Expert Tips For Cancelling On Someone Politely

Sometimes canceling an appointment becomes necessary, whether for a family emergency, a last-minute change of plans, or something else. You don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings—but how should you handle the situation? This guide on how to cancel on someone politely includes six tips for canceling plans without hurting anyone’s feelings and compromising your relationship.

ice cream with vegetable on plate
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

A polite approach to canceling a plan can make the person feel better and portray you as well-mannered and considerate. If you need to cancel an appointment at the last minute, below are some expert tips you can use. 

How To Cancel on Someone Politely: 6 Expert Tips

You sometimes need to cancel a date, an appointment, or a dinner party. Here are some expert tips for canceling on someone politely. Here are some tips on how to cancel on someone politely.

1. Make a phone call

Texting might not be a great way to cancel an appointment at the last minute. A phone call is the best way to cancel without offending your date. Phone calls create a sense of intimacy and preserve a chance for you to have an honest conversation. 

The person at the other end can hear your tone of sincere regret and understand your reasons. A phone call might seem a little awkward and scary because you might not know what to say. Get ahead of the situation by planning out what you’ll say ahead of time. 

2. Apologize upfront

The phrase “I’m sorry” is usually the easiest way to ease an awkward situation. It’s essential to express remorse and apologize while telling the reason for the cancellation. Apologizing upfront shows that you respect the person’s time and understand how affected they might be by the cancellation. 

3. If there’s no real excuse, omit a reason instead of lying.

You’re more likely to get caught whenever you tell a lie for an excuse, which can hurt your friendship. If there was no reason for you to bail on the person, omit giving one. You probably didn’t feel right about the date; rather than plotting a conniving excuse, simply apologize. 

Say something like, “I’m sorry this is last-minute, but I, unfortunately, can’t make it.” While the person might read meaning into your excuse, usually telling the truth works better. 

4. Offer to reschedule

After explaining to someone that you need to cancel an upcoming date, offer to reschedule for a different time. This is a great way to lessen the hurt and keep the friendship between you and the person. By rescheduling, the other person knows you still value the relationship and are willing to invest some time and energy in it.

5. Avoid posting on social media after you cancel

Avoid showing any signs of celebration after canceling on someone in a place where the person you disappointed could see it. The other person might be feeling disappointed and a little hurt. When you seem comfortable with it and show yourself having fun, it’s a disrespectful way to act. This could paint a bad image of you and show that you’re not committed to the friendship.

6. Make a point not to cancel the next time.

If you make last-minute cancellations a thing, you’ll be seen as unreliable and untrustworthy. The other person will portray you as someone who isn’t willing to devote time and energy to the relationship. After you’ve canceled an appointment once, make it a point not to do it again. 

Wrapping Up

It can be tough to cancel on someone. But when you actively try to be courteous, it can take out much of the hard-to-swallow guilt. When you’re canceling plans, keep in mind that the other person’s day might probably be ruined. Thus, it is critical to cancel in a way that minimizes uncomfortable situations. Apologize and offer to reschedule.

This article highlights the proper etiquette for canceling on someone and how to reduce the awkwardness of the situation. 

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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