Canceling plans is always a tough decision. Whether it’s because of an emergency, or a simple change of heart, plans can and will change. But sometimes it’s hard to know when and how to break the news- or if you should even cancel in the first place. Running through this list of questions can help define whether or not you should cancel plans, and how to do so.
Do I want to attend this event? Why or why not?
In a perfect world, you would only make plans you really want to be a part of, but feelings change, and sometimes we just need a break. These feelings are valid, and should be listened to. Mental and social health is maintained when we participate in events we are looking forward to being a part of.
Self reflection should be practiced when deciding whether or not to cancel plans, because you should know why you want to cancel, as to not make canceling a habit. For example, knowing that early morning plans aren’t for you is an aspect of self reflection that will help reduce cancellations in the future.
Do I have a reason not to attend this event?
Emergencies or illness always allow for last minute cancellation, but this is not an opportunity to avoid plans. You should have a reason when canceling on someone or on an event, which can then be explained to the host. This honestly will help maintain open communication and trust in your relationship.
What are the consequences of cancellation?
If the consequences of canceling are more significant than the effort it would take to attend an event, you might reconsider your cancellation. If you are canceling on a date, it could send the wrong message to that person. If you cancel a wedding reception, you might be causing financial loss- large event organizers often require a deposit and a headcount two weeks in advance. Feelings and financial loss are both important considerations when canceling.
Keep in mind that last minute cancellations will more likely cause a disruption to someone’s day or a large event. Being extra conscious of the impact of your actions is important in this situation. Having answered these questions, you should know enough to send a considerate message explaining your cancellation. A good cancellation message should include the following:
- A reason for your absence
- An apology, particularly if you are canceling last minute
- An option for rescheduling, if you are interested
- An offer of repayment for the loss created by your cancellation, if it applies
Knowing how to cancel will help you maintain a good relationship with friends, family and coworkers while also taking care of your mental and social health.
Written by GUADS intern Kate, with contributions from wellandgood.com