As restrictions loosen, thousands of Brits battle with coming up with good enough excuses to cancel plans

For months dodging friends and family has been a breeze. A sweet sweet sanctuary where we traded small talk and personal hygiene for Drag Race and a cleavage full of Oreo crumbs. It has, arguably, been the best time for avoiding relatives in history. However, all the ‘let’s go for drinks after Covid’ that we’ve been dishing out so willingly are coming back to haunt us.  

Sheer blind panic is setting in across the UK this week as the reality of having to socialise again hits home. The friends we all ‘missed so much’ are crawling out the woodwork wearing a Boohoo bodycon with a handbag the size of a Müller Corner, clutching an Aperol Spritz. The all too familiar half-pissed ramblings of strangers with bad breath and a God complex flash before our eyes, whilst slurred demands to ‘smile, love’ from red nosed, pop bellied rotters ring in our ears in a less than fond memory. People. Flesh that talks at you with pretty painted winged eyeliner and lots of opinions. How, baby Jesus, how can we wangled our way out of it?

The landscape of excuse making has seen a huge shift in recent times. With only video calls to contend with, we’ve had an easy ride of technical difficulties and double bookings. A simple, guilt free message of ‘bloody wifi is playing up again – don’t think I can join’ was just the ticket for minimal social interaction and holy peace and quiet. Why tune into a Medieval themed Zoom quiz with nineteen rounds whilst you pretend you’re not on your second bottle of Cab Sav, or try to stay awake on FaceTime to a friend as they analyse every message they’ve received from a media executive they met on Tinder?

But now the stakes are higher. Christenings for babies called Fox and Namaste that you couldn’t pick out in a line up, dinner with an old friend who used to be fun but her new found obsession with Bitcoin and her fiance’s five aside football team makes you want to slip into the comfort of a coma, work team building lunches where you’ll certainly be seated next to Shaun with the jittery eye contact and sporadic inappropriate comments followed by violent blushing in what can only be assumed is some kind of irritating instant guilt. Faced with a brunch date 18 months ago, the vast majority of us would’ve been able to whip up an excuse quicker than you can say ‘smashed avo’, but things are different now. Our imagination has been laying dormant and it’s really starting to show. 

So, as many of us begin to venture into the world of plans and appointments, spare a thought for those who aren’t gifted liars. If you message the group chat with details of your promotion drinks, go easy on those friends who say they are busy ‘getting their bus drivers license’ or ‘taking care of their sisters sourdough starter for the weekend’. Good excuses are few and far between these days, so look after yourselves and look after each other. 

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