Excuses. Excuses. Believable and Some Not So

Excuses. Excuses. Some believable. Some not

I just read an amusing article entitled “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?

Believable Excuses

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 more demanding than procrasti-baking! But still, needing 21 excuses lined up in a row, ready to use at a moment’s notice! Honestly! That’s a bit much!

And on the subject of honesty and believability, is your honesty so in doubt that you require assistance formulating “believable” excuses? Are you considered a chronic liar by all who know you? Is a lie detector test required each time you speak to determine your veracity?

Then, to the matter at hand, if you wish to cancel plans you’ve made, why not simply say so?

“Hey, I’m sorry. Although I said I’d join you for High Tea this 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. Those bouts of asthma were, in fact, so frequent that the hospital ER staff and I were on a first-name basis.

After my “kids” grew old enough to drive or Uber to the ER, I sort of missed those shared misery jaunts — and the excuse they provided to avoid certain boring gatherings.

Now that I’m middle-aged, I have 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 share these problems.

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

Or in any case, are they so devoid of imagination that they cannot obfuscate a 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 providing TMI (too much information): “I’m vomiting copiously.”

5 Unbelievable Excuses

And so, while I’m no Emily Post, I say if you’re going to lie, do so with style. Do it with flair. A touch of elan. Give your friends and work colleagues something to talk about. Something to rage or feel envious about. Not something blah, believable, and bland.

Not “I’ve got a cold” or Heaven forbid, “I’m got to get a Covid test,” but something bold and audacious. Something like:

  1. “Elon texted and I’m off to Mars.”
  2.  “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.”)
  3. “I’ve just been approved to fast-track becoming a brain surgeon. Oh, yes, it’s a long-held dream of mine.”
  4.  “The U.S. Olympics Team called and I’m a last-minute sub for the curling team.”
  5.  “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!

2 replies
  1. Mary Mooney
    Mary Mooney says:

    It sure is exhausting. We are on our first trip across country to see my 94 year old mom. It’s wearing us out. My go to line is, “I’m so sorry I can’t come. I already have plans.” No one needs to know that my plans are to sit in my recliner and watch mindless Netflix. Great piece.


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