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June 4, 2009

What do you do when you make plans with someone and they keep canceling at the last minute?

Question: Like you will plan something and either they don’t show up and call later to apologize or they call and cancel right before the time you were supposed to meet? I say I will stop inviting them to do things but my friend says if you like them you should keep trying. What do you do?

Answer: You ask yourself, “Why am I still friends with this person?” The thing is, sometimes life happens; people get sick, or something unexpected comes up, and plans get cancelled. I don’t think most people have a problem when that happens – as long as it doesn’t happen all the time.
When they cancel on you repeatedly, however, they are sending you a message: you are not important to them, and something better has come along. They know you’ll just invite them somewhere else another time anyway, so they don’t even have to really feel bad about it. While you are checking your watch and getting stood up, they are out with someone else enjoying themselves, and probably not giving you a second thought.

It’s rude enough to consistently last-minute cancel on someone, but simply not showing up smacks of utter disrespect. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking of one or two people who used to be in my circle of friends, who have been “cut” from our group – meaning, we simply don’t invite them anywhere anymore. They would RSVP “YES” to an event, and not show up. This was especially annoying when we would be hosting a pot luck, as we would end up with a menu with holes in it. When pressed for an example, they would say, “Oh I wasn’t feeling well” or “I had to go out with my mom” or some other lame excuse. The rest of us would just roll our eyes, since this is exactly what we knew would happen anyway. I haven’t seen them since …. Sometime in the fall? They were supposed to come to New Year’s but for whatever reason, they didn’t make it.

In this day and age of awesome technology, there is no excuse for not at least calling someone to let them know you can’t make it. My 80-year-old uncle has a cell phone, so I’m assuming your friend does too. It takes just a minute to make a phone call, after all!

Bottom line: If your “friend” wanted to spend time with you, they would. If they cancel all the time, or just don’t show up, they are letting you know that they are not interested in spending time with you. Invest your time with someone else who will appreciate you! You don’t have to explain anything; they probably won’t notice you’re gone anyway. Life is too short to spend it waiting for people with no manners.

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