I hate canceling dates because I hate being canceled on. I try to live by the Golden Rule — do unto others as you'd like them to do unto you —and since I tend to overthink things way too much whenever someone cancels a date with me, I never want to put them in a similar position. But there are some excuses for canceling a date that are actually legitimate and even kind of thoughtful. Case in point: that time a few months ago when I caught the dreaded flu.
It happened mere days after I had gone on an awesome first date with someone I met on a dating app. I was so excited about how well things had gone that I agreed to see him again soon when he followed up with me the next day. I ignored my abnormally warm body temperature and chalked up my aches and pains to it being the week of my 26th birthday (ha!). It didn't take much longer for me to be completely bedridden, which is an incredibly awkward thing to have to tell someone you've just started sort-of dating.
Because this guy was as nice as they come, he asked me out about another three times and put up with my obviously fraudulent excuses every time. He never seemed irritated or hurt. I felt terrible so eventually I just told him the truth. I was a sick, snotty mess. I didn't word it quite like that but I explained that I had the flu and my range of motion was severely limited. He understood and even continued to check up on me in the weeks after that. It took two months of recovery before we made it to our second date, which I still coughed my way through. Sorry, Dan*!
I should have told him right away but I was worried he would think I was blowing him off. Like, seriously, who gets sick for two months? I think we've all gotten so used to people being flakes for no reason at all that it's tough to identify legitimate reasons for canceling plans. If you're ever in one of these five circumstances, know that it's OK to cancel that drinks date!
You're Sick And Don't Want To Get Them Sick, Too
You're not doing anyone any favors by powering through this date. If you're sick and miserable, you're certainly not putting the best version of yourself forward and you run the risk of seeming grumpy or boring. What's worse is that your date will probably also find your decision to come inconsiderate and irresponsible since they've now been exposed to your germs. Ew.
Save yourself the headache (literally) and explain to them that although you'd love to see them, you really shouldn't get out of bed. No, that's not a dirty joke — just the truth. Ask them if you can reschedule when you've recovered so they know your cancelation isn't due to lack of interest.
You're Behind On Your Classes And Finals Are Coming Up
There's nothing wrong with prioritizing personal success. In fact, I'd like to think that, in the long-run, these accomplishments make you better prepared for the dating world. You know what you have to offer and you won't be willing to settle for less than you deserve.
If your date doesn't respect your need to study for your exams, they probably won't respect any desires you have to focus on your career in the future. Take this as a sign that it's not the best fit if you're looking for a partner who can support your goals and grow with you.
Your Family Or Friends Need You At The Last Minute
Someone who cares deeply about their family and friends is someone who's loyal and reliable — not a flake. If your date shares similar values, they'll understand your need to put certain people in your life first and they won't make you feel bad about it.
Particularly if this is someone you're casually dating, it's not a good idea to brush off your best friend of 10 years to go out on a date with them. Don't be that person who abandons her closest friends whenever she meets someone new, only to go crawling back to them when things don't go as you hoped. Being a good friend (or daughter or sister) sometimes means making sacrifices for the people you care most about.
You Sense That You're No Longer Attracted To The Person You're Supposed To Go On A Date With
I've agreed to dates with guys in the past only to be turned off by an inappropriate ~joke~ they made later on via text. If I find their statements to be offensive and they make no effort to correct it, it's a clear indication that we don't have similar views, which is important to me in a relationship.
Just because you previously agreed to go out with someone doesn't mean you're contractually obligated to do so. If they've disrespected you or managed to make you feel uncomfortable before the actual date, things won't be much different when you meet them in person. You can kindly let them know you don't see things working out between the two of you and you'd rather not waste any more of their time.
The Person Lets You Know Ahead Of Time That They Don't Care Very Much About Your Date
Red flags to look out for include your date continuously referring to your upcoming plans as "hanging out," "meeting up," or the absolute worst, "chilling." They're already letting you know what to expect from the date and it doesn't sound incredibly impressive.
We're all adults here so let's use our words accordingly. If it's a date, say it's a date. If they're reluctant to even label your plans, you can be certain they'll feel the same way when it comes to defining your relationship.
In a perfect world, you'd never feel guilty for canceling a date but there are reasons and ways to cancel a date if you're genuinely not trying to be rude. You should give as much consideration to your own feelings (doubts and all) as you would to the other person's. Remember that a good date is one that you want to be on.
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