18 Good Excuses To Get Out Of Something You Don’t Want To Do (That Are Actually Believable)

18 Good Excuses To Get Out Of Something You Don’t Want To Do (That Are Actually Believable)

1. “Sorry, I double-booked!”

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We’ve all experienced the embarrassment and stress that comes along with unintentionally scheduling two events at the same time. It’s a believable mistake and implies that you’re usually organized but simply made an error. Just remember to check your calendar next time to avoid overlaps like that (if that’s what actually happened, of course).

2. “I’m feeling a little under the weather.”

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Not feeling well is a totally believable excuse for canceling plans, especially if it’s winter, i.e. cold/flu/COVID season. It’s a generally accepted reason for not being able to attend an event or fulfill a commitment because no one wants you dragging your germs around. It’s important to take care of your health first, especially since your well-being should always be a priority.

3. “Ugh, I can’t — I have some family obligations to take care of.”

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Hey, maybe you have to drive your mom to the doctor or help your sister finish a project. Either way, you have responsibilities to your flesh and blood and you can’t let them down. It’s usually respected, as it shows your dedication to your family. Who’s going to be the jerk who argues with that?

4. “I’m having major pet problems here.”

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If you own a pet, this is a believable excuse for needing to bail on plans. It suggests that something is wrong with your pet that needs your immediate attention. Maybe your dog ate half a pizza while you were in the bathroom and you know he’s going to throw it all up any minute now. Whatever the case, your other plans can (and will) wait.

5. “My car won’t start!”

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To be honest, if this is actually happening, it really sucks, especially when you rely on your car to get to work, run errands, etc. On the plus side, it’s a great excuse for getting out of something you’d really rather not do. How can you meet your old “friend” from high school at a bar 15 miles away with no way to get there? You can’t.

6. “I got a flat tire, sorry!”

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Just like the above, you’re not driving anywhere on a flat tire except for maybe the nearest garage to have a new one put on. Whatever plans you had otherwise will just have to be rescheduled.

7. “I have a migraine and need to go lay in a dark room.”

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If you’ve ever had a migraine, you know just how debilitating they can be. You feel sick, every sound or molecule of light just makes your head pound worse, and you literally can’t do anything but curl up in a dark room and wait for it to pass. You’re not even sitting upright with a migraine, let alone going out.

8. “Things are falling apart in the house, I can’t make it.”

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This excuse implies that there’s some kind of urgent issue at home, like a leak or a broken appliance, that requires your immediate attention. Obviously, it’ll need to be something pretty important — saying your dryer is broken won’t get you out of plans, after all — but don’t make it too extreme or the person might come rushing over to help!

9. “I’ve had some unexpected visitors turn up.”

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We’ve all had this happen and it kind of sucks. If you actually have had someone turn up unannounced, you kind of have to weigh what you want to do more: spend time with your uninvited guest or shove them out by telling them you have other plans. It might be a choice of the less of two evils, but so it goes.

10. “Work is absolutely mental right now.”

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Depending on what field you work in, this may very well be the case. Having to cancel plans because your job is particularly nuts right now mirrors a sense of professionalism and responsibility towards your job. However, just make sure this isn’t your excuse all the time or you’ll start to look like someone who’s all work and no play.

11. “I lost my keys.”

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You can’t leave your house unlocked while you go shopping or attend a friend’s work event, so if you can’t find your keys, you can’t go out. It’s as simple as that. Just hope the person you have plans with isn’t someone who you’ve given a spare key!

12. “My stomach is seriously messed up today.”

sad woman on couch

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I feel like 99% of the population has IBS these days, and while it used to be embarrassing to admit you spent half the morning on the toilet, these days, pretty much everyone can commiserate. No one’s going to question you when you have to cancel plans because your stomach is acting up.

13. “I have a last-minute doctor’s appointment.”

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Maybe you’ve been trying to get in to see your doctor for a few weeks and they finally got a cancellation. You don’t know when an appointment will come up again, so you’ll have to take it now, obviously.

14. “The babysitter canceled.”

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You’re not going to leave your kids at home alone while you go out gallivanting, are you? If the babysitter cancels, you’ll have to stay home to make sure they’re looked after, so you won’t be able to make the plans you previously had. It sucks, but it happens when you’re a parent.

15. “I’m having a mental health day.”

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This is one “excuse” that’s always legit. Mental health is of utmost importance, and if yours is suffering or on the downslide, you need to take some time for yourself to recharge your battery and start to feel better. All the plans you had can wait — it’s time for a bit of self-care.

17. “My internet is down!”

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If the plans you had are online — a Zoom meeting, an online workshop, etc. — and your internet isn’t working, you can’t make it. Technology is pretty reliable, but it does have its faults, so this one is pretty believable.

18. “I have to help a friend out.”

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When a friend is in crisis, you can show that you’re a good person by dropping whatever’s going on to be there for them. If your prior plans weren’t at all important, they can be rescheduled when your friend in need is in a better place.

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Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.