Not long ago, the only way to break a social engagement, outside of blowing off someone completely, was to do it in person or on the phone. An effusive apology was expected, or at least the appearance of contrition.
But now, when our fingers tap our way out of social obligations, the barriers to canceling have been lowered. Not feeling up for going out? Have better plans? Just type a note on the fly (“Sorry can’t make it tonight”) and hit send.
And don’t worry about giving advance notice. The later, the better. After all, bailing on dinner via text message doesn’t feel as disrespectful as standing up someone, or as embarrassing.