Do you need a good excuse to get out of something? You’re in the right place.
For the purpose of this article, we’ll assume that you want to reject someone close to you, like a friend asking you to go out or a loved one asking you to spend time with them.
However, if you carefully follow the steps below, you’ll be able to get out of anything. Plus, you can be honest, avoid hurting anyone, and feel guilt-free about it.
You can even use some of these excuses in your professional life and with acquaintances, not just friends and family. Keep reading to learn how to tailor them based on your specific circumstances.
But let’s start with the list of excuses you can use to get out of something you just don’t want to do.
30 Excuses To Get Out Of Going Somewhere Or Doing Something
- “Sorry, I’m not feeling so well.”
- “Sorry, I have a lot of work to do right now.”
- “I wish I could, but my family came to visit unexpectedly.”
- “I’m sorry, but I totally forgot that it’s my cousin’s birthday today.”
- “I’m sorry, but I already made plans with my family that I totally forgot about!”
- “My partner is having a crisis, and I really need to be there for them right now.”
- “Sorry, but I’m running behind on work, and I might get fired if I don’t do all this on time.”
- “To be honest, I’m exhausted these days, and I don’t think I can bring myself to go out.”
- “Sorry, my friend just asked me for help with something, could we see each other some other time?”
- “I wish I could, but I can’t find anyone to take care of my pet, so I’ll have to reschedule.”
- “Sorry, my loved one is having an emergency and I really have to be there for them right now.”
- “Oh god, I totally forgot about our plans, I’m so sorry! I hope we can reschedule.”
- “I have an early day tomorrow, so I’ve got to get to bed. Maybe we can do this next week instead.”
- “My house is a mess, and I really need to get my life in order before making any more plans. Sorry about that; I hope you understand.”
- “I hurt my ankle while hiking, so I’ll be in bed for a few days. I’ll let you know when I’m back on my feet and we’ll get together then!”
- “My car broke down, and so did I. I’m really not in the mood to go out right now, sorry.”
- “I wish I could, but I’m currently broke. Please be patient while I get my life in order.”
- “You wouldn’t believe the day I had; I can’t bring myself to see anyone right now. Let’s talk a few days from now.”
- “Last night was crazy, and I don’t have the energy to get out of bed today, hope you understand. Sorry for the late response.”
- “Something came up at work, and with the traffic, there’s no way I can make it, sorry about that, let’s reschedule.”
- “I have to be honest with you, I really don’t feel like it today, hope you can understand, I’m going through some things and will get back to you as soon as I’m on my feet again.”
- “I have a deadline, and it can’t wait. Let’s talk once I clear my schedule.”
- “I have a lot of meetings today, and by the time they’re all done, I’ll be exhausted. So let’s do this another time.”
- “I caught something, and I might be contagious, so let’s stay safe and see each other once I’m feeling well again.”
- “I lost my wallet with my ID, so going anywhere is really hard for me right now, but let’s talk again when I sort this thing out.”
- “My roommate/partner and I got into a huge fight, so give me some time to sort all this out, and we’ll talk later.”
- “To be honest, I’d rather just stay home and get cozy, life hasn’t been easy on me lately.”
- “I ran into my ex today and it floored me emotionally, so I really need some alone time right now, hope you understand.”
- “I have to go to the doctor’s to get some test results, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”
- “I’m waiting for the delivery guy, ordered something really important and can’t miss the chance to get it as soon as possible, let’s rain check please.”
How To Use These Excuses
1. Be ready for follow-up questions.
Whichever excuse you use, be prepared for questions.
“I’m having a personal issue that I need to urgently tend to,” would probably be enough for a boss or a coworker not to ask you more about it. But if it’s a loved one, they may want to know the details. This is why some of the examples on the list include specifics to help you navigate follow-up questions.
You need to be prepared for follow-up questions, so decide how honest you want to be. For instance, saying, “I had a one-night stand, and I’m at the hospital waiting for the results because I might have an STD,” could be rephrased into, “I have to go to the doctor’s to get some test results, I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”
However, if you say this, the person will probably have follow-up questions, so you could even say, “I’m down with a cold.”
When something is a health issue, you could make it general, and people likely won’t ask you more about it.
However, be careful with using health issues if they’re not real. If you’re feeling sick every Sunday night, the person is going to realize that the issue is not about your health at all.
“I’m going through something personal that I don’t want to talk about,” is a good excuse if it’s true. So consider staying in the “honest zone” when coming up with your excuses.
2. Choose a general excuse or a specific one.
Depending on how honest you want it to be, pick a general excuse or a specific one. “I don’t want to go out” can be rephrased into, “I just want to be by myself today, sorry for the late response, hope you have fun, and we’ll do it another time.”
A good excuse to not hang out might be: “I’ve just been under a lot of stress lately, and it’s getting to me, so I don’t feel like it. I’m sorry. Let me get back to you when I’m on my feet again.” The only question is, how honest do you want to be with this person?
A generic excuse, like the first one on the list above, will work a charm. However, they’re often like literally saying the words “generic excuse” to the person after they ask you to do something. So, if you frequently use generic excuses (especially if fake), the person is going to give up on asking you to do things. Therefore, consider being as honest as you can be and get specific with your loved ones, but rephrase if necessary.
3. Use details with loved ones.
“I don’t feel like getting out of bed and going out,” could be changed by saying, “To be honest, I’d rather just stay home and get cozy, life hasn’t been easy on me lately.” Or, “I just popped open a bag of chips, and there’s this show on Netflix… I know… Don’t hate me, but I just can’t, the bed is hugging me.”
