It happens to the best of us. We make plans with other living human beings, and we fully intend to be social and "put ourselves out there" and wear uncomfortable shoes, but then... the night arrives, and we realize that we'd really rather just stay home with a book. All night. Alone. If you frequently find yourself sitting in a sweaty bar on a Saturday night, longing for the sweet embrace of your favorite reading chair, then here are a few believable excuses for when you agreed to plans, but you really just want to stay home and read.
Look, you meant it at the time when you agreed to go see your friend's boyfriend's brother's ska band. It's just that you can't put this book down now. Once you're locked into reading mode, you're sticking with that book until you hit the "Acknowledgements" page. Besides, reading about grand adventures in distant lands, or thrilling mysteries in foreign cities, or even compelling biographies about notable historical figures, beats "going out" every time.
So, if you're trying to flake on plans without losing all of your friends, here are a few tried and true excuses that'll let you stay home with your book in peace:
1“I’m really tired”
"I'm so tired," you'll say, fully aware that you're about to stay up all night finishing a book about dragons. "I'm just really tired."
If you can nail a realistic yawn, and perhaps some bloodshot eyes, no one will question your totally convincing exhaustion. But this lie might come back to haunt you when you're still up reading at 5:00 AM, listening to the birds chirp.
2“My friend is going through a rough time right now”
"My friend is just in a really bad place," you'll say in a solemn tone. They don't have to know that your "friend" is a fictional character. I mean, they are going through a rough time right now! You have to be a supportive friend, and see them through the end of the book.
3“I’m not feeling so well”
A sudden illness is perhaps the oldest trick in the excuse handbook. I mean it's not really a lie. You do have a feverish need to finish this chapter right now, so that's... almost like a real sickness? Right? Anyway, you clearly cannot go to your friend's cat's birthday party when you're sick. Better stay home and read until you feel better.
4“I’m vomiting copiously”
Of course, you might have the sort of "kind," "considerate" friends who hear that you're sick and want to bring you chicken soup or some similar liquid. To really double down on the sickness excuse and drive all your friends away, get specific. "I'm vomiting copiously," or "Sorry, I have explosive diarrhea," should do the trick.
5“I went way too hard last night!”
No one needs to know that when you say you "went too hard" last night, you mean that you were up late re-reading Jane Austen. Just let them assume that you have a raging hangover, when really you've been getting wrecked on tea and timeless love stories. And you're totally doing it again tonight.
6“I have work tonight”
This excuse might first require a few months of establishing that you have a wild and unpredictable work schedule. Then you get to act all bummed out and responsible when your boss "suddenly" asks you to work late. Your friends don't have to know that your boss is actually the new Arundhati Roy novel.
7“I have work early tomorrow”
Wouldn't you know it, you have to go into the office early! For a business meeting! Or an important work-type presentation! Or you have a big test in that one class that you totally forgot about. That's why you're "going to bed early." It's not at all about that shiny new short story collection on your nightstand, or your strong preference for books over people.
I mean, to be fair, you are pretty broke. It's just that you're broke from buying so many books. And you need to save your money (to buy more books). So obviously you can't afford to see your cousin's improv show, and you'll just have to stay home in your fortress made out of brand new $30 hardcovers.
9“My wallet/phone/identity was stolen!”
Just make sure that you're not texting someone with the excuse that your phone was stolen... they might see through that one.
10“Oh, was that tonight?”
Really, the best excuse is to cultivate a general air of flakiness over the course of several years. You're just "bad at texting" and "terrible at writing things down in your calendar," even though those things require little to no skill. If you don't mind continually letting down everyone in your life, just say you forgot, and "made other plans" (they just happen to be plans with a fictional character).
11“Ugh, my car is in the shop and/or the G train isn’t running!”
"Drat that form of transportation that I usually rely on! I am now cursed to stay home, all snuggly under the covers, and read my favorite book! What a disastrous twist of fate!"
12“I totally forgot, my mom/brother/nutritionist is in town tonight!”
This one doesn't even have to be a lie! You can state that someone you know is in town, and then proceed to not hang out with them, either, because you'd rather hang out with David Sedaris or Sylvia Plath.
13“There’s a family/roommate/pet emergency”
The "emergency" excuse is not to be deployed lightly. But if it is truly an emergency (i.e., everyone is bothering you about fulfilling your social obligations and distracting you from your book), then you get a one-time-only "there's an emergency!" excuse. Use it wisely.
14Just start crying
Nine times out of 10, bursting into tears will save you from all pre-arranged plans. Of course, one time out of 10 your friends will want you to "talk about it," in which case you have to stare into the middle distance and whisper "I can't," before peacing out of the bar by 7:30 to be home, in bed, with a good book by 8:00.
15“Honestly, I’d rather stay home and read.”
Of course, there's always that most dangerous option: honesty. If your friends are book-lovers too, you might actually be able to get away with the very occasional moment of truth-telling. Use this one sparingly, though, or people will start to catch on to the fact that you'd always rather be reading.