4 Signs Your Date Is Going To Cancel On You (Plus Why People Love To Flake)
I'd like to start by confessing something: I'm a flake. Well, sometimes I am. I will pull the "I'm tired, still up for dinner?" which in millennial-speak translates to "can we not?" fade on friend hours before dinner. I'll flake on my yoga class (as long as its within the cancellation window). I even used to be OK with flaking on a date — especially if he was a stranger from an app I hadn't met IRL. (I've changed!) The signs your date is going to cancel on you are all things that I myself have signaled at one point or another... Oops.
That is until I started dating more aggressively in New York. I cohost a podcast called "51 First Dates" in which I go on dates with the encouragement of my best friend and cohost, Liza. The goal of the podcast is to help me break some bad dating habits, and generally just start understanding more about myself in romantic relationships.
We talk about the dates anonymously and kindly, and read our listeners worst dates. We also record weekly. This means I'm going on one date per week. I can no longer cancel on my dates, and I definitely lose my mind if they cancel on me — WTF do I talk about?! (I'm aware of how self-involved this sounds. I should never have been cancelling on dates to begin with.)
Here's the thing: Flaking on a date is easier than ever, which also makes it more annoying than ever. If you can so easily swipe my face on your phone and text me to ask me out, then you should be able to easily text me to cancel our date with a decent amount of notice (I'd say at least 12 hours, if not 24).
True, your date could genuinely have to leave town for a last-minute work trip, but sometimes there's more to a flake. First dates can be uncomfortable, and people usually want to avoid things that make them feel even a drop of nerves. I think that I used to cancel dates out of fear, plain and simple. I spoke to Julia Armet, Head of Matchmaking at Tawkify, about common signs someone is going to flake on a date, and why they might do so.
1. They've already postponed the date at least once.
If your date has postponed your date once, twice, or even three times, there's a good chance they will "postpone" again. This could have to do with many factors, but it's usually a sign that they are avoiding something. "Avoidant types have trouble solidifying plans," says Armet. "Interestingly, you'll also see the same 'postponement' mentality in people who have commitment issues. That can emerge deeper into relationships. Odds would say for these types: they'll flake on you."
While you probably shouldn't base your entire idea of a person on how they schedule a first date, if they are postponing dates now, they will probably postpone things later in your relationship too. Shiny things... like apartment keys, or a ring (if that's what you're looking for).
2.They give a lot of excuses.
Yes, your date might have had a work call run late, and that is part of life, but they also might tell you that they stepped in dog poo on their way to the date and needed to go home and get new shoes, but then on their way, the subway stopped working. Be wary of "dog ate my homework"-style excuses.
That said, your date could be giving an excuse because they're not up for dating right now. "We do have to realize in the fluid realm of dating, people get involved in relationships every day," adds Armet. "So too much of a lead time can also create last-minute cancellations. Timing is indeed a critical factor in creating connection."
3. They can't pin down plans.
If it seems like your date is hesitant to solidify dinner or drinks, or keeps changing the plans from Tuesday to Wednesday, they could be super busy, or they could be a bit of a commitment-phobe. "The extremes of avoidance can vary," says Armet. "So I think examining how these people make you feel will prevent you from chasing them infinitely." Give your date a pass if they shift plans once, but keep your eyes peeled for other red flags.
4. Their Communication Skills Are Lacking
If your date goes M.I.A the day before you planned to meet, you have every right to be annoyed. If you haven't heard from them an hour before your date, it can be difficult to know if you should sign up for that yoga class because they are going to flake, or if they've just been busy all day. Remember that dating takes two people! If you want to know if you are still on for the night, text your date!
"Our behaviors can mirror one another's actions, so try to align your words and actions with the intended feeling and connection you're looking to create," says Armet. "Good ways of 'pre-planning' are asking someone for their preferences on where to go, [or] calling someone up on the phone to confirm the plan closer to." Which she adds "demonstrates accountability and confidence while creating a feeling of security with the other." Be the person you'd want to date, but if it becomes clear your match is not going to take the time to even text to cancel their plans with you, on to the next one.