It’s fall, which means it’s the season for parental soft canceling: “Bad news! My kid woke up with the sniffles. Might be nothing, but it could also be a cold or something worse! Wanted to give you a heads up in case you don’t want to risk it!” 

I’ve received this kind of text message from many of my parent friends on the day we were scheduled to hang out. They know their kid’s situation. Why don’t they just cancel plans in favor of watching their kid–which I totally get!—and reschedule for another date?? Instead, they leave it to me to cancel their plans with me, and then leave it up to me to suggest another date that works with their byzantine parent schedule–again, something they know better than I do. 

I know these messages come from a place of wanting to be considerate–after all, COVID taught us that every household’s comfort level with risk is different, and no one wants to impose. But a message saying, “My kid might be sick and I don’t want to risk getting anyone else sick, can we reschedule to such-and-such date?” seems much more responsible and would be so much more considerate.

Parents (and anyone who wakes up with cold/flu/covid symptoms), please just own up to your cancellation and propose a better date!

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