9 Situations In Which It's Totally OK To Cancel On Your Date, Guilt-Free

Ah, the sweet, sweet high of cancelling plans. While I love being busy and doing things with my friends, I also love to occasionally bow out of plans to bond with my couch and my dear pal, Hulu. I know I'm not alone in this, but if you're single and lookin' to mingle, staying home all the time isn't going to do you any favors. But even if you're motivated to put yourself out there and go on dates, there are certain times when it's OK to cancel a date. Of course, cancel your date if you find out your date already has a girlfriend/boyfriend, or you bump into your dream partner en route to your date, or a natural disaster strikes. Duh.

Sometimes, more subtle situations pop up and make you think about cancelling and that's totally fine because life happens! Whether it's a first date or you're a few dates in, chances are the person on the other end of your plans will be understanding of your situation. (But try not to get too cancel-happy, because it's pretty unlikely your Mr./Ms. Right will break into your apartment.) So, don't worry if you have to send that, "I'm sorry to do this but..." text because it's absolutely OK to cancel a date, especially under the following circumstances.


You can't schedule emergencies. They just happen out of the blue — that's why they're emergencies. So while we make plans with the best of intentions, if any of these situations are thrown at you outta left field, it's totally fine to cancel a date. You've got sh*t to deal with!

Let's say your family or friends need you. Maybe your date will one day fall into the category of your nearest and dearest, but right now if your family or friends need you in any way, you've gotta be there for them. From consoling a friend after a surprise breakup, to helping your little brother who got locked out of his apartment (again!), it's OK to tell your date you've gotta reschedule.

What if your pet has a medical emergency? Sometimes I'm tempted to cancel a date just because my cat is in a rare cuddly mood and I want to snuggle his stupid face for hours, but if your pet is suddenly sick, take your fur baby to the vet ASAP. Your date will understand, and if not, voila! You've just saved yourself a date with a non-animal lover.

Or, oh, great — your car broke down. Sure, there's Uber and Lyft and your actual feet to help you get where you're going, but please don't leave your vehicle on the side of the road because you've just got to get to happy hour with a first date.


I was a personal assistant for years and part of my job was being available 24/7, which meant if I was asked to jump I'd say, "Heck yes, I love jumping, how high?" Whether you're buying someone's groceries or removing someone's brain tumor, work will sometimes impact your non-work life. There might be times when you can still have your date and manage your professional obligations, but these are times when you should cancel on those first date drinks.

Tick tock — you've got a deadline. You planned this date thinking that you'd go home and finish your project/proposal/assignment afterwards, but you know you have a lot left to do. Prioritize your career — after all, your date's not paying your rent.

What if you actually get called into the office? This one's pretty straightforward... You simply can't be in two places at once! It's time to cancel.

Or, f*ck. You just got fired. While you might want to blow off some steam and go tie a few on, chances are you might not be in the best state of mind to connect with someone new. Reschedule your date and call up your besties instead.

Your Health

I'm the kind of person who will fight through a headache or work with a sore throat, and a cold has to fully take me down in order for me not to go about my daily business. That being said, I can recognize that being sniffly from allergies on a first date is majorly not hot. Sometimes you have to take care of Number One, #selfcare.

What if you have a little cold, flu, or mystery headache? Sure, you can pop a few Advil and power through, but while your date might be psyched about proximity to you, they might not appreciate the proximity to your germs, so you better rain check.

Whoops — you're hungover. I once went a movie date super hungover and after I went to the bathroom, I went back to the wrong theater. Once I realized that, I went back to the correct theater but still couldn't find my seat until my date literally yelled my name. I was doing my best, but the room was kinda spinning. Trust me, it was humiliating. Stay home with some saltines and Gatorade until you're back to normal.

Let's say you're having one of those days. If you're simply down, feeling a little depressed, or dealing with a specific emotionally taxing issue, guess what? That makes you human, honey. Take a beat, take care of your brain and heart and reschedule your date for when you feel more solid mentally and emotionally.

These situations are all perfectly acceptable reasons to cancel a date, so keep that in mind should your date cancel on you. In general, bailing at the last minute for a flimsy reason — like you were "rollerblading hardcore" all day is lame, and if you want someone to value your time, you should value theirs. So get out there and have a great date, barring any of the above scenarios. If you need me for anything else, I'll be waiting on my couch for my home invader Romeo to break in.

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