For all its awful qualities, the terrible economy is being embraced by certain antisocial optimists. Yes, the global recession is the new all-purpose excuse to get you out of any nasty obligation. Baby shower? Catch-up drinks with a frenemy?

Just sigh and say, "Oh, I'd love to" -- pause dramatically, look away shame-faced -- "but these current economic times ... save money ... "

It's easier to fake than a migraine and far nicer than "I don't really want to buy a present and pretend to look happy while choking down crudités at your sister's bridal shower."

You can also let the recession be the best friend who goads you into otherwise socially unacceptable behavior -- firing an employee you just don't like, breaking up and even popping pills. Trend pieces around the world will back you up, so make the most of this little economic meltdown.

A piece in the New York Times style section highlighted an L.A.-based producer who used this excuse to sack her nanny over New Year's. A 28-year-old business student used it to postpone proposing to his partner of three years. Hey, if it's in The Times, then it's okay by us.

Are you all about using the economy to get out of a bad date, an unwanted dinner invite, buying gifts for that non-friend whom you just can't break up with? Tell us how you've used the bad economy as a good excuse.

Mary Kearl is an assistant editor at AOL Health where she writes about everything from fast food to disease.