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The Wrong Way to Cancel a Date

9 Feb

I get it. Things come up that may require you to cancel a date at the last-minute. And although I’d like to believe that there is absolutely nothing more important in the world than getting to know me, I am realistic that such a level of devotion may require more than a one-time meeting. However, how you go about canceling said date, will make the difference between whether or not the person you are canceling on accepts your offer for a rain check.

Allow me to provide you with an example. (And, at this time, I’d like to give a big thank you to the gentleman who canceled on me tonight and thus provided me with this excellent blog fodder. You sir, are a gem.).

The wrong way to cancel a date:

• Make me contact you first – When I hadn’t heard from this boy by 3 PM, I was already annoyed. Call me crazy, but I like to plan and we had not previously set a venue for our date. So, I had to send him a text asking him if we were still on. Fail Point #1.

• Ask for a rain check via text – If you are canceling a date, pick up the damn phone. That way the person on the other end can hear just how genuinely sorry you are that you can’t make it. Fail Point #2

• Forget to say you’re sorry – I feel like this is a duh. You made plans. Now you are breaking them. This necessitates and apology.  No ifs, ands, or butts. Fail Point #3

• Blame the people above you at work for dumping everything on you  – All this does is remind me that you are low on the totem pole. In fact, feel free to send me the names and numbers of the guys dumping all this work on you. Perhaps they are more my speed. Fail Point #4

• Don’t text me again, still sans apology, if I haven’t responded to your original text – Hi, I am annoyed. Texting me again with “blahhh this sucks” just makes you seem whiny. And really, still no apology?? Fail Point #5

Now, you may have picked up on the fact that I am pissed. This is true. I am thoroughly annoyed. But it’s not because the young sir canceled the date. It was the way he went about it. Had he texted me earlier in the day when he first saw work piling up, that would have been nice. Then, had he picked up the phone and actually spoken with me about the situation, I would have been much more understanding. While on the phone we could have made future plans, he could have let me know he was genuinely sorry, and I wouldn’t have had to write this blog post. Really, it would have been that simple.

So, dear friends, should you ever find yourself in this unfortunate situation, I’d recommend canceling your date the right way. Unless, of course, you never want to see the girl again. Then by all means, take some pointers from the awesome guy above. 

20 Responses to “The Wrong Way to Cancel a Date”

  1. J February 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    cancellations are truly annoying. but would you rather them not waste your evening and cancel the wrong way, or show up late, get wasted, and display inappropriate behavior? I prefer the former.

    • Cali Bradshaw February 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm #

      Haha, I mean are those really the only two options?? GOD I hope not :) But yes, in that situation I would much prefer a cancellation.

  2. the_FM February 9, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    You got it absolutely right when you said the first date-cancellation-fail is “make ME contact you.”

    The most recent date cancellation I got was in the same form. We had plans for a Sunday date – to see a small play, at a local playhouse (what a cute date I thought). Earlier in the week he had said he would handle getting the tickets.. and I just sat back, smitten.

    I heard NOTHING from him as the weekend approached, but I didn’t want to text him. I just kept telling myself that he had no reason to text me and I would hear from him soon, but as Saturday rolled around i started to really wonder if he was blowing me off. Of course I surrendered and sent a text asking “what’s the plan for tomorrow?” To which he replied something along the lines of that he hadn’t checked for seats all week and they probably sucked so he would have to get a raincheck (uhmm.. wtf? rainchecks are given out at the local Walmart buddy).

    His bailing had me baffled. Was he really just NOT even going to contact me about the Sunday date? I guess I will never know. But I always wonder – what are the guys on the other end thinking? Like, what would we do if we never even contacted them about the date? Would they just blow us off?

    • Cali Bradshaw February 9, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

      Amazing! Honestly, it baffles me as well. Frankly, I wouldn’t even cancel on a friend in such a manner, let alone someone I was trying to date. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Single Steve February 11, 2011 at 6:45 am #

    BUT the real question is….are you going to give me a second chance? Does bad date cancel-er get a second date?

    • Cali Bradshaw February 11, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

      If it was a guy I was really excited about, then probably. But this guy, not so much…

  4. Badger March 3, 2011 at 6:05 am #

    “• Blame the people above you at work for dumping everything on you – All this does is remind me that you are low on the totem pole. In fact, feel free to send me the names and numbers of the guys dumping all this work on you. Perhaps they are more my speed. Fail Point #4”

    Exxxxxcellent point. Excuse peddling suggests that you are not in control of your life situation. Not for no reason is excuse-making anathema among men in alpha-requisite fields like sports teams (it also stifles creativity by giving people a mental “way out”).

