It is with a heavy heart that I declare my intention to keep our dinner plans for tonight. I understand that this news may come as a shock, given our beautiful and long-standing tradition of taking turns canceling on each other. I can already picture the sadness on your face as you digest this news, knowing you can’t go home right after work, take off your pants, collapse on your bed, and scroll TikTok until you pass out.

I assume at this point you’ve ranted to your co-workers about the Herculean task ahead of you, known as “going to dinner with the nice person you met at your best friend’s party last year who works in your field.” I understand your frustrations that I am denying you the sweet rush of endorphins from a cancellation text. You still fondly remember that one time you were going to text me to reschedule, but before you could, I texted you first. You were let go from feeling guilty because the burden of the cancellation was on me, and that feeling is better than any drug on earth. I now play the role of the dealer cutting off your supply because I wish for this vicious cycle to end—once and for all.

Unfortunately, tonight’s venue is a restaurant located in a convenient part of town near your office and totally out of the way for me, making it virtually impossible for you to say no this time. I expect you to arrive ten to fifteen minutes late; I will read it as a punishment for the cardinal sin of dragging you out to eat on a weekday night.

In your anger, I ask that you try to look on the bright side of what this evening can bring. Will the food be overpriced? Yes, but at least it will produce glorious leftovers that you can eat for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner. Will you have to park eight blocks over to avoid paying the valet? Yes, but at least you’ll get some much-needed cardio on the walk to the restaurant. Will I ask that you put the whole check on your credit card and I’ll just Venmo you? Yes, but at least you’ll earn the cash-back rewards and travel points you desperately crave.

I will not take your presence for granted, and I thank you for your cooperation. You have my word that at the conclusion of our dinner, we can half-heartedly agree that “it was fun,” that we’ll “do it again sometime,” and then take ages to follow up. For after tonight, we can rejoice in another glorious cycle of cancellations.