How to Cancel Plans: Anxiety Edition

Are you the type of person who avoids social gatherings and cancels plans at the last minute, even if you really wanted to go in the first place? Do you often feel guilty or ashamed for doing so? You are not alone. Many people experience anxiety when it comes to socializing, making plans, and attending events. In this article, we will explore practical strategies that you can use to alleviate anxiety and make healthier decisions when it comes to canceling plans.

1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

The first step in making healthier decisions regarding social engagements is acknowledging your feelings. When you experience anxiety or other negative emotions, it’s important to recognize them and address them. Consider why you are feeling anxious or nervous about attending an event or social gathering.

Tips for Acknowledging Your Feelings

  • Take a few deep breaths and try to identify what is causing your anxiety.
  • Talk to a friend or loved one about your feelings – they may be able to provide insight or support.
  • Write down your emotions in a journal or notebook. This can help you identify patterns in your feelings and behaviors.

2. Analyze the Situation

Once you have acknowledged your feelings, it’s important to analyze the situation. Consider the event or social engagement that you are considering canceling. Are there specific reasons why you don’t want to attend? Are there any factors that are causing you additional stress or anxiety?

Tips for Analyzing the Situation

  • Make a list of the pros and cons of attending the event.
  • Consider whether or not you are canceling because of anxiety or for other reasons (such as conflicting schedules or conflicting priorities).
  • Think about what you would gain from attending the event, as well as what you would lose by canceling.

3. Communicate Effectively

Once you have analyzed the situation, it’s important to communicate effectively with the people involved. Be honest and open about your feelings, but also try to be considerate and understanding of others’ perspectives. Remember that canceling plans can be disappointing for others, so it’s important to communicate your decision clearly and respectfully.

Tips for Communicating Effectively

  • Be honest and straightforward about your decision to cancel.
  • Express your feelings in a clear and concise way, using “I” statements to avoid blaming others.
  • Offer an apology if necessary, but don’t let guilt or shame drive your decision to cancel.

4. Prioritize Self-Care

Regardless of whether you decide to attend the event or cancel your plans, it’s important to prioritize self-care. Take care of your physical and emotional well-being by engaging in activities that are nurturing and relaxing.

Tips for Prioritizing Self-Care

  • Practice mindfulness meditation, yoga, or other types of relaxation techniques.
  • Take a warm bath or shower to ease tension and promote relaxation.
  • Do something that you enjoy, such as reading a book, watching a movie, or going for a walk.

5. Seek Professional Support

If you find that anxiety or other mental health issues are impacting your ability to socialize and make plans, it may be helpful to seek professional support. A mental health professional can work with you to identify triggers for your anxiety and develop strategies for managing your symptoms.

Tips for Seeking Professional Support

  • Talk to your primary care physician or a mental health professional to discuss your concerns.
  • Consider attending therapy or counseling sessions to work on anxiety management strategies.
  • Join a support group or online community to connect with others experiencing similar issues.


Canceling plans can be stressful and can have negative consequences for our relationships and social lives. However, by acknowledging our feelings, analyzing the situation, communicating effectively, prioritizing self-care, and seeking professional support when necessary, we can develop healthier strategies for managing our anxiety and making decisions about social engagements.

Common Questions and Answers

  • Q: What if I feel guilty for canceling plans?
  • A: It’s natural to feel guilty or ashamed when canceling plans, but it’s important to prioritize your mental health and well-being. Communicate openly and honestly with the people involved, and focus on self-care activities that promote relaxation and well-being.
  • Q: What if my anxiety is preventing me from making plans in the first place?
  • A: If you are experiencing anxiety or other mental health issues that are interfering with your social life, it may be helpful to seek professional support. A mental health professional can work with you to identify triggers for your anxiety and develop strategies for managing your symptoms.
  • Q: How can I learn to manage my anxiety better?
  • A: Managing anxiety can be challenging, but there are many strategies that you can use to alleviate symptoms. Consider practicing relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation or yoga, connecting with others in support groups or online communities, and pursuing activities that you enjoy.


  • National Institute of Mental Health. (2021). Anxiety Disorders.
  • Smith, M., Segal, J., & Segal, R. (2021). Anxiety Disorders and Anxiety Attacks.

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