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Canceling Social Obligations at the Last Minute-The New Normal?

The Wall Street Journal May 30th 2022 5:30 AM EDT by Alina Dizik |Health & Wellness|”Canceling Plans at the Last Minute Is New Normal” “You don’t know if the plans are really on until you get there”

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Excuse us if we have been a bit put-off by family and friends canceling plans at the last minute, ghosting us about their intentions or worse just inexplicably not showing up. Little did we know that in the post-COVID era not knowing “if the plans are really on until you get there” has become the new normal.

Certainly, coming up positive for COVID just before an event seems a bone fide excuse. In fact, so much so that some now keep such a declaration as a handy excuse when better offers pop-up in-the-interim or when one has a change-in-heart about attending something previously committed to. For sure, we are more likely now than before COVID to beg-off if we have the “sniffles.”

Such a trend now, canceling at the last minute, means that we have become “more accustomed to plans falling through at the last minute…[and]...we’re also more comfortable moving ahead with plans when others back out.” Orlando based therapist with Talkspace Reshawna Chapple says “the last-minute [cancellation] no longer frowned upon…[and]...we almost have to think about it as a new normal.” Due to COVID we “feel less guilty about bailing last-minute, '' says Mahzad Hojjat, (UMASS), who “studies social connections and friendships...”

Reportedly, restaurant cancellations haven’t changed much from the period before and after COVID but some “restaurant owners say they are tracking an increase in last-minute cancellations recently.” Canceling for a wedding though still “can be an especially sore point.” It is noted that by Dr. Chapple that “most people tend to accept plans that are made far into the future and not realize until close to the date that they should have declined.” She suggests, to avoid such a conundrum, that we learn to classify plans as soft or hard early on and commit accordingly.


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