Be careful with The Cancel

Have you ever thought about what happens when you cancel on someone? Some people cancel without much thought. Some make plans to attend, but if something else comes up, they cancel with little thought. The cancel has become quite popular because of our busy schedules.

Prioritizing schedules is tough especially when you are trying to make sure everyone in the family is where they want or need to be. Though we live in a world of over commitment, it is still important that we be cautious with our cancels, especially the last-minute ones.

I have a rule. If someone cancels on me three times, I remove them from my guest list. The reason is because it's hard to get excited about plans with someone that is not reliable. I get excited about seeing them and wait for them to walk through the door. When they don't show up or cancel, I'm really sad. It's just too hard for me.

When we make plans to meet for business, personal or social reasons, a lot has to fall into place. A location needs to be determined, the appropriate amount of time defined, and invites extended to those who will be included. If it is a trip, a budget needs to be discussed and expenses divided. If it is a party, how much food and drinks need to be purchased so there is enough but not too much.

Kids' schedules might need to be considered, and who is giving rides and who is taking who, where and when. Does a babysitter need to be found? Perhaps appointments need to be rescheduled, or amounts of time on a calendar need to be blocked off. Errands might need to be moved.

A lot needs to be considered from appropriate clothing to is there enough gas in the car or should I leave sooner to stop and fill up? If it's a trip, do we need an oil change before we get on the road?  We also need to consider what might need to be addressed during this time elsewhere.  

There is a lot of thought, and organizing that goes into making plans. When someone cancels, especially last minute, I wonder if any of these details are considered? When someone accepts an invite, it should be because they want to spend time with you and they have made the necessary arrangements to do so. You are a priority to them and they will be there unless a life-threatening situtaions presents itself. Cancellation should be rare.

If you find yourself in a situation where a cancellation is inevitable due to an extenuating circumstance that is out of your control, make sure it comes with a genuine, sincere apology and an opportunity to make it up to the person. Whether it be a lunch, gift or bottle of good wine, it should be something indicating this is not your normal behavior and you are truly sorry.

Colleen Harding

President of The Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol.   I am a member St Raphael Women's Guild, Friends of the Westside Catholic Center and The Avon Oaks Women's Golf Association.

I live in Bay Village with my husband and 3 children.   

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 8:46 AM, 11.07.2023