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Picture this scenario: you’ve made plans to have dinner with a group of friends, but then something unexpected comes up at the last minute that you can’t turn down. It’s awkward, right? Canceling plans at the last minute is a major social taboo since, as humans, we typically like to be “in control” of our surroundings.

When something unexpected happens, it comes as a surprise and catches us off-guard. Things “going as planned” doesn’t happen as often as we’d like, therefore, we strive to have everything in order and be on top of situations. The question is, knowing the social implications, how do you turn down plans late without offending the other person?

1. Make the sure other person knows you’re sincere. Keeping the other person’s trust is the key – you can’t have an honest relationship with anyone if they think you’re subtly trying to blow them off. If you’re breaking the plans in order to see someone else, this makes the situation tricky. Being honest with the friend instead of making up excuses may be hard, but in the long run, they’ll thank you for not making plans behind their back.

2. Apologize with a legitimate reason. Tell them the situation you’re in and make sure they know that you’re sorry. When the reason is both believable and understandable, the other person doesn’t feel as put off by your cancellation. It’s the combination of being able to relate to the excuse and a heartfelt apology that keeps the mood up.

3. Make new plans to replace the canceled ones. By keeping the communication open and making it clear that you do want to take a rain-check, the other person doesn’t feel as slighted. It’s the sincere idea that you want to reschedule the plans that makes the abrupt cancellation much easier to take.

4. And most importantly, use your charm and personality to smooth things over. Keep the good humor and make them remember why they like being around you! It’s not that hard to keep the communication open, which will in turn keep your relationships safe from misunderstanding.

5. Be yourself. It’s the only genuine way to make things right in any relationship. Keep the faith that with these communication tips and your own knowledge that everything will turn out fine after plans are canceled.

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