How To Reply To A Canceled Date Text And Move Forward

Man replying to a cancelled date with a textYou have a date set up and you’ve been looking forward to it for days. You build your night around those plans, then just before you start getting ready to head out . . . she cancels. We’ve all been there and we’ve all dealt with the frustration that comes with it.

Learning how to deal with a cancelation message can be tough. The disappointment stings a little and the knee-jerk reaction is often to reply “whatever” and shut her out. Instead, taking the time to work on how to reply to a canceled date text can be very valuable. It can even potentially recover things and set up another successful date later.

How to reply to a canceled date text

In that moment of frustration and hurt, it can be easy to forget that we all lead complicated lives. Shutting her out for canceling one date is a little short-sighted and might cost you an amazing date in the future.

Cultivating the right amount of patience and understanding can make all the difference in the long run.

Humans are complicated

Try to keep this in mind when you’re figuring out how to reply to a canceled date text. In a culture where we all compete to see who is the busiest, we have to expect things to get in the way sometimes.

She may have had to reschedule an appointment, deal with a family emergency or maybe her friend needs her. Whatever the case, she isn’t doing it to mess with you. In fact, if it’s a first or second date, she barely even knows you. Unfortunately, this makes you a low priority for the time being.

For that same reason, you can’t always expect an explanation. If it’s family related or some other personal topic, she probably doesn’t feel comfortable telling you. When that’s the case, all you’re going to get is a vague text.

This is exactly why I recommend being patient and trying to reschedule. If her cat just died and you ignore her for not going out with you anyway, that’s a bridge you can never rebuild.

Besides, what do you stand to gain by confronting her? Maybe a few minutes of satisfaction and leaving her feeling like a bad person? You’re not ‘that guy.’

Look for some clues

Nobody likes to be taken for a fool and lead on by someone ‘too nice’ to say no. There are a few factors that might suggest she actually isn’t that interested which can save you a lot of time.

Now even if you see these, I’d still suggest treating it as normal the first time. Just don’t be willing to put too much effort in if all signs point to her being a serial flake.

For example, consider the timing of the cancelation. If the date was set up a week ago and she cancels 30 minutes prior, that’s a big red flag. There is still a chance something legitimate just came up but be very wary of this one.

Also, pay attention to the tone of her text. There’s a very big difference between

“Sorry, can’t make it tonight”


“I’m so sorry, you’re going to hate me but I have to cancel tonight. Something really important just came up, are you free Wednesday night? I’m so sorry!”

The nonchalant message is likely a sign of her ambivalence toward the date as a whole. The other example, however, sounds very promising.

Not only does she clearly feel bad about it, suggesting she actually cares, but she’s also offering an alternative plan. That in itself is a huge sign she wants this date to happen, so don’t let the opportunity slip away!

The cancelation is not a personal attack

It can definitely feel like an attack but even if she isn’t interested, it may still have nothing to do with you. She could be getting over an ex or have met another guy recently. As I said earlier, we all lead complex lives and you never know what’s going on in hers right now.

I know I’ve definitely taken a couple of cancelations personally in the past for various reasons. Really, I think it was because the cancelation was like the nonchalant example above. Like she cared so little about me that a five-word text is all I deserved.

The way I deal with these is to either turn my attention to more promising matches or make plans with friends. It’s a good distraction but it also helps me to remember I am valuable and this person wasn’t aiming to make me feel bad. It’s also a positive to get someone out of the way that won’t give you much consideration in the first place.

If you find yourself struggling with this point, in particular, you need to check out BeyondAges’ video dating course. It covers a lot to do with the headspace you’re in and building genuine confidence in dating -- absolutely worth a look.

Don’t sit and dwell on it

If you do get a last minute cancelation, try to avoid spiraling into a pit of self-pity or anger. Instead, allow yourself 10 minutes to feel disappointed and frustrated. Then, move on.

Put on some music, have a shower and make other plans. Go hang out with your friends or watch Netflix. You can even pick up your phone and message some of your other options.

The point is, the longer you sit around and dwell on how bad you feel, the worse it’s going to get. The worst case scenario is you let it really get to you and end up sending a rude message that you’ll regret.

The funny thing is, the better you handle her cancelation, the better you’re going to look in her eyes. “No problem, I was offered tickets to [local event] tonight…” looks so much better than an angry “whatever.”

Offer an alternative plan for another day

Whether you’re into her and hoping to salvage it or just can’t figure her out, this is a great option.

I’ll usually respond to a cancelation like this in some form or another. It lets me know straight away if she’s actually interested or not. It also gives us a fresh plan to work with immediately. No risk of an awkward silence after her cancelation.

Most of the time it’ll be something casual like this:

“No problem, it happens. If you’re down, let's check out [somewhere local] Sunday afternoon instead.”

Normally I wouldn’t leave it so open by saying “if you’re down” when trying to set up a first date normally. In this context though, I want to leave the door wide open for her to bail if she isn’t interested. She doesn’t want to feel pressured into dating me and I don’t want things to be forced either.

Three strikes

I often talk about how much I dislike the arbitrary ‘rules’ in the world of dating . . . yet here’s an arbitrary rule I stick to.

If she cancels on me three times in a row, no matter how attracted I am, it’s time to move on. I’ve never seen anything positive come from trying a fourth time.

The reason I actually stick to this one? Flip the situation around. If a woman invited you out on a date and you canceled the first two times, you’d feel pretty bad, right? If you’re really into her, you’re going to do whatever you have to on the third chance to make that date happen. But if she’s canceling on that third one too, it’s pretty clear there’s no genuine interest. There are plenty of other fish in the sea and other such cliches.

How you choose to handle it from there is up to you. Personally, I don’t like to burn any bridges so I’ll confront her gently and let her know the door is open if I got it wrong. Something like:

“No problem. Honestly, you don’t seem that interested so I kind of expected it. If you want to meet up sometime you can let me know, otherwise, I’ll leave you to your own devices.”

It’s upfront and honest without being mean or getting angry. We’re both adults and there’s no reason I can’t be respectful while also letting her know where I stand.

Sometimes it just seems like she has too much going on for me to be a priority. In those instances, I’m not interested in being her last option so I’ll reply with something like:

“No problem. Seems like you have a lot going on so I’ll leave you be. Let me know if you want to meet up in the future.”

Many guys choose to just ignore the third cancellation and never speak to her again. Not ideal but entirely understandable if you want to go that route too.

Figuring out how to reply to a canceled date text properly

The hardest part about knowing how to reply to a canceled date text is getting your own emotions in check. Once you can do that, handling it effectively isn’t so scary.

While you’re in the process of figuring it out, I’d even suggest writing a response but not hitting send. Give it 20 minutes or so, re-read the message and see if you still think it’s a good idea to send it.

You might be surprised at how much more effectively you can communicate when you’ve taken some time to cool off. Getting canceled on sucks, there are no two ways about that. Just handle the situation as effectively as you can and move on!

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