10 Excuses Not to Use When You Just Don’t Feel Like Hanging Out

Fact: It's okay to say no without pulling an excuse out of thin air. Really.

A long weekend is upon us, and during long weekends, I like to take at least one full day to do nothing but indulge myself in homebody activities I don’t usually get to enjoy on a regular 48-hour weekend. These activities include but are not limited to watching “My Strange Addiction”-level amounts of Grey’s Anatomy, trying (generally unsuccessfully) to become a person who bakes stuff, like gluten-free, matcha-infused muffins, reading the giant pile of magazines on my kitchen table that I’ve neglected for the past three months, and dancing to a curated playlist made up mostly of Beyoncé and Rihanna music in my bedroom mirror for a minimum of two hours straight. (Even when I’m being a shut-in, I still like to get a workout in.)

And a key part of enjoying these homebody days is this: I’m alone. With no one else to entertain but myself. All. Freakin’. Day. It’s how I recharge and maintain my sanity and I love it OH so much. But inevitably, whenever I’m having such a day, a text from a friend — dropped like a bomb into my schedule of doing, essentially, nothing, nothing and more nothing — asks the question, “Want to get drinks/get brunch/go to the movies/whatever?” And I all of a sudden find myself having to come up with some excuse — well, lie, if we’re being honest — for why I can’t. “Sorry, dancing to Rihanna,” just doesn’t feel like it cuts it.

But what I’m learning is that, actually, no I don’t need to fib my way out of hanging out with friends. It’s okay to take time for yourself — and own that you’re taking time to just chill the, well, you-know-what out. We’re all busy. We all get it, right? So I’m making a vow to ditch excuses and just say, “Sorry, I can’t today. Me-time reigns supreme,” without shame or stress. Below, 10 excuses I won’t be using anymore — gleaned from my old self (the shame) and my friends, who also make up excuses when they don’t feel like hanging out (we all do it, don’t we?) — when an unexpected hang-out rears its head to interrupt my plans of doing nothing. Instead of using one of these, I’ll just say, “Sorry, can’t today. LOVE YOU.” And you should, too.

1. “Sorry — I was napping. Didn’t see your text until now.” A four-hour nap? Okay, sure.

2. “I don’t know what happened — 12 hours ago I was fine, and now I’m like … all achey. And throw-up! There’s throw-up!” No, no there’s not.

3. “I’m waiting for a package, so, I’m kind of, like, glued to the couch, ya know?” Are you?

4. “[Insert dog’s name here] has uncontrollable diarrhea.” Really? (If this truly is the case, and not just a lie, I’m sorry — I have been there, which is how I realized this was a viable, albeit untrue, excuse to use when I didn’t want to leave my house.)

5. “There’s construction all along my block so I can’t move my car, and I’m anti-Uber … for moral reasons. Guess I’m stuck here.” SMH.

6. “I’m doing my laundry and my lease stipulates that I’m not allowed to leave the house while the washer is on.” This is a real stipulation of my lease. Never once has this been a real excuse.

7. “Sorry, I just put a roast in the oven.” No, no you didn’t. Because Crock-Pots exist. And also, what is this, 1972?

8. “[Insert made-up distant relative] is in town and I have to show him the sights. Sigh.” No. No he’s not.

9. “It’s raining.” This really just doesn’t work, because rain coats and umbrellas and morally questionable Ubers exist.

10. “I’m Marie Kondo-ing my house and I just hit my stride.” Even if this is true, this response will only induce eye rolls, I promise you. Just stick with “Sorry, I can’t.”

And a note: Sometimes, like when you get a text from a friend during your me-time day saying “HALP, boyfriend just dumped me,” or something, you should probably just suck it up and hang out. We’re not advocating being a jerk here — we’re just advocating not feeling bad or feeling like you have to hide the fact that you’re simply taking time for yourself, within reason.

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