How To Cancel a Date Without Being an Asshole
Nobody likes to flake on a date, but sometimes life just gets too crazy and you have to raincheck. You might be forced to work back late at work or have a family issue that requires your attention. Or maybe you just can’t be bothered. It is ok to not want to go on a date because you aren’t feeling it or have had a tough day. We have all been there. But canceling isn’t always that easy, especially if you have both been looking forward to the date. How to cancel a date without being a jerk requires you to be as respectful as possible. There are many ways you can go about putting an end to an upcoming date that doesn’t involve you being a dick.
Talking with Bustle, licensed marriage and family therapist, David Strah, explains his first question posed to clients is whether they understand the reason for canceling the date. “Is it because something simply came up, or is it because you don’t think the person is right for you? Regardless, my general rule of thumb when canceling a date with someone is the Golden Rule–treat someone as you would like them to treat you.”
It is hard to argue with Strah’s advice. You want to let someone down in a manner that isn’t going to offend them or make them feel bad about themselves. Strah also stresses three things that you should do when canceling: “be gracious, be clear about your intentions, and wish them well.” Seems only fair.
Date Canceling Etiquette
There are a few things you need to take into account before you fire off your text message telling your date you are no longer keen. Standing your date up is a big no-no, as is letting them know an hour before you are meant to meet. This shows a lack of care and consideration on your part. You can still bail on them by being kind and respectful. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Decide How To Tell Them
Text message or phone call. These are the two most common ways of flaking on a catch-up. If you don’t really give a shit about seeing them again, a text will suffice. If you are still keen, maybe try a phone call. These examples are expanded on a little bit later in this article.
Cancel Within a Reasonable Time
Don’t shoot her a text 30 minutes before your date. Just because you haven’t put much thought into the date doesn’t mean she hasn’t. She could have spent time getting ready to make herself look her best (maybe she even splashed some coin on a haircut or a new dress), while all you do for a date is trade a tee for a shirt and put some product in your hair. If you are thinking of canceling, let her know the day before. Unless an actual emergency has occurred and you have a legitimate reason to cancel the day of, do it at least 24 hours beforehand.
Say You Are Sorry
Be sure to apologize. It is the least you can do. Take responsibility for not wanting to go on the date by telling the other person you are sorry. It is not hard to do and shows you respect them. If someone bailed on you, the least you would want is a short text saying sorry. You don’t need to give them your life story, just a quick sorry and move on. It’s just the decent thing to do.
Give a Reason for Canceling
Along with your apology, write a short sentence explaining why you called the date off. Be truthful. Don’t tell some outrageous lie like you had to save a family from a burning building or were involved in an eight-car pile-up on the freeway. Just give them as an honest answer as you can. Even if the reason is you can’t be bothered, let them know in a way that won’t crush them. Maybe mention you are exhausted from work or stressed about other things in your life. If you still want to see them again, be sure to include this in the text. That way they know you are still keen.
Organize Another Date
If you are forced to bail but still want to see them, organize a follow-up date. Once they have got back to you about canceling, and if they also seem keen to reschedule, try and make a time to meet in your next text. This shows you are still wanting to see them and puts them at ease.
Three Main Methods of Canceling
Technology makes it super easy to cancel a date these days. Shooting off a quick text explaining why you can’t make the date is the best and most efficient method. But for some, a phone call or an actual meeting might be better. We will explain further about these methods below.
The most common way to bail on a date is via text. It only takes a few sentences to get your point across and let your date know that you can no longer make the catch-up. Just be sure not to leave it until the last minute unless you suddenly have to cancel. If you have been dreading the date for a few days, cancel the night before.
For some, a phone call might be the best way to cancel. Only do this if you have been seeing the person for a number of weeks. A phone call after chatting for a few days is a bit weird these days. If you have just got someone’s number recently and the first call you make is to cancel, it isn’t ideal.
“I know a call can be scary because sometimes you don’t know exactly what you’ll say, or you’re worried about whether the person on the other end might convince you to change your mind,” friendship expert Danielle Jackson told Well+Good. “A phone call gives the person a chance to hear your tone and to hear the sincerity and regretfulness, which can make a cancelation easier to accept,” says Jackson.
It doesn’t make a lot of sense to meet anyone in person to cancel a date, so you are probably wondering why it is included as an option. If you have been seeing someone regularly, it is best to tell them face to face. While this is less about canceling a date and more about ending a relationship, the same courtesy applies. Speaking face to face is much better than firing off a text saying “It’s over.”
What To Say When Canceling Based on Your Situation
There are a plethora of different reasons you might want to cancel a date and even more ways to go about it. To help you out, these are some of the reasons you might cancel and what to write. Whether you never want to see the person again or are looking for a rain check, these are the best texts to send.
