It’s Okay To Cancel Plans

This will make you feel better about bailing on friends.

Author by John Devore
Art credit: Twisha Patni

There are few pleasures in my life as sublime as bailing on a plan. It’s not like I don’t enjoy spending time with my friends. They are all very nice and smart and pretty. But when I text them from my bed to say I can’t make their birthday party, my eyeballs roll back into my skull with delight. My friends understand because they bail on plans with me, too.

This is the world we live in.

So feel free to use these prewritten texts the next time you want to stay in. Just cut and paste them directly into your phone or preferred messaging system:

“Sup. Can’t come over, eating mangoes.”

“Hi. I have to bail 2 much Netflix 2 watch.”

“Hey. Sorry need a raincheck because life.”

Then kick back and relax. The pressure is off. Live your best pantless life.


You have my personal permission to bail on plans whenever you want. Do not listen to the opinions of internet keyboard smashers — even respected ones from storied publications — on this topic. They don’t understand you the way I do.

Go ahead and disinvite yourself from bowling if you’re feeling melancholy or spiritually exhausted or just want to sit in a chair and stare blankly at the wall. It’s okay. Sometimes you have to disappear in a puff of brimstone, like Nightcrawler from the X-Men movies. I recently watched the last X-Men movie instead of going to a vegan dinner party. It was a win-win: My hosts were able to eat bowls of seeds without hearing me complain and I got to root for blue-skinned mutants with feelings.

I go into full introvert mode once I cancel plans. I put on a bathrobe, fire up Spotify, and putter around the apartment. I close the curtains and make cinnamon toast. It is bliss. I use to feel guilty about doing this but then I had a long talk with my dog and got over it. If you’re somehow unfamiliar with the concept of an “introvert,” just imagine a gentleman mouse who lives in a teapot. I am that mouse.

As an introvert, I support your need to spend a little quality time with the most important person in your life — you. This is not selfishness. It’s self-preservation. Unplugging is a survival tactic.

We live in a magical time where people are connected to each other by multiple communication devices that allow us to stay in constant contact. In the dark ages, before smartphones and texting and social media, plans had to be made far in advance, face to face, or over phones that you couldn’t slip into your pocket. It was considered rude to bail during those less-civilized years because it took so much effort to make plans in the first place.

Fast forward to today: The making and breaking of plans can happen at the speed of thought. Thanks to technology, I can keep up with my friend’s lives. I see baby photos the moment they’re snapped. I retweet news about promotions. I reach out when someone posts about a tough day. I know more details about the lives of my friends and family than ever. So it’s not like I’m missing important life updates when I bail on plans.

There are critics of this social trend. They suggest that our new technologies are causing human relationships to deteriorate. I disagree with these professional fussbudgets. The gizmos they say are tearing us apart are, actually, binding us together. This is why bailing has become such a necessity. We need more breathers than ever before. The future might not have jetpacks but it does have dozens of ways to let others know in real time that you need some space.

There are, to be clear, rules to bailing. Just because our lives are more linked and complicated doesn’t mean they should be chaotic. If you bail on plans too much, you’ll eventually find yourself never invited out anywhere. I have no issue with homebodies who don’t ever want to go out. But if you enjoy the occasional bar crawl or group movie night, then it is wise not to abuse your right to bail. I’d avoid last-minute bailing on large, expensive events. It goes without saying that it is beyond impolite to bail on a wedding or a funeral without warning. We can all be flakes without being rude. Also, consider the reason why you want to bail. The best excuse for bailing is simply needing time to decompress. If you can help it, avoid bailing because of the person you made plans with. I do not advise taking your friends and family for granted.

So, please, bail responsibly. I believe in meeting commitments. The unreliable life is not a life I endorse. It’s wise to remember that relationships are not disposable. I just think everyone has a right to pull the Saturday night ejector seat handle. As I wrote, and you can quote me on this, I give you permission to bail on plans, unless you made them with me. Don’t you dare bail on me.

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About Woolly

A curious exploration of comfort, wellness, and modern life — emotionally supported by Casper. It’s a beautiful magazine published by a mattress. Come on, you know it’s not the weirdest thing to happen this year. The first issue includes a love letter to comfort pants, a skeptic's guide to crystals, and an adulting coloring book.