Excuses to Cancel Plans Last Minute

90% of life is showing up. Sure. But what about the remaining 10% when you don't feel like it?

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Sorry. This event is canceled.

You’ve caught the contagious case of ‘I’d-rather-stay-in-my-pajamas’ syndrome. 

Because Monica and Chandler are the only friends you feel like seeing tonight. But apparently, you already made plans, and there are rules to this cancellation thing.

As an expert ‘canceler,’ I’ll guide you through 10 legit excuses to cancel plans at the last minute. These are not guaranteed to work, but they will make up a solid case.

Remember These Beforehand

Before diving into it, there are important things to remember if you want your excuse to sound legit (if it’s not).

Call them, No Texting

You are reluctant to call your buddy and cancel the barbecue they have been looking forward to for the past few months. 

But for the sake of being a good friend and human, call them, don’t text. A phone call shows your regret and sincerity and makes your excuse acceptable.


When making the phone call, apologize upfront.

Acknowledge your initial commitment and how canceling the plan inconveniences them. Say something like:

“I’m really sorry I have to cancel our plans. I feel terrible about this since I said I’d show up, but I can’t make it.” Then go ahead and explain why.

When giving your excuse, be straightforward and don’t over-explain. Otherwise, you won’t come out as convincing.


The least you can do after canceling a plan is offer to reschedule. It expresses your regret and shows you are willing to go the extra step to keep the friendship alive.

It makes you appear respectful and considerate. However, don’t make a rescheduling offer if you don’t mean it. What’s worse than canceling twice?

You Are Not in Control of Their Interpretation

Regardless of whether your reason is valid or not, people’s interpretation will always remain subjective. You cannot control their thoughts.

Obligations are often unexpected. At times, you have to take drastic actions, even if it means disappointing someone else. 

Accept that they may not perceive your excuse as worthy and be okay with it. It’s life.

Now, let’s get into it.

1. Come Clean

I don’t know about you, but if someone were to cancel on me, I’d appreciate utmost honesty. 

I may be disappointed at the moment. Not certain, but likely. But it’s granted that I’ll be infuriated if I later learn that the excuse was a hoax. 

If it was a long, tiresome week and you want time to yourself, say it. If you’d rather not meet someone else who will be at the meetup, tell them exactly that.

You don’t need to feel guilty about a change of heart at the last minute. It happens to everyone. It’s just unfortunate that it was with your friend.

Honesty is the best policy. Isn’t that the saying?

2. Family Emergency

Your fourth cousin died. You know, the one whom you share a great-great-great grandparent with. 

Or, more convincingly, your kins are in town, and you have to meet or accommodate them.

Everyone understands family obligations, which makes this a perfect strategy. When family emergencies happen impromptu, they require our immediate attention no matter what. 

It’s all about family. 

3. Class 


If I could go back to school, it wouldn’t be for the long, boring lectures, the free hugs, or the constant partying. 

It would be simply to use the ‘Sorry, I’m in class, will get back to you later’ excuse again. Nothing beats this.

A make-up class and due assignment are on top of the most believable excuses you can come up with.

4. Under The Weather

You woke up with a nasty flu, migraine, or stomach ache.

And when that isn’t appealing enough, you can say you injured yourself.

Illness is the oldest trick in the excuse book, but it’s also the most believable. You clearly cannot go out when you are sick. You are better off staying in bed until you feel better.

At best, your friend will wish you a quick recovery. At worst, they’ll hate themselves for doubting your illness. Despicable. 

5. Work

When the plan is not with your colleague or boss, blame your boss.

“My boss moved up the deadline, so I have to work late this week.”

Work commitments such as crisis meetings and additional assignments are believable since everyone relates to them. Go even further and express your frustration with your boss. 

You know how my boss is. I’d really love to attend the party, but I don’t want to lose my job.

6. Extreme Weather

Vintage looking Urban scene seen through a window in a rainy day.

This is actually a legit reason.

There are things we cannot control when making plans, and the weather is a perfect example. Perfect for when you and your friends live in different towns.

When there’s a slight drizzle, call them and say the blizzard is unbearable. You won’t make to drive or commute.

Save this excuse for a rainy day, literally.

7. Laundry

Unless you come from a rich family with more servants than the rooms in my house, you’ve got to do laundry.

It’s boring, it’s tiresome, but you still have to do it.

The only clean clothes you have are the sweats you are wearing, and you can’t go out looking like that.

Believable? You tell me.

8. You Are Broke

Male Shows Empty Pockets Moneyless Concept

Even better than doing laundry, you are broke. 

Chances are, this is not a lie. See your life. You simply cannot afford anything outside your house. Adulting, right! 

You have to save money for bills and other important things. And as such, you cannot go out.

It’s a good plan until your generous friends offer to cater for everything. And then you are left with no excuse but to show up.

9. Oh, Shoot, I Forgot!

It’s lame, but it’s an excuse. And depending on your situation, it might just work.

Go offline and call your friend after the plan’s due date. Tell them you’ve been caught up with work, kids, or other commitments and totally forgot about it. Issue your sincerest apology and even offer to reschedule.

Again, this only works if your friend doesn’t keep reminding you about the plan.

10. No Excuse is an Excuse

At times, the perfect excuse is not giving an excuse. 

It will save you all the hassle of explaining yourself and coming up with a million excuses. You risk coming out as an asshole, but who cares!

I don’t feel like it. That’s enough.

All you need right now is to binge-watch Friends or The Office and forget about everything and everyone for a few hours. It’s therapeutic.

If your friends are anything like me, they won’t just understand, they’ll envy you.

No Plans, No Canceling

My New Year’s resolution, apart from cutting down on the pizza, is to avoid making commitments I won’t see through. Pretty ironic for a resolution.

The bottom line is that backing out of a plan at the last minute is awkward and uncomfortable. Even if your excuse is genuine, you can’t help but feel somewhat guilty of disappointing your friend.

The best way out of it is to avoid making plans. You can’t back out of a plan you didn’t make in the first place.


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