So, consider using details and being honest with your loved ones. “I ran into my ex today and it tore me up emotionally, so I really need some alone time right now, hope you understand,” is a very good excuse if it’s a real one.
The problem with being specific without being honest about it is that you’d need to remember your lie and back it up later. There will also be follow-up questions, so it’s best to stay in the “honest zone.”
4. Stay in the “honest zone.”
You could be honest by being entirely vague by saying something like “You wouldn’t believe the day I had; I can’t bring myself to see anyone right now. Let’s talk a few days from now.”
Stay in the “honest zone” by making your problem general. Is it a personal issue, your professional life, your love life, family problems, or your social life that is standing in your way? “I’m not feeling well,” could be anything in the world if you’re having a health issue that you don’t want to talk about.
Similarly, “I’m busy with work,” is a valid excuse for wanting to rest after a hard day instead of going out with your friends.
However, don’t hesitate to share something about what’s going on with you with the person you’re talking to. You could rephrase what you need to say by carefully picking the words and actually saying the truth… Just put some thought into it if you have enough time. Pick an excuse that best fits your situation from the list, or come up with one that describes what you really want to say.
5. Make a long story short.
How much do you want to share with this person? If you use a general excuse too often, your family or friends are likely to give up on asking you to do things, so consider making a long story short.
Maybe you don’t want to tell them that you are practically destitute, but you could say, “I wish I could, but I’m currently broke, so please be patient until I get my life in order, and we’ll hang out later.”
Open up, but close the doors to further discussions by saying that you don’t want to talk about it. Turn a long story about how you got into gambling and now are in debt into a story about how you’re currently broke.
Why are you broke? “Bad luck.” You don’t have to share things that you don’t want to, just keep your excuse close to what it really is so that you can remember it, back it up, and stick to it if needed.
6. Rephrase what you need to say.
Think about your long story and how you can keep it short. Then think about how to rephrase it. Maybe you don’t want them to know that you’ll be spending the night with your ex, but you could tell them that your love life is still too much of a mess and you need to deal with that.
When they ask about the details, tell them that letting go is a process and that you need to be alone for a while. Even though you’ll be with your ex. Keep that last part to yourself, just don’t go too far away from the “honest zone,” even if it means sticking to something general instead.
7. Make it clear and end the discussion.
There are some things that people are just not going to talk about anymore when you bring them up. If you said, “I had a one-night stand, and I’m at the hospital waiting to see if I have an STD,” it would likely elicit very few follow-up questions.
Make it clear by being bold or by using a generic excuse from the list. Consider even just saying, “I’m sorry, I just really don’t want to do it right now. I’m overwhelmed with my own things; give me some time please.”
If you don’t want to be asked about it, end the discussion by making it clear that you don’t want to talk about it further. People can take a hint.
Just avoid being too honest in your professional life and with people other than your loved ones.
8. Simply be honest about it.
“I had a long day, and I really don’t feel like going anywhere,” is a good enough excuse already. Consider simply being honest about why you can’t hang out with them, and it might be enough to do the trick.
Hey, don’t forget that you just need to stay in the zone. You don’t have to be entirely honest about it. But if the person asking is your loved one, keep in mind that you most definitely can if you want to.
9. Consider a fake excuse.
On the other hand, you could simply choose a fake excuse from the list, and it will be effective as long as you stick to your story. However, it’s much better to come up with your own excuse based on the examples listed above. If you tailor it, you can be at least a bit honest about it, and that will help your loved one understand you better. As a result, they will continue to ask you to do things.
In other areas of your life, such as your job, using generic excuses is usually good enough as long as there’s truth to it and you don’t overdo it.
10. Make sure to express the wish to reschedule.
Whether you choose to be honest about it or not, if you do want to be asked again, make sure to reschedule. As soon as you use the excuse, emphasize that you do want to do something another time, it is just this specific date that doesn’t work for you. This will ensure that your friends and family ask you again.
How To Be Honest While Using Excuses
1. Pick an excuse that best fits your situation.
Stay honest by picking an excuse from the list that best describes your real reasoning and tailoring it to your situation. Reveal something about the actual reason you don’t want to go instead of just using generic excuses.
2. Consider something general.
On the other hand, if you don’t want all the follow-ups and explaining, consider something general, like being sick. It’s okay to use these excuses as long as you don’t overdo it or downright lie about it entirely. Feeling blue is kind of like being sick, so don’t forget that you can just be in the “honest zone” when not wishing to share too much about what you’re going through.
3. Consider how honest and specific you want to be.
How honest and specific do you want to be? Is the person going to accept your response if you’re entirely honest with them? What if you rephrase it? While you can be as honest as you want to be, it’s not a guarantee that an honest excuse will be accepted as a good one.
So, consider what the person would accept as a valid excuse. Then you can phrase your excuse accordingly.
4. Reschedule only if you want to.
As already mentioned, if you don’t want them to give up on asking you to do things, make sure to point out that you want to reschedule. On the flip side, if you don’t want them asking you to do things, just use the generic excuse. This can even be considered being honest when it’s a repeated and obvious hint that you don’t want to hang out with that person anymore.
5. Stay honest while not getting into it.
You can be honest about the real reason you can’t make it, just make it a short story instead of a long one as we mentioned in one of the earlier steps. However, consider opening up to the person entirely if they are someone you trust and care for. It is not recommended to use fake or generic excuses with people close to you that should know the truth.
As for acquaintances and coworkers, generic excuses pretty much cover everything you would really need to say. Just be sure that you’re not making it up entirely in case you need to validate your story, and make sure that you can stick to it.
As already mentioned, “I’m going through something personal that I need to tend to immediately,” should be enough for most people. Just don’t overdo it.