Stop Bailing, Start Refusing

There’s a more empowering way to opt out

Ellie Anderson, Ph.D.
Forge
Published in
5 min readJun 13, 2020

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Photo: Mark Edward Atkinson/Getty Images

Bailing on plans used to be weirdly fun, like playing hooky with one’s social life. It could even feel like a rebellion against the relentless pace of modern life. But suddenly, there are no more opportunities for the thrill of bailing. If 2019 was pronounced “a veritable age of cancellation,” the period truly deserving of that title is upon us now: Covid-19 has abruptly canceled all our plans for us.

This clearing of our calendars has primed Americans for alternative ways of connecting. Without any social plans to bail on, we’re in an unprecedented era of people showing up. Recently, folks flooded out of their homes to protest the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black Americans by police. We came back outdoors not for coffee dates or barbecues but to work to dismantle white supremacy and defund the police.

But old habits are difficult to break, and the temptation to flake will creep back into our lives once we have plans to cancel again. As we enter a changed world, understanding the…

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Ellie Anderson, Ph.D.
Forge
Writer for

Ellie Anderson is a professor at Pomona College and co-host of Overthink podcast. She specializes in European philosophy & feminist theory.