Excuses. Excuses. Believable and Not So Much

Excuses. Excuses

I just read an article offering “21 Believable Excuses For When You Need To Flake On Plans.” My question: who needs an arsenal of 21 excuses? I mean one or two, OK. Maybe three. But 21? Who is that busy? Who has that many appointments, social or other, requiring a person to stockpile excuses like toilet paper in a pandemic?

Now, seriously, I sympathize and understand. We’re all feeling a little overwhelmed as we re-enter life and society after 15 months of doing nothing. Still, needing 21 excuses lined up in a row, ready to use at a moment’s notice! Honestly! That’s a bit much!

If you want to cancel plans, why not just say so?

“Hey, I’m sorry. Although I said I’d join you for High Tea on Thursday, I simply cannot.”


“I’m sorry. I’m just not up to cocktails at the Algonquin round table with dear Dorothy Parker on Tuesday. Another time, cheerio and ta-ta.”

or even

“Do forgive. No offense intended, but I simply cannot attend Friday’s soirée. I’m simply done in. I cannot attend another event where I must apply make-up and make charming chit-chat.”

When my children were young, I used to — legitimately — get out of both dreary obligations and delightful do’s because of their asthma attacks. Then, my “kids” grew up. Now they either drive or Uber to the ER when the need arises.  No need for chauffer Mom. So, there went that excuse!

But, in turn, through the years, I’ve accumulated a whole new set of medical reasons for canceling plans. Migraines. A bad back. And the all too frequent lack of a good night’s sleep. When felled by these maddening maladies, my friends and colleagues know I’m not kidding. They got their own lengthy medical checklist of excuses to call upon.

That’s why the “21 Believable Excuses For When You Need To Flake On Plans” article made me laugh. Are people so devoid of personal pain and suffering that they cannot come with excuses on their own?

Are they also also devoid of imagination and cannot fabricate at least one good excuse or two? Because surely, any excuse is better than Number 8 on the “Believable Excuses” list, which is both gross and guilty of TMI: “I’m vomiting copiously.”


And so, while I’m no Emily Post, I say if you’re going to lie, do it with style. Do it with flair. Give your friends and work colleagues something to talk about. Something to rage about. Something to envy.

Something like:

  • “Elon texted and I’m off to Mars.”
  • The President called. It’s all so unexpected but I’m being appointed to the Board of something or other. (Trust me, you can be vague about what board or commission. You’ll have them at “The President called.”)
  • “I’ve just been approved to fast-track becoming a brain surgeon. Oh, yes, it’s a long-held dream of mine.”
  • “The U.S. Olympics Team called and I’m a last-minute sub for the curling team.”
  • “So sorry. It’s a double crisis. My kid’s asthma has flared up AND I’ve got a killer migraine.”

And in a pinch, remember there’s always that evergreen line we once teenage girls used when some unwelcome, unwanted, and pimply Poindexter asked us out for a Friday night date:

  • “Gee, well, thanks, I’d love to, but gosh, I can’t. I’ve got to wash my hair!”

It’s not particularly novel or believable, but you’ll score points for nostalgia!

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