Making Excuses

PERSONALLY, I would never tell a fib to get out of something I didn't want to go to .........

My friend, let's just call her X, has been invited to a party at a neighbour's house to celebrate their silver wedding. She doesn't want to go because she knows it'll be all polite sherry-drinking, making conversation with polite people, and eating polite little squares of rich fruit cake with icing and silver balls. She doesn't really do polite. She's more of a get-pissed-and-show-'em-your-new-knickers kind of a girl. Despite that, she's also a very sweet person who doesn't want to hurt anyone's feelings.

So the invitation sits on her mantelpiece in all its silver embossed glory and she says she gets depressed every time she looks at it because she feels she has to accept.

The rest of us more cynical bunch sitting around my kitchen table chorused: "Then don't accept!"

X says she has to because they're nice people and she has no good reason to refuse.

For goodness sake, what's the matter with the woman? Doesn't she have a list of cast-iron excuses mentally filed away? When I was a reporter, it was easy. I'd look crest-fallen and say sadly, "Oh no, I'm working late that night."

Now I no longer spend my evenings reviewing some God-awful pantomime performed by three old ladies, a luvvie who was once an extra in EastEnders and a tap-dancing child you want to slap, my excuses have become more creative.

I hesitate to reveal any here, just in case I might need one of them tomorrow. I will, however, drop my friends in it and tell you about their excuses.

Friend A said she once told someone she didn't know very well that her cat was pregnant and she didn't want to leave her at home alone in case she went into labour. She was proud of that one, not least because she doesn't have a cat, but she remembered just in time that the woman inviting her was a cat fanatic.

Friend B uses her elderly mother as an excuse. If the invitation is for the day, then she says she has to take her to a hospital appointment, if it's for the evening, then she's ill at home and has to look after her. I hope no one knows that B's dear old 'frail' mum runs a bed and breakfast and recently single-handedly cleared half an acre of brambles and weeds to create a garden.

Friend C says she bites her lip, looks sad and says she has "personal problems" so won't be able to attend. People back away from her as tears fill her eyes.

Perhaps it would be better if we could all be totally honest. X should tell her neighbours, sorry I can't come because I know I'll be bored witless, will drink too much cheap sherry and will disgrace myself with your brother's toupee and a loo brush.

A should have told the woman that she couldn't contemplate spending an evening in a house that smelt of cats' pee and Whiskas that had been left out in the sun too long.

B should tell everyone that she's just a miserable cow and can't be arsed to get out of her jeans and into a party frock for anyone less than George Clooney.

C should come clean and admit that her "personal problem" is that she's addicted to the soaps on TV and has to stay in to watch Elsie Tanner seduce Albert Tatlock with Ken Barlow's hairdryer.

Anyway, it's time I went. Of course, I'd never use any kind of dishonest excuse to anyone who reads this blog but I really must go now, I have to worm the dog.

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  1. Good one, table. I have to say, I've been known to be quite creative when it come to excuses - husbands and animals are very handy, I agree. But I wouldn't reveal anything here...

  2. I have told 'white lies' in the past to get out of invitations. I don't like doing it but sometimes it's preferable to the alternative - accepting!

  3. The late Peter Cook used to say "I can't because I'm watching TV". I simply say "I don't want to".

  4. I'm sorry, I won't be able to leave a comment because my husband has just found a stolen handbag and we have to go and return it.

  5. I find myself quite often waiting for a man who will do something unspecified with my flat. Otherwise, a child could suddenly catch a highly infectious vomiting bug.

  6. good one we use if HAVE to attend, 'we have a cow calving so must get back / can't stay long'. thanks for finding me!!

  7. AMKT - lovely one.
    I don't often have to bother - I don't get out much so go anywhere for a sherry - cheap or not. So accept invites. But if desperation really strikes I have last minute 'dire rear' to fall back on.

  8. Changeover day (midweek) 52 weeks of the year !!

  9. I think that I have now viciously weeded out any acquaintances from whom I don't want an invite, so I only get them from good friends these days who I hate giving excuses to when I really can't make something. But animals are great excuses for having to get away early. Farms don't run themselves you know. Must go - ducks need putting away before the local fox gets 'em.

