It’s Saturday morning and you feel a cold coming on, but you’re meant to have dinner with a friend that you planned weeks ago. What do you do? Do you bail now? Or see how you’re feeling later and then decide? Canceling on someone is never a great thing to do (unless you have no conscience), but when you cancel can make all the difference. Which is to say, the later you do it, the worse it is. But how late is too late to call off plans?
By most restaurant standards, canceling 24 hours in advance of a reservation is enough to avoid a penalty, so it feels like an appropriate window for social plans as well. However, if canceling is a matter of changing circumstances and not just because you don’t feel like going — i.e., you’ve come down with the flu or your basement is flooded — canceling up to a few hours before your plans can still be acceptable, provided you’re sufficiently apologetic and suggest another time to reschedule.
Unless there are truly extreme and unavoidable circumstances, here’s what you shouldn’t do: wait within an hour of the time you’re supposed to meet and then bail. If you’re canceling after your friend has theoretically left to meet you, it’s too late. Any later than that and you’re a monster and should probably avoid making plans in the future.
*Image retrieved from alexkich via stock.adobe.com