What To Tell Your Friends When You Really Don't Want To Videochat

If I don't have to partake in another virtual pub quiz, it'll already be too many...

With the bank holiday coming up...you're going to need an excuse or two

The weekend before I began to stay-at-home, back when the idea of a Coronavirus lockdown seemed like a two-week novelty, I bailed on a night out with friends. I just wanted to stay home. There would be more nights out, I told myself while I sat on my couch eating my way through a mega-deal from Dominos. More than a month later, my body is still in that exact same spot, and if I'm ever able to get off of my couch, I promise to never miss another pub night again. 

But until we’re able to safely gather, I will happily continue to flake on video chat plans. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I didn't enjoy all the virtual happy hours, dance classes, art competitions and family quizzes I've attended in the past few weeks. I'm just tired. I've nothing left to talk about. I miss my friends and family and while a virtual call is better than nothing, it's just not enough. I miss clinking glasses, I miss holding back my friend's hair because she drank too much, I miss hugging my mam.

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With no excuse to not make it, let alone, hang up – there’s no easy way to say no to plans anymoreThink about it: you can’t say you have to run, because they know you’ve got nowhere to go. You can’t pretend a relative has popped round, because…yeah, social distancing. And you can’t say you have to nip to the shops, because it will open up a lengthy debate about whether or not it’s ethical to visit your local supermarket right now.

But being the introvert I am, I have unearthed solutions to this problem - excuses if you will. So as a necessary public service, I've come up with a list of tried-and-tested ways to get out of virtual plans. 

You’re welcome.

you're baking banana bread

Pretend you're baking a loaf of banana bread, wait a few minutes into the call and suddenly - you smell something burning. It's your banana bread and you must save it. They'll understand. 

blame the internet

Simply pause for an extended period of time, stay extremely still, don't speak then exit abruptly and text in the group chat: “I have a bad connection! Sorry!”

Top tip: rolling your eyes will really help with the whole 'making it look like your connection has frozen' vibe. 

you have another happy hour to join

So, you want to video chat? Please send me a google calendar invite. You're a very popular person and have too many calls going on, often at the same time. For some reason your office zoom meeting, virtual date and your Granny's weekly check-in like to take place at the same time. No wonder the internet is bad...

Answer the call with a face mask

Start your FaceTime while wearing a face mask so that, 10 minutes later, you have an excuse to leave and go wash it off. Then, just don't call back or return to the call. 

you're walking your dog

If you think it’s hard for us people to be stuck inside all day, think of our pets. Some dogs’ bowel movements fully depend on their daily walks — it’s mandatory! And if you don’t have a dog…well, your cat or turtle or hamster could also benefit from a little bit of sunshine. 

tell them you're hungry/tired/desperate for the loo

You’re a human being with needs, so use one of those needs as an excuse to get off this never-ending phone call. Otherwise, what’s the point of being human, anyway?

it's sunny outside

We live in Ireland where it's wet, grey and dreary for at least 95 per cent of the year. This is that rare time where the sun decides to shine it's beautiful, warm rays onto our tiny isle. With your summer holidays well and truly off the cards, this is the only chance you'll get all year to soak up some vitamin D. Get dressed, put on SPF and go outside and enjoy the nice weather while we have it. Just because your friend/family wants to hide away doesn't mean you have to. 

the missing piece

Drop something under your 'desk', stay down there for a few seconds before yelling, “OH MY GOD I FOUND IT!” When they inevitably ask you what you found, yell, “I found the last piece of my jigsaw! Gotta go finish it! Bye.”

BLAME IT ON the JUICE

If you're not already living your life how Lizzo wants you to, then you need more help than simply getting out of a Zoom call. But being the queen she is, her advice works for awkward video chats you don't want to be a part of: blame it on your juice. All you need do is shut your device down and voila! You’re out. You’re free! Just be sure to send a WhatsApp afterwards apologising and blaming your pesky technology for ruining what was otherwise a wonderful phone call. Or if you don't even want to partake in the call, say your device is already dead. Maybe you overworked it when you wrote that 20-page assignment yesterday, or maybe it was from that 10-hour gaming session with your friends. Point is, your laptop’s been worked hard and needs some well-deserved recovery time (just like you do).

you're watching tiger king

Sorry but a documentary about methamphetamine, mullets, a woman who allegedly fed her husband to the tigers, a three-way marriage and a man who looks like a Chuckie doll riding a jet ski, always comes first. 

you just can't right now

If you don’t feel like coming up with a reason why you can’t call, this is a completely fair statement — one could argue that you don’t owe anyone any excuse. 

BLAME SOMEONE ELSE

A dog or child is a good shout because the person you're calling can’t deny your claims that they’ve had an accident all over the carpet, but a partner or housemate will do, too. Maybe they want to use the laptop. Maybe they’ve unexpectedly ordered pizza. Maybe they’re having a moment of existential dread and need you, only you, right now. Whatever you decide, just be sure you inform your accomplice as quickly as possible. You need them on your side, remember.

pretend you're in a horror film

You're going to need some acting skills for this one but it'll work a charm. Spin around and stare at something off-screen. Say something like, "OMG, WHAT IS THA—" and the exit the call. Do not answer any incoming calls. Let their imagination take over. And don’t worry about freaking them out: soon as you feel like talking to them again say you saw a spider and freaked out. It happens. 

your storage is full

Similar to blaming your lousy internet connection or battery life, blame the storage space on your phone. You simply have too many photos and apps already on your phone that you can't download the app to video chat, genius. 

FIONA APPLE RELEASED A NEW ALBUM

It's been eight long, long years since Fiona Apple last released an album. Last month, that all changed. Fiona Apple released a brand new album recording entirely from her Venice Beach abode. It's quintessential quarantine listening. If they don't understand, find new friends.

IF ALL ELSE FAILS, BE HONEST

Sure, elaborate lies and performance art is fun, but nothing beats honesty. The past few weeks may have been overwhelming and stressful. Sometimes, you just really need a break from everything. Explain that you’re not up for a call right now and reschedule. As the kind, loving beings your friends are, they probably relate to how you’re feeling and will surely understand.

Main image by  @marielouduvillier on Instagram

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