What are some good excuses to get out of doing something?

Good Excuses to Call Out of Work

People need a break every now and then. Between the sick time, vacation time/paid time off, and holidays, no matter what we are given as employees, calling out of work or missing work comes with feelings of guilt or worry about being fired (at least this is true for employees working in the United States).

According to an article on Axios.com, 11% of U.S. employees work 50 or more hours a week and people spend more than 40% of their day on their job. It's no wonder people need a break. So, if you're looking to take a same-day break or vacation, call out sick, and need to make a case for yourself, here are 35 good reasons to miss work.

You don't have to be sick to miss work.

Zohre Nemati via Unsplash


Excuse 1 8


“The babysitter just called and told me she couldn’t make it today” That’s all you need to say to them. They can’t ask to leave them alone at home nor do they want their party blessed by the presence of these little party wreckers.

Best Excuses to Miss Work for 2022 (Excuses for Missing Work)

Do you want to get out of work last minute? Or call in sick? Here are the best excuses to use and how you might be able to tell them to your employer. And with the COVID-19 pandemic presenting new opportunities for excuses. It’s advised not to use the pandemic as an opportunity for a work excuse.

Not feeling well

Not feeling well

Say something like, “I woke up this morning and didn’t feel well. I’m not sure what’s wrong. But I was hoping I could take a day off today.” Be sure that you inform everyone on your team that you’re taking the day off. And move all of your appointments. If you’re not feeling well, it’s best not to go to work. Take a sick day!

If you aren't sure how to describe why you aren't

If you aren’t sure how to describe why you aren’t feeling well, use one of the following:

  • Nauseous.
  • Back pain.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Cramping.
  • Might have a fever.
  • You are sluggish.
  • About to vomit.
  • Can’t stand up.
  • Have body aches.
  • Neck or back pain.
  • You are “cloudy” or not in the right mindset to work.
  • For 2022: Have symptoms of COVID-19 and need to quarantine.

Family member is in need (family emergency)

Say something like, “My mother needs me today for some family matters. It seems like today would be a good day to take off. If it has to be one of my vacation days, I’m okay with that as well.” Be sure you inform all members of your team, as well.

Need to care for your animal

This doesn’t just have to be an animal. It could be that you have a lot of personal appointments. Like a dentist’s appointment or a veterinarian appointment. Bring up that you have a few of these on this day, and it’s better that you take the day off. Say something like, “I have a dentist and veterinarian appointment that I forgot about. They happened to both be on the same day. Is it okay if I use this as a vacation day?”

Mental health day

Mental health day

This isn’t a bad excuse. Most employers and team members will understand. But when you inform everyone about a mental health day, be sure you only express this to your manager or boss vs. your colleagues. Colleagues might not need to know this information. Say, “I’m not feeling myself today. Is it okay if I take a vacation day today?”

work Excuse #3

We are dragging your kids into it again, I know! But seriously, children are always getting sick, so using this as an excuse works well.

This should go without saying, but DO NOT use any kid-related reasons if you don't have any children. 


  • "My child was sent home sick from school."

  • "My child has been under the weather the last few days, and I was hoping to stay home with them." 

Excuse  22  


Since it’s not one of the frequently used excuses, people are most likely to fall for it. So make a call and tell them how your place is flooded with water and you need to fix it as soon as possible. Apologize for not making it up to them, but you can’t do anything about it? (Or maybe you can!

What to Do After Getting Approval of Taking a Day Off

If you get approval from your manager or boss about taking a day off, don’t forget to inform your team. This can be a way to ensure that you get future days off. And if your day off happens to disrupt the rest of the workplace’s productivity. Then your employer might be less willing to give you time off in the future.

The way to handle this is by informing each of your colleagues that you will be taking the day off. Moving any scheduled meetings that you are leading. Or informing those meetings that you will not be in attendance but will have someone fill in for you instead.

If you are not feeling well, be sure to inform those who were in attendance at the meeting of that reason. All you have to say is, “I’m moving this meeting because I’m feeling under the weather. And don’t feel like I’ll be able to create a productive meeting for everyone. Let me know if this alternative time works instead.”


It has happened even to the best of us. We just don’t feel like going somewhere, whether it’s a night out or taking a casual leave of absence from work!

We hope that the above 26 excuses to get out of something will suit you, but if nothing works, how about trying to be honest? “I don’t like you and I think it’s not going to be possible actually… without hard feelings?” or “Dear boss, I am burned out and need a mental health day!”. . Yep, sometimes it’s better to tell it like it is, it’s easier for others to accept and it avoids getting into difficult situations (see all the excuses above).

Do you have a list of excuses to get out of something ready to take out of a secret pocket whenever you may need them? If so, let us know!

How do you politely get out of something?

To politely get out of something, tell the person you are supposed to meet that you need to cancel the plans as soon as possible, be sincere and apologetic, be confident. 

When and how to give the excuse? 

It would help if you tried to tell the reason for getting out of the thing at hand or taking off as soon as possible to your friends or boss. Try to inform at least a night prior so they can plan accordingly. If you are informed in the morning, you can send a direct message on the most used messaging service like WhatsApp, signal, telegram, etc. In the alternative, you can call them directly or leave a voice message. 

Bottom Line:  Well-crafted excuses can help us escape certain situations and workloads. Try to back your excuses with the right answers and inform them at the right time. But use these excuses only if the situation is worth escaping. Making excuses on every occasion can lower your value and reputation. So it would help if you make these excuses occasionally to get the desired result. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can You Get Fired for Calling in Sick?

The short answer is YES, you can be fired for calling in sick. 

In many states, employment is considered "at will," unless a signed contract sets out other conditions.

