It’s not selfish to be selfish about your time. A cluttered social calendar can start to feel obligatory, and become a kind of tyranny imposed on ourselves, leaving us scrambling for ways to get out of social engagements. So here are a few ideas:

1. Lie 

To keep the peace, some of us have resorted to lying to get out of social commitments. How did we get here? Bailing on an event planned weeks in advance because you’d rather remain on your couch or under the covers with tea and Netflix is understandable, right? Wrong. Some people will still take the truth personally. So if you have to lie to protect their feelings, do it.

2. Tell the truth

Here are some examples: ‘I’m feeling burnt-out.’ Or, ‘My mental health is not up to social activities right now.’ Or the frank ‘I’m just too broke at the moment’. You’re not obligated to give an elaborate reason.


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‘Tis the season

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3. ‘Lose’ your phone

… or just put it off for a day or two and then say, ‘Ah, I only saw this invitation now. So sorry.’ Plead technical difficulties. Blame technology.

4. Skip the city

Or province, or country. Maybe just move altogether.


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Goodbye world

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5. Change the nature of the social commitment 

My best friend and I usually get together for ‘wine and gatsby’ dates. After facing realities like high cholesterol and hypertension (seriously) we’re trying to move towards less unhealthy hangouts. We were both nervous to bring up our changing needs, but after a frank (drunk) conversation, we decided to try to adapt the nature of our socialising. The door has been opened for dialogue, and it’s made all the difference.

6. Cut people loose 

Maybe it’s time to cut off friends who can’t accept you, where you are. There’s a lot to be said for solid, intuitive friendships that don’t require coddling or over-explanation when there’s been a busy spell or a patch of depression. Friends feeling entitled to your time and space can be a problem, particularly if it’s a one-way street. This is not to say you shouldn’t be there for your people, but there’s a line. And if you don’t know where your line is, maybe it’s time to think about where to draw it.

We’re over-extended, consistently plugged in, commuting, grinding, trying to focus and then hopefully (just maybe) we get to relax for an hour. The never-ending rain of WhatsApp notifications and accompanying social pressures can be exhausting, so remember you don’t have to socialise when you truly don’t feel like you can.

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