1. When You Can’t Be Bothered and Don’t Want To See Them
We’ve all been in that situation where we are keen at first and then as the date approaches, you realize they aren’t for you. This is perfectly natural and you should never feel like you have to meet up with someone just because you agreed to a date. If you find yourself in this situation, just be honest and let them know you are sorry for canceling and don’t think you see the two of you getting together. Don’t leave things open-ended as they may think there is still a chance to meet.
- Hey. Hope you are well. Sorry to do this but I have to cancel as I’m just not feeling things. All the best.
- Hi. Just letting you know I’ve been thinking about things and don’t think I am keen to catch up anymore. Sorry to bail and best of luck with things.
2. When Something Comes Up But You Still Want To See Them
Sometimes life just gets in the way. You might be hyped about your date then you find out you have to work late. Or you get a call from your mate who is going through a tough time and needs a shoulder to cry on. There are endless reasons why something could get in the way of your date. If something comes up but you are still wanting to see them, be sure to make this clear in the text. Explain what has happened, apologize, and let them know you want to reschedule.
- Sorry to do this but I’m going to have to cancel tonight as something has come up. Can we reschedule for tomorrow night?
- Bad news. Something has come up and I have to bail on our date. I’m still really keen to meet up though so when are you next free?
3. When You Aren’t Feeling a Connection
You might have been on a few dates and have come to the conclusion that they just aren’t for you. There is no connection, be it mentally, physically, or emotionally. You need to let them know that you just don’t have any romantic feelings. Be sure to use ‘I’ instead of ‘you’ when texting as it implies that you are the problem and not them.
- It has been great getting to know you but I just don’t feel a connection and think it is best we go our separate ways.
- I’m sorry but I don’t see this going any further as I just don’t have any romantic feelings for you. All the best.
- I’ve enjoyed hanging out but there is no connection. I think it is best we go our own ways. Good luck.
4. When You Just Want To Be Friends
Putting someone in the friend zone is never fun. But sometimes a potential romantic connection can become a best buddy. If you feel this way about your date, be upfront about your feelings. If you like them enough to be friends, let them know and see if they are happy to hang out in that capacity.
- It has been great getting to know you but I just don’t feel a romantic connection. That said I do enjoy your company and would love to hang out as friends if you are keen?
- So I’m not feeling any romance vibes but would be down for chilling as buddies?
- I have enjoyed catching up, but I don’t want to give you the wrong idea. Would you be happy to hang out as friends?
5. When You Are Dealing With Personal Issues
You don’t have to go into details about what is happening. It could be something really private to do with your family or maybe you are feeling anxious about the date. Whatever the reason, just let them know you are going through some personal stuff. If you want to see them again, add that, or if you need space, also be sure to express that.
- Some personal stuff has come up and I am going to have to bail on our date. I would still like to hang out again sometime if you are keen?
- Sorry to bail but I am dealing with some personal issues. Can we reschedule?
- I’m going to have to cancel our date tonight. I am going through some personal issues at the moment. I’m not sure how long it is going to take to work through so I think it is best we call things off at the moment. Sorry.
6. When You Realize You Don’t Want To Date
Sometimes it isn’t until we actually organize a date that we realize we don’t want to be dating. Whether you have just come out of a long-term relationship or have been out of the game for a while, it can be quite daunting when you are thrust back into the dating world. If this is the case, be upfront about it. Your prospective date will surely understand and feel much better knowing it is you and not them.
- Sorry to do this but I’m going to have to cancel our date tonight. I just don’t think I am ready to get back into dating and need more time to myself. Good luck.
- Hate to do this but I am going to bail on our date. You seem really great and it has been awesome chatting, but I just don’t think I am ready to date.
- I’m going to cancel tonight. I think you are wonderful but I’m just not ready to date yet. Sorry and all the best.
7. When You Start To Get Strange Vibes
Occasionally you match with someone who seems amazing at first but then small red flags start to go off in your head. Or maybe you went for a date and they came across quite different and gave off a weird vibe in real life. The easiest way to get out of this is by telling them you just don’t feel a connection and don’t think things will go any further.
- I’m going to bail as I’m just not feeling things I’m afraid. Sorry to put you out but I just don’t think I’m that keen to date. All the best.
- I’m not sure we are as compatible as I first thought so I am going to cancel our date. Sorry to mess you around.
The biggest thing to remember when canceling a date is that you treat the other person how you expect to be treated. Be honest with your reasons, apologize for bailing, and be sure to clearly state whether you want a rain check or would rather not see them at all. Texting is the easiest way to get your message across, but if need be, give them a ring. Above all, just be respectful.
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