    • Cali Bradshaw March 3, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

      Why thanks! Completely agree. Excuses = not hot. Thanks for reading!

  5. Dina June 21, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    It’s not just about HOW a man canceled a first date, it is also important what he did ‘to fix’ the situation…

    I’ve met this guy on a dating site couple weeks ago. Two days before our first date he texted me and canceled it. Apologised alot and said ‘I will make it up to you’.
    I didn’t make a big deal, I didn’t feel upset, I was just fine because he seemed honest and I had no reason not to trust him (even though a phone call would’ve been better than a text and email apology…)
    We continued texting each other but I noticed that he only replies to my texts, never initiates conversation.
    I stopped bothering him and I haven’t heard from him for a few days. He completely forgot about me but didn’t forget to go on a dating site every day, few times a day…

    Is that what a man means ‘I will make it up to you’??
    Oh wow, now I feel very special :-)

    • Cali Bradshaw June 24, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

      Hi Dina,

      Thanks for the comment! Yea, that guy clearly doesn’t understand the meaning of “make it up to you” or he didn’t really mean it when he said it. Either way, good for you to recognize the BS and the stop initiating contact. You deserve much much better :)


  6. Corey December 13, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    I was looking forward to my date at the Brooklyn Museum this past Sunday and the guy texted me in the morning saying he couldn’t make it (gave no reason). I was mad and I told him so, and he accused me over being too sensitive and over dramatic. I felt that he was deflecting the attention off himself and acting as if I did something wrong. I hung up in his face, and he called me back twice but I didn’t answer. I felt bad for doing so and told him but he’s been acting weird to me. He doesn’t text me all throughout the day like he used to, etc.

    Normally, I wouldn’t have a problem cutting a guy loose who I feel is kinda a jerk, but I’m so smitten with him.

    • Cali Bradshaw December 15, 2011 at 4:47 am #

      Hi Corey – Thanks for the comment! Unfortunately this sounds like a bit of a lost cause. You see, guys reallllly don’t like when you get angry at them – especially when they already suspect they are wrong. (which, btw, he was…) In any case, this guy does not sound like a keeper. He cancels, then gets mad at you, and then pulls away. Yuck. Don’t waste any more time and find a guy with less strikes against him.

      Sorry! Thanks for reading!

  7. Rachel December 24, 2011 at 8:42 pm #

    I had the same thing last night, texted a guy from work a few times, arranged a date….. half an hour before the time i still didnt have a confirmation of venue so surrendered and text him, only to have the reply, “i know this is shit but i have to wrap my christmas presents, can we re arrange after christmas?”
    Obviously i was to pissed off to reply or i would have made an ass out of myself, but I am tempted to try and find out why?? baffling.

  8. jane December 31, 2011 at 7:53 pm #

    My most recent date cancellation was from someone I was dating for about 9 months. But things were beginning to sour in that “relationship” anyway. First he told me that he had to go out of town to a family function and at the time he couldn’t get me an invite. At first, I was a little hurt, but I got over it. Then, a few weeks later, he told me he was able to get me “invited”….until I accepted the invitation. Then, he did everything he could to make excuses in order to make me un-invite myself. (Which I did). I ended up breaking up with him a few months later anyway. But he clearly did not want me to go from the beginning and he only invited me because he thought I wouldn’t accept. But when I did, he made sure he made it as difficult as possible for me to go, so I would not go, and that is exactly what happened.
    My most “memorable” date cancellation, though, happened about 5 years ago. I didn’t realize what exactly happened “at the time” ….I figured it all out later. The guy picked up the wrong phone call and made a (wrong) date with me (he thought I was his (other) girlfriend). (I didn’t know there was another girlfriend though.) He called me an hour before the date and tried to cancel, but with the lamest of excuses…(“It is going to rain; I can’t think of any bars near your office….” He then suggested postponing, -no apology- but in the end, we wound up meeting anyway, but just for a drink.) But, he seemed very “distant” and strange, and he cut the evening very short. Apparently he went to meet “her” after. But again, I didn’t realize this THEN. He texted me in error a few weeks later; he thought he was texting her! That is when I figured it out. I am taking a dating break now.

