This week's question asks about a calendar conflict caused by two events booked on the same night. The first, a night out with friends; the second, a birthday dinner for a family member. What to do and which to cancel?
A listener shared that she made plans, far in advance, for dinner with friends. As the date approached, another dinner reservation for her mother's birthday was made by a family member on the same night. Without giving it a second thought, she informed one of the friends that she needed to cancel in order to honor her mom. Our listener's concern is that friends will think she ditched them because something better came along and wants to know if it was okay to cancel the original commitment.
Typically, you should try to honor commitments you've made but there can be exceptions, like in this case. Life happens and plans need to be changed sometimes, especially for a significant event such as a family member's birthday. When canceling a prior engagement, be sure to notify the person face-to-face or over the phone rather than through e-mail or social media. This way, the honesty and sincerity will be heard in the tone of your voice. Also remember to express your desire to get together again soon.
Listen to this Awesome Etiquette podcast for additional advice and to hear us explore the topic in more detail.