In a world where ghosting and standing people up is more common than it should be, figuring out how to kindly cancel a date at the last minute can be life-changing for some. Instead of simply not showing up because you don't feel any sort of connection or because you're trying to cut your ties with this person altogether, sending a simple text explaining why can go a long way — even if it's not what someone wants to hear. Whether it's as blunt as "I don't want to do this," or a little more subtle like, "Something came up, can we reschedule?" kindly canceling a date is so much better than just never showing up.
"It's important to understand the reason why you want to cancel in the first place," Sasha Aurund, editor at Psych&Sex, tells Elite Daily. "We don't owe our time to anyone but ourselves. Understanding the motivation behind why you want to go on a date will help you decide the best course of action when canceling. If something came up which was uncontrollable, it can be as simple as a phone call explaining the situation — if you feel it will help propel the romantic interest and not hinder it. If you are simply putting it off because you don't want to make time for the person, use the method you find most appropriate (text, call, DM) and just be simple but honest."
If you actually wanted to go out with the person, and something really did come up, then as soon as you let your date know you can't make it, ask them to reschedule. They may be hesitant and curious to know what caused you to have to cancel. Though you don't owe them any explanation, and they should trust you, giving them a concrete reason may help them see it's not something you do often — especially if they're just getting to know you. "If you genuinely want to make time for another person, respect their time as well and cancel through the phone," Aurund says. "You shouldn't need to say or do anything specifically to prove you're not 'flaking.' All good relationships (romantic or not) are built on trust and understanding — this should be no different."
If, on the other hand, you don't exactly want to continue dating this person, you should still approach the topic kindly. "Even if you are only casually dating, don't sound dismissive," Nikki Leigh, a love and relationships coach and host of Ready for Love Radio, tells Elite Daily. "Everyone has feelings and consider how you would like a person to break a date with you." Canceling on someone at the last minute can be disheartening, especially if you're not interested, and you don't want to hurt them more by being rude about it.
So, whether or not your date is someone you want to see again or not may change how you cancel on them, but it doesn't change the fact that you should let them down easy. "If the date is with someone you are dating regularly or someone you want to see again, go ahead and let them know that you are sorry you have to cancel this date, but you would love to reschedule," Leigh suggests. "If you aren't sure you want to see the person again, maybe hold off on rescheduling, and maybe put a little distance between you, and decide what you want to do in a few days or a week." Once you've decided, be honest and be kind. The rest will fall into place.