One more hour until your date. You’re dressed for success with your prettiest outfit, and you’re all set to go. You’re about to head out the door when suddenly someone texts “OMG I have an emergency!” or “I’ll need you to stay and finish this tonight. –Your boss.” Or maybe you’re starting to regret having Taco Bell for lunch, or worse, you’ve got cramps so terrible you can barely get up.
But what about your date? Well, it’s time for you to learn the subtle (and hopefully not frequently used) art of cancelling your date at the last minute.
Here’s what you need to do.
Call, don’t text. When you know you can’t make it to your date, give him a call instead of texting him. A text feels more like an afterthought – something you would do to tell him something nonchalant – and you should know that a last minute cancellation is no small matter. Think about it: he’s probably been looking forward to your date for the past couple of days. He might have gotten his best dinner jacket dry cleaned. He probably cancelled his rare get-together with the boys just to go on a date with you!
So please, give him a little more respect than a text like “Hey, can’t make it. Sorry.” Call him up, apologize first, and then tell him in the most earnest way possible that you can’t make it to your date.
Let him know you can’t make it ASAP! Tell him now, come up with a good way to explain it later. We know it’s hard to come up with the best reason over the phone, but the longer you hold it off the more dejected he’s going to be – especially if he’s already on his way to your date! As much as possible, if you will cancel, let him know as soon as you know you can’t make it. Talk it over with him and consider this step below…
Must you really cancel? Maybe you can just reschedule. If your boss asked you to stick around until 8, you might be able to still go on that date albeit a little later. After all, a rescheduled date is better than completely bailing out on him. If you’re really into him and he’s really into you, believe us when we say that waiting a couple more hours just to see you for a bit is worth waiting for.
On the other hand, if a later time won’t work out, at least you tried to still somehow make sure your date pushed through, right? That would earn you a couple of extra points in his book. Of course, a cancelled date is still a cancelled date, and rescheduling isn’t going to cut it.
Empathize. Being stood up is one of the worst feelings in the world, especially if you’ve been expecting to see someone for a while. Put yourself in his shoes and imagine what he might be feeling when he finds out why you can’t make it to your date. He might be thinking you never had any intention of going out with him. He might be thinking you don’t like him. He might be thinking that you’ve found a better thing to do than go out with him. All those things running through his head must suck!
Why are we asking you to empathize? It’s so that you can know a way to approach the situation. You can suit your apology and your explanation to how you think he might be feeling. You can start off by telling him things like “I promise I’m not doing this to mess with you,” “I really wanted to go on that date, and it sucks that I can’t make it,” or “I really would rather be out with you than doing all this paperwork.”
Apologize. As we mentioned, no date cancellation would be complete without an apology. Even if you don’t really want to go out with him or you simply can’t be bothered to go out, the guy still deserves an apology. He spent time and effort to try and make it to your date, and the least you can do is to say sorry that you have to cancel.
Amp up the cuteness. No doubt the guy would be dejected when he finds out he won’t be seeing you tonight. So to at least make him feel like he matters and that you didn’t mean to get his hopes up, apologize in a way that you know is endearing to him.
Now what’s endearing to one guy might be annoying to the next, so you really need to know this guy before you start acting all cutesy. If he’s the type who likes romantic quotes, you can follow up your cancellation with a quote like “Love (if you’re already at that phase) is not measured by how long you wait. It’s about how well you understand why you are waiting.” If he’s more into music, sing him a line from the classic 90s song Will You Wait for Me by Kavana. Whatever you think will get him on his good side is a good idea.
Reschedule. The minute he hears “I can’t make it” he might already be thinking that he won’t be seeing you again. Assuage his fears by offering to reschedule. And when you say you want to reschedule, actually follow up on it by giving suggestions for your next date. Don’t just say something like “Sorry, I can’t make it. Gotta do overtime. I’ll text you.” That leaves him with no reassurance that he’ll see you again.
Instead, suggest a place and an activity that you’re sure he’d like. After all, you kind of do need to make it up to him because you stood him up. If you don’t know what he would like, ask him if there’s anywhere he would like to go next time and promise that you’ll be there with him then.
Cancelling a date last minute is filled with awkwardness and a little anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be as nerve-wracking when you know what you should say.