  9. jennifer April 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

    It was going to be our 1st date he usually calls everyday but the day prior to our 1st date he didn’t call at all so I knew something was up . The next day (date night) he called an hour and a half prior to our date and asked if we were still on I said yes he then proceeds to hold a conversation and I knew then he had not intention of going but I continued to talk to him as if I didn’t know any thing he was with his mom and I heard her ask him to go somewhere while we were on the phone I then heard him get in the car then he says he will call me back and he does in 10 minutes we cont. To talk by this time it is the exact time of our scheduled date (the time he was supposed to arrive and he lives 30 miles+ away) he then says so you still want to go I said no he said huh I said no he said why I said because we agreed upon a certain time and you didn’t even acknowledge it he then says ok. Can we reschedule I said no he said why I said because I respect your time you should’ve respected mine (said very nicely and casually) he said that’s not fair I said we will just have to agree to disagree he said ok well what are you going to do tonight I said I will find something what are you going to do he said he will find something I said ok and then he asked if he would talk to me later I said sure he never called again and neither did I smh he is so lame for that whole thing!

  10. deadlock September 9, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    Women do this all the time thinking they are being “polite” agreeing to a date without any intention to follow through. Then they use some lame excuse or avoid contact altogether. It’s very frustrating for men who have to set up all the logistics only to find out they are being led on. But in general, men and women who act like this are losers. If they don’t value your time now, they likely never will so it’s not a big loss.

  11. lara November 16, 2012 at 4:34 am #

    I just canceled tonight. Less than a hour before our date. He was genuinely worried for a friend in the middle of a crisis, and wanted to support her. He apologized and asked to reschedule for Saturday. In general I would not made a big deal out of it, we just started dating, he apologized, he rescheduled…yes, no reasons for drama. But here is what was sooo wrong:
    1) we just started dating, and our dates were great. They were for me, and they were for him, according to his messages.
    2) I like him a lot. If I was indifferent, I would have probably not even noticed it.
    3) I had one of those days, when everything goes wrong, and I was looking forward to tonight. Actually I survived the day just because I wanted to be with him tonight.
    He gave the final slap to my face.
    4) I have no car, and I commute 2 hours each day. To be ready on time, I asked for a ride to one of the most mean girls in the office. It was pure pain to sit in the car with her, and now I owe her a favor. All of this, for nothing.
    Not only I got canceled, but I also felt an idiot for doing so much to meet him.

    Conclusion: I am not going to see him again, when someone disappoints you so much so early, it is better to cut it. I gave many second chances in my life (and third, and fourth,…), and it was never worth it.

    What he should have done: he was taking a class 2 blocks from my apartment, that is a 5 minutes walk. Fine to cancel the date for a friend, but he could have stopped by my place for a few minutes, just to see me, just to give me a kiss. Is this asking for too much? Do not think so.

    I feel sad that tonight went in this way, and that I am not going to see the guy I was all excited about, but I think that this was the first alarm pre-announcing a long series of disappointments and disillusion. Better to run away when I still can.

  12. John January 12, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    Good article and all valid points. But perhaps there is a reason why guys cancel dates in a douchey way. Sometimes the girl did something wrong that led to the cancellation. Only she hasnt figured it out yet. Here is a recent example on why I cancelled last minute.

    We met for coffee on Thurs night. It went well, we agreed to go out on Saturday. On late Friday night as we spoke, I suggested a local bar/restaurant for drinks. She then said she preferred to get dinner at another much more upscale expensive place. She just said “they take reservations there”. When I researched the place the next day it was a very pricey place.She didnt even flinch at upgrading the suggestion to a place that would cost me 2x as much. She worked all day Saturday and so I couldnt reach her by phone until late Saturday afternoon. I cancelled the date. It is very ungracious and lacks total social skills/etiquette to upgrade a date especially when it is only a first or second date.

    So in this case it was a last minute cancellation. I am sure this story made the rounds to her friends as to what a jerk I was to cancel last minute. She was clueless as to why I did it that way. Not saying thats what happened to the author of the article, but sometimes the girl’s behavior causes a guy to cancel last minute as in my case.

  13. Cc January 16, 2013 at 3:00 am #

    Arg! So annoying!!! Guy I’ve been seeing for a while is a serial last min canceller…. Did it again tonight…. Makes plans to cook for me than when I hadn’t heard anything for
    Him about it I texted him yesterday asking if we were still on. He waited till 12:30am …. Probably drunk…. To tell me he has a work dinner – which he mentioned earlier that he might- and asked to reschedule for the following night. I just find it SO rude!! I mean u give me less than 24 notice to tell me…. ? Lol Ahhh men!!

    • Cali Bradshaw January 16, 2013 at 4:15 am #

      Sweetie, dump this guy – now! Cancelling once last minute is one time too many. And if he is cancelling in the middle of the night – this is definitely not going in a positive direction. I promise you, you deserve much much better than that! Good luck my dear, and thanks for reading.

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