18 Believable/Forgivable Excuses for Not Attending a Meeting

Have you been invited to a meeting or missed a meeting you didn’t want to attend? Well, there are believable excuses for not attending a meeting, but it’s better when your excuse is legitimate. For example, you may present a photo or video evidence.

excuses for not attending a meeting

Although it’s rude to cancel plans, especially at the last minute, there are inevitably times when you don’t feel good to go out, or you already know the reason for the meeting.


Unfortunately, “I don’t want to attend the meeting” is not an acceptable excuse, whether the people in question are your friends, dates, relatives, co-workers, or people with a pulse. So, if you just want to stay back for no reason, your best option is to lie, but not be blunt with the truth like saying, “I don’t want to”.

Excuses for Not Attending a Meeting

You must be non-specific when making an excuse for a missed meeting or to miss a meeting. Make sure the excuse is short and reasonable. Meanwhile, unreasonable excuses for not attending a meeting include not wanting to attend, forgetting the date, feeling lazy, or not being prepared.


Read Also: Reasons for leaving school early!

Below are good excuses for not attending a meeting:

  1. I have an appointment earlier today; the timing clashes, and I can’t change it.

If you have been invited to a meeting, you don’t find it interesting, explain to the person that a prior commitment will not allow you to make it to the meeting.

If the meeting ended already, say the same thing about a commitment you could not change. However, make use of the past tense. For example, “I had an appointment earlier today. However, the timing clashed, and I couldn’t change it”.

  1. I have a report to complete before the deadline today.

If you have a report to complete, and the deadline is the same as the meeting, it’s a perfect excuse to avoid a meeting.

Explain that you can’t make it to the meeting as you must complete a report with a deadline on the same day. Your facial expression must be severe if you have an in-person explanation. If you’re sending a letter, you can’t help it because the recipient may not read the letter using your tone. You may hold a video pr voice call with the person to give your excuse about a deadline report convincingly.

  1. Oh, I have to sort crisis before it nails me.

Suppose the meeting is a business meeting with colleagues and your manager. Explain to your supervisor that you have a crisis to resolve before it nails you. Just say “Unfortunately I will not be able to attend the meeting due to a crisis”. It can be a family crisis, a crisis with your neighbor, a crisis at school, etc. If you are lying about it, make sure none of the members can verify your claims.

Suppose the meeting involves your friends. Explain to one of them prior to the meeting that you have a work crisis to resolve. Make sure none of them has contact with your close colleagues at the workplace.

  1. I saw someone with my stolen bike. I had to trail him and inform the police.

You can explain to someone that you spent time trailing a thief with your stolen bicycle. Explain that you informed the police but needed to follow the thief to help the police find him. You may conclude that you retrieved your stolen bike and the thief was arrested.

Meanwhile, refer to our comprehensive guide on what you should do when you see someone with your stolen bike.

  1. I attended a meeting that took too long, and they won’t let me go.

This excuse for not attending a meeting is best used when you’ve missed the meeting already. Also, the missed meeting should not be serious, otherwise, the members/colleagues might question whether the appointment you had is more important than the missed meeting.

Just explain that the meeting took longer than expected, and the distance was another problem. The best way to present this excuse is by texting or messaging one of the meeting attendees midway into the meeting. They will inform the others, and they’ll believe, of course. You may then continue with whatever you’re doing if your excuse is a lie.

  1. I wrote the meeting supervisor that I won’t make it to the meeting.

If you think the meeting is not necessary, or that you can do without it, write the mastermind of the meeting. It can be your supervisor, lecturer, relative, etc. Whether you receive a response from them or not, you had done your part. Inform the others about it.

If you plan to send the message late into the meeting time, use WhatsApp messenger. Suppose the meeting takes place at 10 am. Send a WhatsApp message informing the supervisor of your absence at 06 am with your cellular data turned off.

