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Help me make my excuses for not attending a party at the last minute
October 17, 2009 2:01 AM   Subscribe

How can I gracefully pull out of attending a party at the last moment?

I know there is no really truly good way to do this. But I'm due to attend a party in about five minutes and I just REALLY don't want to go. Three days ago, I was all ''I'll see you there'' to the host, who is someone I've previously been friends with but have come to dislike quite a bit. I thought I would just go to this thing and then have nothing more to do with her. But actually, now it's come time to leave, I'd rather skip straight to ''nothing more to do with her''.

I know, on one level, that if I'm having nothing more to do with her, it doesn't really matter what I say. But I'd still prefer not to be outright offensive and just not turn up. She's not a bad person or deserving of rudeness just because I don't like her.

So AskMe, I ask you, what is the least painful / most graceful way I can advise I'm not coming after all? Preference for short and simple rather than elaborate excuses.
posted by t0astie to Human Relations (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
"family emergency"

She'll of course ask you what is it or if it is serious, just act as if it is something embarrassing you'd rather not share. Most people would realize that prying would be rude and will let you go. If she doesn't, you can shift to acting offended that she would pry.
posted by arcolz at 2:22 AM on October 17, 2009


"I"m so sorry, I"m not 100 percent. I won't be able to make it tonight. Have a fabulous evening." via text message.
posted by taff at 2:28 AM on October 17, 2009 [13 favorites]


This situation is familiar to me, and I found it helpful to remember it's ok not to want to go - and also that the host will be so busy with the party that my absence won't be a big deal. I would apologise and plead a migraine maybe, or family emergency like arcolz said, and tell her I hope the party is a big success.
posted by abundancecafe at 2:29 AM on October 17, 2009


"Preference for short and simple rather than elaborate excuses."

My style is to state the minimum necessary that still sounds gracious. E.g. "I'm sorry, but I'm really not up to it and won't be making it to your party".

Don't offer any more information, especially white lies such as "family emergency". If she presses you, just say that you don't wish to get into it right now.
posted by randomstriker at 2:29 AM on October 17, 2009


--"I can't make it."

--"Why not?"

--"I don't want to discuss it. I'm sorry I can't come."

--"What? Why can't you come?"

--"How much detail do you actually want about what's wrong with my asshole?"

The key, here, is the mild profanity and the reference to your GI tract. You want to sound annoyed at having been asked. And you want to make it clear that you can provide enough detail to cause her to lose her lunch.
posted by Netzapper at 2:30 AM on October 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thank you Taff. Done!
posted by t0astie at 2:39 AM on October 17, 2009


These days just say you have a touch of the flu. No one will want you at the party.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:34 PM on October 17, 2009


These days just say you have a touch of the flu. No one will want you at the party.

ha ha ha
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 12:47 PM on October 17, 2009


There is no believable or acceptable excuse delivered 5 minutes before you are to arrive except a true last minute emergency It also depends on whether is was a small (less than 8) or larger party. If it was more intimate not going is a problem. Given the 5 minutes I would opt for illness and "hoping to recover, tried, but just too tired". As it is more than 5 minutes since you posted I would be interested in what you did.
posted by rmhsinc at 3:53 PM on October 17, 2009


There is no believable or acceptable excuse delivered 5 minutes before you are to arrive

I'm sorry, but that's just not true. Even for a small party, a gracious hostess will simply readjust and make light of the situation for the rest of her guests. Everyone will move on. There are any number of reasons why one might need to cancel at the last minute, and all of them, including "I don't want to go", are acceptable. For the sake of being polite, saying something like "I am not feeling up to it" is just as believable (since it is not a lie), but it's phrased in a diplomatic way.
posted by asciident at 4:57 PM on October 17, 2009


Last time I attempted to throw a party, the last-minute excuses I got were "my car just died" and "I just got called into work" and "I just got sick." I am so not throwing a party again :)
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:20 PM on October 17, 2009


asciident--Yes it is true, I think. I am hard pressed to imagine how it is not ill mannered or rude to cancel at the last minute for an invitation that has been accepted. While it is obligatory for the host/hostess to be gracious in handling the cancellation ( We will miss you, hope you feel better, etc) it is not OK to change your mind at the last minute. Preferrably an invitation once accepted is never canceled but a minimum of 24-48 hours notice is preferred. This particularly true if the host/hostess is required to make preparations, arrange food beverages, make reservations etc. A persons difficulty in declining an invitation is not a reason to behave poorly--and texting or hoping to get an answering machine is also tacky.
posted by rmhsinc at 8:05 AM on October 18, 2009


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