The social cheat I’ve learned for this is to say:
“I have to check my calendar, why, what’s Friday?”
This says “Maybe” without saying “Maybe”, and giving you the option to make up a Doctor’s Appointment You Forgot About (or reschedule one you didn’t!) depending on what they say.
It’s an amazingly powerful sentence for my Autistic and ADHD ass – it gives me the ability to judge my social spoons, as well as communicating that “hey, I might have forgotten something, it’s not you it’s me” in a very non-offensive way.
“I have to check my calendar, why?”
It also gives the impression that you’re a together sort of person who actually puts things on your calendar before you do those things.
This is a For-Real life hack that I use all the time- not just for getting OUT of things politely but, it also gets me in the habit of actually learning how long events take, because sometimes you get invited to More Than One Cool Thing and you have to schedule yourself like an adult!
I honestly live by my Google Calendar bc it also helps me not to overtax my chronically ill ass.
I have to SEE on my calendar that I’ve scheduled doctors four days in a row before I realize MAYBE THAT’S NOT GOOD and make sure I don’t overcommit.
^ same same same