What To Do (And What Not To Do) When You’ve Been Stood Up

Is there anything worse than making the effort to look nice and psyching yourself up for a date only to show up and sit there by yourself watching the minutes tick by until you have no choice but to accept that you’ve been stood up? We’ve all been there and it can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Here’s what you should (and should not) do if you get stood up.

Do: Cut your losses.

So you’ve spent the last week investing time and effort talking to this person. You’ve given up your evening to meet them for a drink and now it has become clear that they won’t be gracing you with their presence. It sucks to feel like you’ve wasted your valuable time, but in the grand scheme of things, this is nothing. It would be nice if we could predict who was going to stand us up and never give them the time of day in the first place, but sadly that is not life. Write this one off and move on to the next.

D0: Treat yourself.

If you’ve been dying to try this restaurant for awhile, why leave just because your date decided not to show up? If you’d rather not stick around at the scene of the crime, order something to go and take it home to enjoy in the comfort of your sweatpants. Go the extra mile and stop by your favorite bakery on the way home or engage in a little retail therapy—anything that will get your mind off the date that didn’t happen.

Do: Call a friend to come meet you.

It may not be turning out exactly how you expected, but your night doesn’t have to be a total write-off. It’s only natural to be a little angry, so spend some time commiserating over how awful dating is and then move on to happier topics. Having someone to talk to will also help distract you from that extremely powerful urge you might have to call your almost-date and let them know what you really think of them.

Do: Look on the bright side.

If your date is the type of person who blows people off without an explanation, that’s really not someone you want to be with anyway. It’s actually for the best that they showed you who they really are before you got any more invested. This way, you can promptly forget they ever existed and not waste any more time giving them multiple chances they probably don’t deserve.

Do: Stay positive about dating.

It’s easy to start feeling bitter and jaded when it seems like nothing ever works out, but the reality is that having a negative attitude isn’t going to get you anywhere either. All you can do is keep trying and if you plan to keep going on dates, you might as well try to enjoy yourself. Don’t automatically expect every date to be a waste of time, because you never know — the next one could be your last first date ever (in a good way).

Don’t: Text and call your date incessantly.

If they confirmed before your date that they did plan on being there, then there’s no reason to send them a “where r u?” text. They are perfectly capable of getting in touch if they’re running late and if they chose not to, they’ll probably just ignore your questions anyway. Instead, say nothing. Don’t even give them the validation of a “wtf???” text. It’s possible they’ll contact you with a legitimate (or let’s face it, probably made up) reason why they blew you off and if they do, you’ll have the satisfaction of acting as though you have already forgotten about them completely.

Don’t: Tell everyone who will listen what happened.

As tempting as it may be to pour your heart out to the bartender and/or server, they’re probably kind of busy. There’s nothing wrong with mentioning that you suspect you’ve been stood up (guaranteed they’ve seen it plenty of times and have probably even been there themselves), but they aren’t there to listen to you vent about how dating sucks. You have friends and your therapist for that.

Don’t: Try to reschedule.

No matter how great you thought this person was and how many good conversations you had, most of the time, giving them the benefit of the doubt when they don’t even have the decency to cancel a date before you show up means they aren’t worthy of a second chance. Besides, if they really wanted to see you, they’d be the one desperately trying to reschedule. Don’t chase after a person who has no respect for your time. If you really do want to give them a second chance, do so with caution and make them work for it.

Don’t: Take it personally.

Dwelling on what you could have done wrong to make this person not want to meet you is pointless. And you did absolutely nothing wrong. Try to remember that online dating has normalized ghosting, submarining, zombie-ing and every other infuriating dating trend that makes people think it’s okay to treat each other like they don’t matter. It’s not your fault your date has no sense of decency, so just keep doing you.

Don’t: Be embarrassed.

Listen, getting stood up happens to the best of us and most people who have done any dating in their lives have been where you are right now. There’s no need to make up a story to protect your pride when your friends ask how your date went because when you tell them you were stood up they’ll be outraged right along with you. The only person who should be embarrassed is the person who decided to pull a no-show. Period.

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