Employment at will means that you are legally free to quit without explanation at any time, and your employer can also fire you at any time without reason.

One practical result of at-will employment is that your boss is free to fire you for merely being sick unless you have an individual or union contract in place that says otherwise (at least in most cases).

Fortunately, there are some notable exceptions. – thebalancecareers.com 

Do you have to give a reason for calling off work?

So, is it legal for an employer to ask why you are sick?

While there are no laws prohibiting employers from asking employees why they are calling into work, they are free to ask other questions such as when you expect to return.

The employer also has the right to ask you to require a doctors note following a work related illness or injury.

How do you Fake Sick at Work?

While we don’t recommend it, sometimes you need to fake sick in the workplace. Here are some ways to fake sick at work from WikiHow.

  • Fake a Fever

    • Make your face hot and sweaty

    • Cover yourself with many layers of clothes and blankets.

  • Fake Upset Stomach

    • Display a decline in appetite

    • Keep a bowl or bucket by you

    • Spend more time in the bathroom

    • Pretend to throw up

  • Fake a Cold or Flu

    • Breathe only through your mouth

    • Fake sneezing or coughing

Are there excuses to avoid when calling into work?

These are some techniques for calling into work that are considered unprofessional and could even get you fired from your job. Here are a few excuses you don't want to use when asking for a day off:

  • You are hungover.

  • You are tired.

  • You have a haircut appointment.

  • You forgot you had to work that day.

  • You are going camping.

  • You are having a bad hair day.

  • You simply forgot.

  • You don’t feel like it.

What qualifies as a family emergency?

Family emergencies are typically listed as an unexpected event or situation that affects the health and/or safety of direct family members (children, spouse, etc.). Two examples include serious illnesses or car accidents.

Special Excuses for getting out of a get-together or not so important event: 

  1. I have to take an important delivery that day:  You can say that something special is going to be delivered that day. You can elaborate on the urgency of the delivery by saying that you neither have the delivery boy’s number nor you know the timings. Further, you might miss this special delivery if you are not available that day. You have to show that the delivery requires your signature. So you need to stay at home for the delivery.  To show that you wanted to attend that event but could not come due to delivery, you can say that I would come as soon as I get the delivery. Rest you know that you are not going to come back
  2. Workload or important office meeting:  Another great excuse for getting out of an event (not related to business) is that you have many workloads. You can say that your deadline is two days and you need to complete this work. Besides this, you can say that you have an important business meeting you can’t miss on the coming day.  This will help you get some sympathy from your friends, and they won’t stop you from getting out of the thing in advance. 
  3. Flat tire:  You can tell your friends that there is some problem in your car like flat tires, sound problem, not starting, etc. Then, you can falsely say that you would come as soon as the mechanic arrives and the problem is solved.  You can play smart by calling them some minutes before the end of the event and say that the vehicle is okay and confirm if the party’s still going on. A high probability is that the party would have ended, and everything would have left. Give a pat on your back you have successfully got out of something without letting them know. 
  4. A sudden rush of guests:  If you want to get out of any friends’ event, you can say that some unexpected guests have come on your side. But, unfortunately, you can neither leave them alone nor ask them to go away. The result is you won’t be able to come.  You can say that they want to spend their weekend with us and it might be difficult for you to attend the present event. Then, your friends would understand your problem and won’t force you to attend that event. 

Disclaimer On This List Of Funny Excuses

For all of you wishful thinkers, I am sorry. But, unfortunately, I am going to have to burst those bubbles of hope! These excuses will fail 98% of the time, and even that percentage is inaccurate! If you manage to use one of these excuses successfully, please let me know. I will be rewarding you with HubHugs for life!

So, if these excuses do not work, what is the point? The moral of the story is that sometimes, playing UNO may not be the worst thing after all. Just bring a gas mask to stifle the smell of dirty laundry. And you had better win the UNO game!


Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on August 30, 2020:

Hi Lora,

I agree in that people should be honest and also understand they are allowed a level of privacy in their matters. Covid-19 has definitely made that so much more of a reality! People would rather one stay home than risk getting others sick. I agree as well people need evacuation time for natural disasters. I hope people looking at this list can find something that resonates. Usually when we are at that point of need time off whether it's feeling unwell, stressed, tired, exhausted . . . it was from an accumulation of one of the reasons above!!! Good to prioritize self first.

Laynie H (author) from Bend, Oregon on August 30, 2020:

Hi Liz,

Love the story you shared. I agree honesty is always best! When we start to overthink it, that usually tells us there's prob a valid reason for the request! In your case, sounded like a stressful scenario! Glad it worked out.

Lora Hollings on August 29, 2020:

These are all very good reasons to be excused from work. But as you say, don't give too much detail or pretend. Honesty is the best policy. And I think mental health is now more widely accepted as an excuse than it was a decade ago especially with the new reality of covid-19. And maybe there should be a weather emergency as well, in light of Hurricane Laura, not only before it happens but after such a devastating storm as people have to deal with their house flooding or other damage, and its many consequences too. You did an excellent and thorough job of covering this topic that certainly can be of great help to many, Layne. The videos add much as well. Thanks for sharing!

Liz Westwood from UK on August 29, 2020:

I laughed at your tip to make it believable. It reminded me of a dilemma we had a few years back when we needed to take our kids out of school to get a flight the day before the holidays. It wasn't a problem when we booked it, but then the school changed the rules so that days off were not allowed for certain year groups. We debated throwing a sicky, but realised that with an early flight, a phone call to school from the airport saying that two children were ill, risked a flight announcement in the background, a sure give away. So we opted for honesty as the best policy.i was impressed by your detailed list of options for a day off work. It is well thought out and detailed.