When a date flakes on you, it can leave you feeling disappointed or absolutely crushed. Figuring out how to respond when your date cancels is a crucial angle that could make or break the relationship going forward. Here’s what you should do.
- Don’t take it personally. I know it can feel like a personal affront when someone bails on plans that you’ve made together without adequate notice, but remember that life happens. Listen to their excuse to see if they had a legitimate reason for not being able to show up. If they do, be kind and empathetic. Don’t try to overthink things especially if they’ve never given you reasons to suspect they’re playing games.
- Become a more interesting person. Aside from the times when I’ve had an urgent matter come up, the main reason why I’ve flaked on a date was that I just didn’t think it was going to be worth the energy I’d have to put in, from getting ready to holding a conversation. Maybe if you set up more interesting dates or are a lot more fun to hang out with, they’ll think twice before canceling a date with you ever again.
- Hit them with a “thanks for letting me know.” If your date takes out the time to let you know something came up instead of ghosting and leaving you to figure out they’re not showing up, appreciate that. Be polite and show that you understand, as this leaves the door open for a future date—assuming that’s something you want of course. They might even feel guilty for canceling in the first place and eager to make it up to you.
- If you still want to go on date with them, put it out there. It’s okay to want to try again when things don’t go as planned the first time around. You don’t have to be pushy about it. A simple “That’s alright, perhaps we can reschedule for a better time” will do. It shows you’re still interested in them and puts the ball in their court. If they’re eager to see you, they’ll hit you up to reschedule. Otherwise, you can move on knowing you gave it a good shot.
- Cool off and keep it calm. Often times, the first reaction to a date flaking on plans is anger and frustration. You’re wondering exactly what gives them the right to cancel after you’ve put all this effort into preparing for the date. How dare they? Maybe if you pleaded with them to change their mind, the date will be back on. Whatever you’re feeling, you need to take some time off to let it pass before responding. Going on a passive-aggressive or emotionally devastating rant is not in your best interest. You might end up saying things you’ll regret later.
- Take back the power. Your time and your presence are just as important as theirs, so act like it. When your date flakes and tries to reschedule, let them know you have other plans but you’ll try to make room in your schedule for them. Playing a little hard to get never hurt anyone. You want to subtly pass across a message that you have an active life too, so they better get their shit together if they want you to make time for them.
- Have a three-strike rule. It’s one thing to give people second chances, it’s a different thing entirely to let them take you for a ride. If your date flakes on plans once, consider giving them another. If they do it again, it’s starting to look like a pattern. After the third time, they’re clearly not worth taking a chance on. Cut things off and walk away. You deserve respect and someone who shows up eager to spend time with you.
- Let them have it. There are situations that definitely call for laying your feelings bare. If your date is fond of bailing and you’ve simply had enough of that nonsense, then let them know exactly how their actions come off, and flat out ask them to do better in the future. Someone who wants to make things work would adjust accordingly once you make them aware of your frustrations.
- Don’t let it get you down. When a date flakes on plans, it can feel like it’s because you’re unworthy or not enough, so you need to watch that. At the end of the day, their flakiness really has nothing to do with you. It’s their loss, not yours. Focus on loving and caring for yourself until a partner who can hold the same space for you comes along.