Do not enable your data until 10 am or thereabout. When WhatsApp sends the message, the message timestamp reads 06 am on your phone, which you send a screenshot to them to confirm your claim. They would assume the network stopped the message. You may switch off that line and use another phone so that they can’t reach you. Nonetheless, you can refuse the phone calls. Check out these believable excuses for not answering a phone call.

  1. My child is/was sick.

If you just received a meeting invitation you are not interested in, tell the sender that your child is sick. You could spice up the excuse by mentioning a mild sickness if you’re telling lies. The same applies if you’ve missed the meeting already but intend to appease the people for missing the meeting.

  1. My basement flooded yesterday.

You missed a meeting you did not want to attend? No problem. Tell this excuse to the supervisor:

Yesterday, we lost power and the basement flooded. It was a big mess, but everything is okay now.

  1. Transportation delays wouldn’t let me attend the meeting.

Well, everyone knows that unavoidable transportation delays, including road accident, airplane rescheduling or grounding, etc., can stop someone from attending a meeting. If your excuse is legitimate, explain it to colleagues, and they’d believe you. Just show signs of frustration to spice up your excuse, especially if they are lies.

  1. My car won’t start.

Merely saying that your car won’t start is not a believable excuse. If you intend to show up later, but not for the meeting, you can grease your cloth slightly and claim that you helped the mechanic to get it back on since the spot was not okay. Of course, the grease on your wear explains your false or sincere struggles to them.

If you are not meeting anyone after the meeting, just call to inform them that your car broke down. Explain that you had to work things out with the mechanic. After some time, update your WhatsApp status with something like, “I became a mechanic today. LOL. Unfortunately, I missed a meeting”. The meeting attendees on your contact list will be consoled with the status.

  1. My motorcycle battery went dead.

If you own a motorcycle, explain to meeting attendees that your motorcycle battery went dead on the way. However, you must not say the bike died at home. If you say, for example, “I had to wait for my spouse to leave for work and give me a ride,” your colleagues know you’re lying.

Tell them that the motorcycle died on the way. They understand that you can’t afford to abandon your bike on your way to the meeting. Your explanation tone must be convincing, though.

  1. The timezone on my phone was incorrect. I missed a lot because of it.

Another reasonable excuse for missing a meeting is your time zone. When making this excuse, you must look surprised and pissed, even if you’re writing the excuse to your supervisor or whoever is responsible.

This excuse is probably the most believable reason for not attending a meeting. However, it only applies if you’ve missed the meeting already. Explain to your colleagues that your phone’s timezone was set to a different location, and all the while, you thought your timing was correct, but not until you overheard someone mentioning the time to another person. You can spice up this excuse by saying that you left your phone with a child to play mobile games earlier.

  1. My car tire went flat and I waited for the tow.

Yes, you can say that you had a flat tire when you went out to lunch and got delayed waiting for a tow. You may include that the tow took longer and your lateness wouldn’t contribute to the meeting. Also, add that you would have called to inform an attendee about the incident, but felt you could be interrupting the meeting.

Your supervisor clearly understands that it is possible your call could have arrived while the call recipient is speaking during the meeting, which isn’t okay.

  1. I thought I’d meet up.

If you traveled to a nearby town, it makes a good excuse for not attending a meeting. Explain to your supervisor that you had estimated your time wrongly and that distance didn’t help the situation. You can back your travel excuses by making a fake flight confirmation and sending it to them.

What if you traveled nowhere? Just make sure none of the attendees see you, or you can mention in the excuse that you’re close to home now.

  1. I had an emergency with the children.

An emergency with the children is a strong excuse for being absent from a meeting. However, you must be a parent to a child for it to be believable.

 You can say that your spouse called to inform you about it, but that everything is okay at home now. You can add, “What did I miss?” This question will force any meeting attendee to explain the meeting discussion immediately and your absence would be forgotten instantly.

Depending on the seriousness of the meeting, make sure to learn about everything that was discussed. Note that this excuse works after the meeting would have ended.

If you’re not a parent, you can mention that the child in question is a relative. It could be your niece, nephew, young cousin, etc.

