How to Tell the Perfect Excuse
Whether the thrill of disengaging from a planned outing or the crushing weight of the world condemning you to your bed motivates you, it is necessary to have a good excuse at hand. Otherwise your prospective social partner(s) will think less of you and perhaps even think you are lying to them.
It used to be easy to have a good excuse. “My mom said I can’t,” was the perfect blowback for a pretty long stretch of life until your friends realized you were just maybe not the most fun person to hang out with. But unless the recipient of the excuse had a direct line of communication with your mother, it was golden. The most crucial aspect of a good excuse is just that: it cannot come back to out you as a liar or otherwise present undue stress in propagating the lie. This will present a host of challenges that are ripe for sitcom plot material.
And so it is necessary to strike a balance between truth and lie. A full truth is rarely enough to constitute an excuse in the sense of the word we’re dealing with here. If you actually have car troubles or are attending a funeral then you’re just dealing with life. Excuses are reserved for when you much prefer the company of yourself, a bowl of cereal, and a fifth rerun of your preferred Netflix series. Those cannot be accomplished if you are busy at a legitimate engagement that supercedes plans with your friends or going on a third date with a novice conversationalist.
In balancing a truth and a lie, however, it is possible to reuse these legitimate engagements and pass them off as occurring on your desired date of choice. For example, a doctor’s appointment in a week can easily be moved up to later this afternoon so that you don’t have to reconnect with your old friend from high school who got really into fascist politics post-graduation. That is, unless, your fashy friend happens to work at the building adjacent to the doctors office and notices you’re not there! Clearly I don’t write for Curb Your Enthusiasm because this plot needs work (why would he be at work if you guys had plans? why would he know where your doctor works?) but you catch my drift. It’s important to avoid situations like that because then the audience will be laughing at you, the new subject of the situational comedy.
Another important tenet of spinning a good excuse is relaying your regret with which you are just filled with that you can’t go to Chili’s with your brother and his weird girlfriend tomorrow night. “Oh man,” you start off with, “I wish I could,” you lie, “I love Chili’s!” you end on a strong note because you actually do love Chili’s. The ambience, the inexpensive appetizers, the free refills, it’s just a true bastion of American culture and cuisine. This is another area where peppering in truth into your lies is important.
Finally, the reschedule. For whatever reason, when you make an excuse, you must give a prospective rescheduling of the event. This is a social custom that has somehow reached ubiquity. No worries, you’ve got this. Depending on the persistence of your target, you can be as vague as possible. “Let’s go next week,” is a good one because next week is not too soon but not too far away. It’s in that sweet spot where the person is likely to forget about it come next week. Another option is to go full nuclear with “maybe another time!” because this means you have absolutely no intention to reschedule for another time. You would not be caught dead doing this activity in the future, and this is the most polite way to say so.
When you’re sitting on the couch reveling in your ability to spin a perfect excuse, remember that your friends and loved ones will still love you no matter the circumstances. Sure, budding relationships and those who which you’re relatively disconnected with might harbor some negative feelings, but the solace of chilling by yourself after cancelling plans is a sensation unmatched in the modern world.