Etiquette expert and runner Lizzie Post knows a thing or two about the rules of the road. The great-great granddaughter of etiquette’s original reigning queen, Emily Post, addresses the commitment issue many of us have when it comes to planning runs with friends.
I have a tendency to not be able to make it to runs I’ve scheduled with a friend. Is it better to always say I’m on the fence in advance or confirm and cancel at the last minute?
I am so glad you asked this question! It’s best to state iffy-ness up front. The more I live, the more I know about myself. There’s a version of me that so badly wants to wake up at 5:30 a.m. and burst out my door with Benny, my faithful, four-legged running buddy, at my side. The reality often is much less cinematic (and involves pillows and blankets and no running shoes). I know I won’t make that early run unless I am accountable to someone else. Balancing what we know about ourselves and the impact we may have on others is at the heart of good etiquette.
Since this is running and not raising a child or showing up for work, I think it’s okay for you to be honest with a new running buddy about the likelihood of your showing up. “I’m so stoked you want to run together, Prithi! I have to admit though, I can be scattered in the morning. Would it be okay if we tentatively set a time and then touch base later to confirm?” Prithi may be down with this, or she may say, “I’ve really got to plan my day, so that doesn’t work for me.” Either way, you’ve been honest about the reality of promises and you don’t waste your friend’s time by committing and canceling.