Joining a new group or activity can be refreshing. It’s one of our few opportunities as adults where there’s an opportunity to make new friends and expand our social and/or intellectual circles; it pushes us out of our comfort zone and exposes us to new people and experiences. In short, it’s great—until it isn’t. After a while, that new book club, choir, or kickball team may feel more like a chore than a fun hobby. You find yourself constantly making excuses to get out of events and meetings, and the temptation is there to full-on ghost the group.
But getting back to the whole “we’re adults” thing, it’s probably best to let someone in the group leadership know that you’re bowing out. Maybe it’ll free up a spot for someone else who wants to join, and if nothing else, it’ll let everyone else start the meetings on time without having to wait for you, wondering if you’re actually going to show up this time. The problem is, Neil Sedaka continues to be right: Breaking up is hard to do, even when it’s a book club. Here’s an email template to make the whole process easier.
Email template for breaking up with commitments
We can’t resist a good email template—especially when it deals with a potentially awkward conversation. This one comes courtesy of time management expert Elizabeth Grace Saunders writing for the Harvard Business Review:
Hi [Leaders’ Names],
I hope you’re well. I wanted to communicate a few things.
As I was evaluating my priorities, I’ve realized that [group name] isn’t an area where I see myself continuing to invest time.
I had thought I would be able to attend more regularly last fall than I have been able to, and I don’t foresee myself being able to come more this winter. I wanted to communicate that directly, so that you weren’t counting on me to accomplish club goals.
Thank you for the opportunity to have been part of the club. It was a good learning experience for me. I’m so proud of everyone for all of their progress. And I will be back in the future, if and when it aligns with where I feel I’m called to spend my time.
Have a wonderful day!
Yes, you can use this template even if your name is not Elizabeth, but I do appreciate the fact that I don’t even have to change that part. Now, start drafting those break-up emails and make a graceful exit from your book club that is now virtual and no longer a way to escape from your partner and family for a few hours.