  10. I find that I use the 'reporter excuse' at work more than for boring social invites. If I am invited to the latest WI wine and cheese evening I say "I am so so sorry, I would love to come, but we are on deadline that night..." They obviously have not worked out that we are a weekly and not a daily. So far that is...

  11. I think I'm a bit like your friend!

    I went to a posh party once (didn't want to go either) and ended up falling flat on my face in their garden and splitting my trousers. Not a prety sight!

  12. I'm defragging my hard-drive that evening, sorry.

  13. "I'm sorry, I'd rather put my head in a bucket of luke-warm manure," usually works for me.

  14. If my kids are in ear shot, I don't give an excuse. I just decline. If they're not, I choose one of them and make them very sick. I wouldn't cancel on a get-pissed-and-show-your-new-nickers kind of girl though!

  15. I tell you what love. My dissertation, aside from being a thoroughly informative piece of work, is also turning out to be a cracking excuse not to do anything from washing up to going to parties to staying in and watching big brother under the premise that I'm working hard upstairs. What ever will I do when it's handed in. Job hunting, perhaps?

  16. I have had family members die numerous times to get out of onerous tasks. They love it.

  17. My new one is "Id rather Taser myself"....Im visiting all the TopBlogMag Blogs, which is how I found yours. Love your writing style!

  18. Flowerpot: Best to keep one's best excuses under one's belt for a rainy day .... if you see what I mean!

    Akelamalu: Life's too short for small talk with people you don't particularly like!

    GB: Ah, if only I had the courage to use your approach. I don't suppose anyone would argue with a 30-stone giant in a fur coat.

    Pigs: He, he. So.... how much reward did you get?

    Paddy: I've used children as an excuse before, but INFECTIOUS children is a good one!

    Muddy Boots: That would have been a good one when I lived on a farm - now I live in the middle of a village, not so good!

    The Thinker: I've found the more embarrassing the illness, the quicker people try to get away from you!

    Sally: It's really good to have an in-built excuse. Now I no longer work in the evenings, I have been more creative!

    Mopsa: Yes, it's funny, I don't get as many invitations as I used to .......!

    Little Cheese: I haven't yet shouted down the phone: "Must go, they're holding the front page for me!" but I'm working up to it!

    Miss U: Now you're the kind of party guest I'm used to! I don't really do polite either.

    Sneezy: That reminds me, haven't had a good defrag for ages.

    Rol: And that's one way of never getting invited again. Result!

    Nutmeg: Most parties are a real good excuse to misbehave!

    Lord Milky: They must think Grandpa is a tough cookie - the way he keeps rising from the dead.

    Lavender: Thanks for the comment. Will be round to visit soon - no excuses, although I have filed the taser one away for future reference.

    Jo: Every job has the seeds of its own excuse! Good luck with the dissertation, by the way.

  19. Such are the woes of commitments & obligations.
    Yes, I remember Peter Cook, GB

  20. i have to say that i am a terrible liar, my friends are all onto me, and they know that i almost never go to parties because, frankly, i hate parties.

    i can chat up anyone, except at a party, where a black cloud follows me around and i kill any conversation i try to glom onto.

    i can't do forced gaiety or mandatory chatter.

    but i'm loving all the comments here--if only i'd read this posting 10 years ago. (if only blogs had been invented 10 years ago.)

    my friends would still be inviting me to their parties, but they'd also be amazed at how many stolen handbags i've found, tv i must watch, how many of my cows (?) are suddenly calving out of season, and how many shirttail relatives have suddenly dropped dead.

  21. I'm not very original. I just always blame my husband!

  22. Suzan: I think most people forgave the brilliant Peter Cook everything.

    Laurie: V. funny! Must admit I find small talk a real trial too!

    Mama Zen: That's what husbands are for - that and mending cars!

  23. One of my friends used an excuse that he was wearing suede shoes and it was raining outside... You can have that one if you like, as a reserve excuse. Found you via belle's blog, very much enjoying

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  25. I've got out of almost every invitation by saying social gatherings terrify me so much that I get migraines. Which is partly true. Family gatherings I can handle quite well because they know me and if I need a quiet corner for a while I'll get one.