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Respectfully Yours: Cancelled dinner plans rankles friend

Dear Jacquelyn,

I had plans to have dinner with a friend last Saturday night. The person called and said to change the reservation for a later time. Not too long after, there was another call to cancel the dinner. What happened to keeping commitments and not letting people down?

Dear Reader,

There is something to be said about the importance of keeping your word.

When social commitments are made and not followed through, feelings can get hurt. Unfortunately, there will always be people who, for some reason or another, make promises and then change direction.

When there appears to be a pattern of this behavior, you might reconsider how you approach making plans with this friend in the future.

To avoid another cancellation, it’s better to let your friend set the next dinner date.

What matters in the end is how we express ourselves in situations like this. It’s not wise to handle these things in a blaming way that insinuates the person is doing this intentionally.

It’s more constructive to let the person know how important the get-together was to you and that the chronic canceling is taking a toll on your valued friendship.

For example, you could say, “Lately, you’ve cancelled on me at the last minute a few times, and I feel upset because it has caused me a lot of inconvenience.”

Hopefully, this increases the likelihood that your friend will respond compassionately.

Honoring your word is simply doing what you say you’ll do. Acting in an honorable manner is something that helps keep friends.

Respectfully Yours,


Have a question? Email: jacquelyn@ptd.net. Jacquelyn Youst is owner of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, specializing in etiquette training. She is on the board of directors of the National Civility Foundation.

All Rights Reserved &Copy; 2020 Jacquelyn Youst