Bail Better

Bail Better

Tips and Tricks
Posted on 28 JAN

Time to talk about something we are all guilty of – and this is one of those times when I am asking you to do as I say, not as I do. Or perhaps, I am speaking as much to myself as I am to you. Stop bailing on your friends at the last minute. But if you absolutely have to, don’t be an ass.

We make plans with the girls. We’re genuinely excited about the prospect of getting together, remembering the last time and how much fun we had. The day comes and we have the best intentions of going. As the hours tick away and our day comes to an end, we’re exhausted and just need some alone time at home to relax and unwind, we grab our phones and text the ultimate last-minute bail.

I’m not feeling well.
Something’s come up with the kids.
Hubby/partner/significant other needs me for something.

What you’ve done? You’ve disappointed a friend – an whoa, our girlfriends are such important people for our sanity, but that’s another conversation for a later date. And I bet you feel at least a smidge guilty. But you’ve not only disappointed him or her, you’ve lied too! Double-ding-what-a-jerk-you-are-move. You know it. They suspect it.

The truth of the matter is, it is absolutely OK to cancel for self-care reasons, and I am sure your friends are as guilty of this from time to time as you are. BUT there are much better, more polite and respectful ways than the cop-out last minute text. Here are five suggestions on how to bail better.

  1. Do it as soon as you know. It is much easier for your friend to accommodate a no rather than a wishy-washy yes – it’s harder to manage whether it’s a seat at the table, a ticket for an event or a space in the Uber. Being polite about timing will win you points even if you’re cancelling.
  2. Don’t lie. If you tell your friend that you’re just not up to it and why, what friend wouldn’t sympathize? Well I know there are a few who will bitch and moan and make you feel guilty, but the majority will understand how you’re feeling and how easy it is to get overwhelmed at work or at home and just need to stay in. They’re your friend for a reason.
  3. Apologize. Be sincere with your apology – I am sure you are. No one wants to intentionally disappoint a friend, and if you acknowledge their feelings and apologize, your bail doesn’t feel so bad to either of you.
  4. Don’t commit unless you’re truly feeling it. You know yourself, right? You’ve been you all your life. Chances are, you know how you feel at the end of the work day or after being in classes or whatever fills the majority of your waking hours between 8am – 6pm. You know if you typically want to get out and unwind with friends or need to get home and reacquaint yourself with your sofa. Don’t make plans you know you probably will cancel anyway. A no today is so much better than a last-minute bail. Suggest something on the weekend when you’re more likely to want to get up and go.
  5. DO NOT TEXT. This is the most important Bailing Better Rule. Use your voice. If you decide you need to stay home, gather your courage and make the phone call. Texting is the worst thing that’s ever happened to good manners. Put yourself in your friend’s shoes. Wouldn’t you feel better to get a call with a genuine apology rather than a lame text? And, this way you don’t have to speculate on the other end of your phone if your friend is pissed off. Note to my friends: if you do send a lame text and I answer with – OK, I am definitely mad as hell, ha ha ha! I do not care if you are a GenZ who does all her communicating by text anyway, or a Millennial or a GenX, a call is always so much better. It’s thoughtful.

When I am having a nasty talk with myself in my head, I often try to step out of that crazy space and speak to myself like I would if I were talking to a friend in the same situation. In the case of the bail, I suggest you do the same and ask yourself, if my friend is going to cancel our plans, how would I want her to go about it? I bet you will agree, the five points above would all be winners. Now that you’ve bailed better, turn on Netflix, cozy up under a blanket with your beverage and snack of choice, and enjoy the time you needed at home guilt free.


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