  1. It rained heavily and was stormy in my location.

A disastrous and stormy rain is quite a forgivable excuse for missing a meeting. The downside of this excuse is that the supervisor can look up the weather report of your location to verify your claim.

In this regard, the event must be true to be believable. It doesn’t necessarily have to be heavy and stormy rain and must not also be a mere drizzle. If you own a car, say that you can’t drive under heavy rain. If you own a motorcycle, it may not be comfortable for you to ride in the rain. Also, it’s not advisable to ride in strong winds.

  1. Toothache wouldn’t allow me to attend the meeting.

Toothache? Of course, a toothache is one of the best excuses for not attending a meeting. Explain that you had to meet the dentist since you couldn’t withstand it anymore.

Nobody will ask you to sit down for a tooth examination, not even a college professor in clinical dentistry.

  1. The traffic delayed me.

One of the most common excuses for not attending a meeting is traffic delays. However, this excuse is only reasonable if you’re showing up but with no intention of joining in the meeting.

For example, if you already know what would be discussed in a 7 am meeting, you show up at 8 am to resume your job for the day without attending the meeting.

Do not give this excuse if you’re not showing up at all. It would be a flimsy excuse, and other members will know.

Sample Excuse Letters for Being Absent from a Meeting

If you have to write a letter explaining why you are not attending or miss a meeting, this section includes some samples. Make sure to keep the excuse letter short.

General Template/Sample Excuse Letter for Missing a Meeting

Hi [recipient],

I apologize for not attending the scheduled meeting yesterday.

I had an [write your excuse]. The circumstance was beyond my power.

I will [visit or contact] you to learn about what I missed. We should get together for a [launch or dinner] tomorrow.

I hope to be part of the next meeting. Take care.

[Your name.]

Sample Excuse Letter for Missing College Class Meeting

Hi [recipient]

I am sorry I could not attend the class meeting. I committed before the meeting; I could not meet up.

[You can begin this paragraph with your excuse].

I will stop by during office hours to learn about the meeting and my responsibility.

Thank you for your understanding.


[Your name]

Sample Excuse Letter for Missing a Meeting You Were Invited by Someone You Share No Close Relationship with

Dear [recipient]

I regret to inform you that I will not be able to attend the meeting.

[Begin this paragraph with your excuse]

I understand that this inconveniences you, and I once again apologize and seek your forgiveness.


[Your name]

Sample Excuse Letter for Missing Business Meeting

[Business name]

[Addressee’s office]


Dear [Sir or Madam]

I, [your name], [your office and company name], with internal identification [ID number], humbly communicate to you through this letter that I will not make it to the special meeting on [date].

The reason for my absence is [write your excuse].

[Optionally mention that you’ve attached your evidence to confirm the reason for your absence]. I will ensure to learn about the meeting proceedings and perform the responsibility required of me.

Kindly understand my circumstance. I promise to be available in the next meeting [this tells the supervisor that you regret your absence].


[Your name]


How do you apologize for not attending a meeting?

[Recipients name]

[Address line]

Subject: [do not bold, summarize the intention of the letter]

Dear [recipient],

I apologize for not being able to attend the meeting [explain the kind of meeting]. Circumstances I could not manage prevented me from attending the meeting.

[Explain your excuse] (keep your excuse brief].

I will endeavor to attend subsequent meetings unfailingly (this reconciles your absence from the meeting and tells the recipient that it was not intentional).

I will visit during the working hours to learn about the meeting proceedings. Thank you for your understanding.


[Your name]

(Include additional data below if any)

Final Thoughts

The idea of your excuse is to seem serious for it to be honest and believable. As mentioned earlier, keep it short and include evidence if necessary.

It depends on you to employ professional judgment to determine what counts as “more important” in one situation or another. Therefore, if your excuse includes “another meeting”, its importance must be glaring to your supervisor, manager, friend, relative, etc.

Understand that not attending a meeting disorganizes other attendees slightly.

the family instructor
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