12 new excuses New Yorkers can use when canceling plans

One silver lining to this year? Many more ways to get out of doing something

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver
Editor, Time Out New York
NYC skyline central park manhattan
Photograph: Shutterstock

Sometimes, there's nothing better than canceled plans.

Don't get us wrong, as New Yorkers, we love going out in our city and grabbing some brunch, hitting up our favorite stores and grabbing drinks at amazing bars, but there's nothing quite like the sweet relief that comes from occasionally unloading our over-packed schedule with an excuse.

Whereas the old "I'm feeling sick" lie used to be a standby, it has a new and heavy meaning. Our lives certainly aren't the same, but as the city reopens, we're finding our days filling up with things to do again. So having a way to get out of something in your back pocket every once in awhile is helpful.

Below are some very useful (and brand-new!) excuses to get out of anything. 

  1. All of the Citi Bikes are taken. Oh well! Looks like you won't be able to cycle across the East River today.
  2. It’s raining so the restaurant will be closed. A lot of eateries, many of which are now outside, are at the mercy of the day's weather. If rain's in the forecast, no one could blame you for canceling, right?
  3. My mask is in the dirty laundry. You should have more than one mask, but in case you're in the middle of say, "washing them," you can't leave the house without it.
  4. I don’t want to take the subway right now. Anecdotally, not everyone wears their mask on the subway, so it's a fair point to say that you're not comfortable taking a ride on the rails.
  5. I’m quarantining. Whether you're staying away from people because you've been traveling for work or you've been feeling sick, saying you're quarantining is an iron-clad excuse these days. No one can make you feel bad about doing it.
  6. I’m only seeing my quar-pod. You have your core crew and you're not hanging out with anyone else. That's respectable.
  7. I'm watching a live stream. There's a live reading of a play or a Zoom show that's only happening once—so that's what you'll be doing.
  8. I'm out of town. It's August and you're restless to get out of the city. Who isn't right now?
  9. I'm trying to save money. This excuse could work any time, but especially right now. Things are tough financially for a lot of people. Not going out for that drink could make a difference.
  10. There won’t be social distancing? I’m out. When you are invited somewhere that doesn't seem to have socially distanced tables or plans in place, it's fair to dip out for your own safety.
  11. I’m taking an antibody test that day. You had to schedule your antibody test today—it was the only time they had available.
  12. Sorry, I have a Zoom call then. That family Zoom call is still happening and you can't get out of it this time. You missed the last one and it's imperative you spend time with granny.

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