Here’s a heroine I haven’t talked about yet: Marcia Brady.
It’s Season 4, Episode 18 of The Brady Bunch and Marcia has said yes to dates with Doug AND Charlie for the same night! What should she do! Fortunately, her brother Greg has the answer:
“Something suddenly came up.”
You don’t owe excuses.
My high school Latin teacher taught us this life lesson: Excuses are boring. We want to rationalize our choices, our lateness, our apologies, but most of the time it isn’t necessary. No one needs the whole detailed (usually boring) story. If you’re late, thank them for waiting. If you can’t do a certain time, take Nicole V. Cramer’s advice and say “that time is impossible”. Offer one or two alternatives. Don’t go listing out your entire calendar. One or two will do.
Sometimes it feels good to unload the craziness that just happened to you.
The train was delayed, then canceled, then they jammed everyone into one carriage with no air conditioning and you missed your connection and someone was rude. Aaaarrrghhhh. But does it contribute to the conversation? Most likely it will set a negative tone and bring everyone down. No. Fun.
Okay so sometimes you have a fun story! “So I can’t make that date because guess what? I was asked to be a guest on my favourite podcast!” or “I’m late because I ran into that adorable puppy I dog-sit, remember him? Isn’t that sweet?” These (true) stories are stories, not excuses, and hold up on their own. They are anecdotes.
You – and your time – deserve respect.
People should respect your privacy. People should respect your time, and the fact that you too are a busy and important lady. People don’t care about your excuses*.
You will come off as more professional, mysterious, and confident.
* Unless perhaps you use a raccoon-related excuse that is a reference to Friends. I would find that amusing.