Your date is MIA, and they haven’t gotten in touch, even though you were supposed to meet 30 minutes ago. It’s official: You’ve been stood up, and it totally sucks. You may start pondering why they didn't show, or at least take 5 seconds to text you and cancel (is that so much to ask?). But experts say that when you get stood up, there’s one crucial step you should take before you start obsessing over why they flaked on you.
It doesn’t matter whether it was a first date or a fourth date: Getting stood up can trigger feelings of self-doubt. While sitting at the bar alone and obsessively checking your phone a number of insecure thoughts may start racing through your mind. “Did they lose interest?” “Why didn’t they want to meet me?” “Was it something I said or did?” It’s completely natural to struggle with all of these questions, but the important thing to remember is that someone’s decision to stand you up often has absolutely nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. That’s why dating expert and Dating.com VP Maria Sullivan says it’s imperative to focus on self-love after being stood up.
As Sullivan points out, you may not ever get an answer as to why your date stood you up. While it can definitely be helpful for getting a sense of closure, the reality is that you don’t have any control over how someone else behaves in a dating context. But you can control how you treat yourself, and after enduring a hurtful experience, the best thing you can do is practice self-love.
“Make sure never to blame yourself,” Sullivan tells Elite Daily. “It isn’t your fault. There could be a million reasons why your date decided to stand you up, and most likely, it is because they were too cowardly to let you know they can’t make it or they aren’t feeling the connection.”
It’s easy to jump to negative conclusions about why your date didn’t show. But Sullivan recommends considering this: Your date may have had to deal with a work emergency or a family crisis, or they may be a bit scatterbrained and simply forgot. To be clear, no matter what your date has going on in their life, you deserve the courtesy of a heads up when they can’t make it. Still, it’s so crucial to remind yourself that there are endless possibilities for why your date bailed.
So, rather than beating yourself up for what you could or should have said or done that might have changed the circumstances, show yourself a little much-needed TLC. There’s a slew of different ways to go about this. For example, you might reach out to a friend and see if they’re free to meet for a drink or chat over the phone. Hashing it out with your bestie can provide some perspective, and hopefully, they’ll have something reassuring to say. Or, you might pull out a journal and make a list of all the reasons why you make a phenomenal date. Being stood up can leave you feeling ultra-vulnerable, so reminding yourself of all your positive qualities is an effective way to build your self-confidence back up.
Another way to practice self-love is to say some positive affirmations. Saying or writing phrases such as “I am worthy of love,” “My heart is still open to love,” and “I will look back on this with gratitude and understanding,” can counteract any negative thoughts about your self-worth, and reinforce the idea that this incident will not define your dating life. The more you say these types of affirmations, the easier it will be to believe them.
Dating comes with all kinds of risks, and getting stood up is one of the most common of all. That doesn’t mean it’s not hurtful, however. The only way to pick yourself back up after this kind of letdown is to exercise self-compassion. That means allowing yourself to feel sad, frustrated, disappointed, while also not allowing yourself to believe that your date’s actions are in any way a reflection of your worth. By showing yourself a little love, you’re also reminding yourself of how you deserve to be treated by any future dates. It’s time to be kind to you — one person you can count on to never bail at the last minute with no warning. Now that’s a love worth celebrating.
Maria Sullivan, dating expert and VP of of Dating.com