1. Commit loosely.
The scenario looks like this: a friend invites you to something happening this weekend that sounds marginally exciting. In the back of your head, however, you know: the chances of squeezing your ass into a pair of skinny jeans to actually attend this event are slim to none. Make your response as flimsy as possible. “I’ll let you know!” is the Holy Grail of invitation responses when you’re 24.
2. Start prepping the letdown early.
A few days before your scheduled outing, start planting the bailout seeds. “Hey,” you’ll text with sticky soy sauce fingers from your third order of sushi takeout this week, “I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it on Saturday.” You don’t have to formulate an excuse just yet. We’ll get to that later. For now, you can resume Facebook chatting with random friends from college whom you haven’t seen in years.
3. Come up with a good excuse.
You can’t just tell your friends you’re lame. You’ve got to come up with a semi-reasonable excuse for bailing, and “Food Network is airing a 12-hour Chopped marathon”–aka the truth–ain’t gonna cut it. Feigning sickness is a classic excuse that almost never gets questioned. No one wants to catch your plague. An imaginary friend’s breakup or “too much work” are others that you’ll hear over and over. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. You want to sound believable.
4. Wait until the absolute last minute.
Bailing at the very last second allows for little back-and-forth about why, and leaves virtually no time for friends to convince you to come. 10 minutes before the event is set to start? Golden. “Sorry, I think I caught a stomach bug at work this week. Have fun! Maybe next time!” You fucking liar. We both know you’re gonna bail next time, too. Gotta keep up appearances, though.
5. Three hours later, regret bailing.
Deep into your second frozen pizza and third hour of 16 and Pregnant, you’ll start to regret staying in. “Where is my life going? Have I gained more than 10 pounds tonight? I’m glad I didn’t get pregnant at 16, but what if I never have a kid? I’m not going to meet the right person sitting on my couch!” Never fear, the feeling is fleeting. Try to occupy yourself with Candy Crush during commercial breaks. The less you ponder how lame your life is, the better you’ll feel. Stay strong.