Too tired to meet up? You're not alone, survey shows common British excuses for skipping social plans

Social events such as dinners with friends, work functions and family gatherings are most likely to be declined.
-Credit: (Image: Getty Images)

A poll of 2,000 adults has revealed that the top 20 excuses for avoiding social events include feigning illness, citing family commitments and claiming to be too tired. The survey highlighted the lengths people go to in order to dodge obligations, with excuses ranging from pretending to be sick, having to work late, or simply not having enough time.

Some respondents blamed transport issues, adverse weather conditions or a sick child as reasons for their non-attendance. Although one in ten preferred taking a taxi to post-work events, with a mere 4% choosing the tube.

Interestingly, while 59% of those polled said they were often too exhausted to meet friends after work, 66% believed maintaining a good work-life balance was crucial. TV life coach Anna Williamson, collaborating with FREENOW UK, urged: "I urge people to get out of work on time and seize those precious hours in the evening to do something that makes them feel good."

"There will always be barriers and easy-to-make excuses but the more we overcome these, the better. Personally, my anxiety and panic on public transport can stop me from venturing into London to catch up with friends."

"I overcome this by always having my cab pre-booked in advance which gives me peace of mind and a convenient way to travel."

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The research also discovered that social events such as parties or dinners with friends (47%), work functions (36%) and family gatherings (26%) are the most likely to be declined. Despite many people using excuses to dodge social situations, 41% would be upset if they were on the receiving end.

Interestingly, 29% confessed that while they dread social events in the run-up, they usually end up having a good time once they're there and 14% say cancelling plans can lead to feelings of loneliness or isolation.

The study also revealed that 30% of people socialise with friends at least once a week and 65% do so at least once a month, while only 22% see their friends less than once a month. More than a quarter (28%) attribute this to spending most of their time at work, with 37% working late several days a week or more.

Of the 12% who believe they have a poor work-life balance, 38% think their sleep quality would improve if they improved it. Meanwhile, 34% of those who participated in the study said the same about their stress levels.

Nour Rasamny, head of operations at FREENOW UK, commented: "You can sometimes get into a rut of saying no to things. However, socialising and maintaining connections are essential for mental health and overall well-being."

"Our research highlights the importance of getting out and about in the city and making time for friends despite busy schedules, and we facilitate this by allowing users to pre-book a cab so they don't need to worry about how they get where they need to be on time."


  1. Feeling unwell.

  2. A family commitment.

  3. Tiredness.

  4. A prior engagement they can't miss.

  5. Trying to save money.

  6. An early start the following date.

  7. Just don't feel like attending.

  8. Too much work to do.

  9. A lack of time.

  10. Needing to work late.

  11. An important appointment or errand.

  12. Recovering from a recent illness.

  13. Poor weather conditions.

  14. Visitors or guests at home.

  15. Double-booking themselves.

  16. Transport issues.

  17. They forgot about the event.

  18. Lack of convenient transport options/routes.

  19. A drained social battery.

  20. An ill child.