My husband, Tim, was hosting a football party this fall and was discouraged when a few of the guys cancelled last minute. He was walking around the house, making loud sighs as he read the texts coming in on his phone. He looked at me and said, “How do you do this? Friend’s cancel on you all the time and now I know, it doesn’t feel good.”
When people cancel last minute, it can communicate a lot more than just unpredictable schedules. It often communicates:
- I’m not a priority to my friends. If they cancel last minute then my time and effort must not be valuable to them. There must be something better than spending time with me.
- I can’t rely on my friends. What may seem as a small decision for some; can be huge for the person hosting. They will stop counting on you to show up. It won’t just be the surface-level things, but the inconsistencies will break trust and emotional connection, too.
Encouragement for the host when friend’s cancel:
I have planned many events where I put a lot of thought and time into making it special for friends and experienced the disappointment of the last-minute cancellations. So, I turned to Tim, smiled and said, “This is one of the burdens of hosting. You plan, you prep, you pray and people still don’t ‘feel up to coming.’ But you do it anyway. You do it for the people that do come. You do it for your own soul that is hungry for connection. And you have the courage to do it again because you believe in giving people second chances.”
God is all for second chances and bearing with one another in our faults:
“Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13 (NLT)
“Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.” Proverbs 17:9 (NLT)
Encouragement for the friend who cancels:
It takes courage to invite others in and it takes courage to follow through. We can do work on both sides. Being an advocate who challenges people to stick to their commitments is an important role. But it’s also important to do our best to make our “yes” be “yes and to communicate when our “no” is a “no.”
Plenty of legitimate things do come up. So, when you need to cancel:
- Apologize and affirm the friendship. Let them know why you have to cancel last minute and make sure they know you care about them and respect all the time they put into planning and hosting.
- Make it right. Find a time you can get together. Be specific and set a date so it isn’t a passive invitation or a “nice sentiment” but a real desire to connect.
Friendship requires grace and communication. Aim for both and those last-minute cancellations will become less of a threat to your friendship and instead, another opportunity to practice loving a friend through their real life stuff.
Want to become a person who brings people together? Check out this article here.