Excuses for when you don’t want to go to a virtual group project meeting

Classes are starting soon, our schedules are filling up and our daily lives will be no less virtual, with all of the associated challenges. How will we stay focused in lectures? How will we remain active? How will we be able to worm ourselves out of that annoying group project meetup now that our usual go-to excuses have suddenly become useless in a world of Zoom meetings, asynchronicity and sheltering in place?

The best place to start grappling with these questions is by reading this article, which you’re already doing, so congratulations. Here are some sure-fire excuses that you can use to get out of virtual meetings.

“I can’t, I have to study then.”

Difficulty: Beginner

A classic — works just as well in the new normal as it did in the old normal. Open-ended and unfalsifiable — a perfect formula for getting people to believe whatever you say.

“I’m going grocery shopping this Thursday. I’ll need the entire week to mentally prepare myself for the experience.”

Difficulty: Intermediate

Don’t we all? The beauty of this excuse is that you are guaranteed to punt your unwanted meeting seven or more days into the future.

“Meet you guys on [insert platform here]?!? Not on [insert platform here]! Using proprietary software of any kind would go against my religion.”

Difficulty: Advanced

Make sure you know a thing or two about open-source software. Try telling the other person(s) that you are a passionate Linux user. That’ll take care of your having-too-much-social-interaction problem. I can speak from experience.

“My computer and me, we have a special kind of connection. I know it, and it knows me. And I know that the old fella won’t make it ’til then.”

Difficulty: Boomer

Add a layer of credibility and reverence to your excuse with some wistful personification.

Just don’t reply to the invite email/text/message

Difficulty: Master

Meeting? What meeting? You never knew about any meeting, you tell them. It’s not like they can prove that their email/text/etc. didn’t go to your spam folder (wink, wink).