have to admit that nothing feels better than when someone cancels plans with me. The pure luxury of unanticipated JOMO knows no equal.