Three hours before we’re due to meet for dinner, an email pings into my inbox from Karen. She’s crying her head off.
‘So sorry, can’t get away from the office. Can we reschedule?’
I guilt-trip her ever so slightly. ‘Oh, what a shame, I was really looking forward to it.’ But, magnanimously, sign off with: ‘I understand. Another time.’
What she doesn’t see is me galloping around my flat as though I’ve just won the lotto.
Call me unsociable, but the older I get the happier I am when a friend cancels plans. It’s not that I don’t love my friends, it’s just that, increasingly, I prefer staying home with Netflix.
That feeling of not wanting to go out is common in January. It’s dark at 4 pm, no one is drinking and everyone is broke. But even in February, I’m not keen to emerge from my hibernation.
You may have heard of those strange people who suffer what is known as FOMO (fear of missing out).
Well, I have the opposite: JOMO — joy of missing out.
Nothing appeals to me as much as watching TV in my PJs with a cocktail.
Trying to wangle your way out of a social engagement requires strategic mind games. Your mission is to manipulate the other party into cancelling so you don’t look flaky.
When your friend emails to ask if you’re still OK to meet that night, you say you are … if she is … and will she be OK getting home, as you’d heard there were problems on her train line?
She bites — yes, that is a worry. ‘Just say if you’d rather postpone. No biggie,’ you coax.
Sure enough, she suggests you give it a miss. Bingo. She’s the baddie, and you’re the disappointed (but secretly delighted) friend. ‘7de Laan’ and Debonairs pizza here I come!