How to turn down plans like a pro so you can have a date night with yourself

Because you're the most important person in your life

There’s no denying the thrill of being surrounded by friends at a lively brunch or getting together for after-work drinks with colleagues after a long week. But there’s another thrill that can feel just as good—the thrill of closing your front door, locking it, and having a night all to yourself.

Don’t believe the anxious voice in your head telling you that turning down plans makes you a bad friend, or that if you say no this time, they may not invite you next time. In fact, prioritizing yourself will help you show up as a better, more present friend when you do hang out.

So here’s your guide to turning down plans like a pro so you can have the best night with the person who matters most — yourself.

1. Own your “Me” time with confidence

First things first, embrace the fact that time with yourself is important, and that you don’t need to feel bad about wanting to enjoy your own company. A simple, “I need a night to recharge,” or “I’m having a much-needed date night with myself” can be enough. Be straightforward and confident in your approach. Remember, no one is entitled to an explanation longer than “I can’t make it.” But being honest about prioritizing yourself is powerful.

Example Response:

“Hey [Friend’s Name], I’d love to join you all, but I’ve planned a night in with myself that I really need. Thanks for thinking of me though, and I hope you have a blast!”

2. Don’t over-explain (or apologize!)

Avoid the urge to fall into the trap of providing elaborate excuses or unnecessary apologies. Over-explaining can make your “no” sound more like a “maybe” and might lead to friends trying to convince you to change your mind. A simple, clear, and concise response works wonders.

Example Response:

“Thanks for inviting me, but I’m going to have to pass this time. Hope you have fun!”

3. Suggest an alternative plan

If you’re really feeling guilty about missing out on social time, suggest an alternative plan that you can get excited about doing that doesn’t impact the time alone that you need. It could be a coffee date next week or a movie night later in the month. This way, your friends know you still value the time spent with them, but you’re just not available right now.

Example Response:

“I won’t be able to make it tonight, but I’d love to catch up over coffee next weekend. How about Saturday morning?”

4. Share your excitement for your solo date

Go ahead and let your friends know just how psyched you are for your night in. Talk up your plans with the same enthusiasm you’d have for a hot new restaurant or an epic night out. Normalize spending quality time with yourself and encourage your friends to do the same!

Example Response:

“I’m doing a me night tonight, which means all my favorite things—reading, a long hot shower, and falling asleep rewatching Law and Order SVU. I’ll be there next time, for sure!”

5. Harness the power of text

Texts are an amazing tool for handling social situations gracefully. They let you communicate your message without the pressure of immediate feedback, and you can carefully craft your response without the potential awkwardness of a face-to-face conversation. Plus, you can ask ChatGPT for help.

6. Avoid the FOMO trap

When scrolling through Instagram stories of your friends living it up at the latest pop-up bar, it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out. But their fun doesn’t take anything away from yours. Remember why you wanted a night to yourself and enjoy it without guilt. Embrace the quiet, the snacks, and the pure bliss of not wearing anything from the waist down.

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