In the age of Tinder and WhatsApp, many guys ask me how to respond to a canceled date text. It's very critical because one firey response or one bad emoji and you lost her without even seeing her. In contrast, one cool reply can show her you're a guy who knows how to handle situations like that. And if you know what to say when someone cancels plans, then she'll probably like you even more.
But still, I know it's frustrating when girls cancel on you. You have a date set up and you’ve been looking forward to it for days. You build your night around those plans, and 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 the best response to a canceled date is a matter of being tactful, but your emotions might get the better of you. 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.
What to do if she canceled our date but wants to reschedule
I’d say cool, but I won’t agree on the first time she suggests (unless she’s really sincere) even if I was free.
I want her to know that I respect my schedule too. Sounds a little counterintuitive? Maybe it is. But you don’t want to be the guy who’s dying to meet her and has nothing going on in his life. In fact, you want to lead a life so successful and so busy that you can’t find room for her new date without jinxing your calendar.
This is my best response to a canceled date...
And, as I said earlier, it all goes down to your judgment. If canceling on you wasn’t really her fault, then you can accept her new date. No biggie.
What to do when a date cancels at the last minute
If you do get a last-minute cancelation, what would you say when someone cancels plans this way?
Simply 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. I know it's not easy to find new plans when someone cancels plans last minute, especially when it's at night, but you will find a distraction.
Go hang out with your friends or watch Netflix. You can even pick up your phone and text other girls.
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.”
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What to do if they cancel the date without rescheduling
A canceled date with no reschedule is a pretty big red flag that she's not that into you. 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!
How to respond to a canceled date
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 issue, 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 and confirm the date via text. 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? Don't be that guy.
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 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. She didn't even lead with a "how was your day?" text.
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 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, 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.
How can you prevent a girl from canceling a date in the future?
Her mood, her dog, her family, her stomach… So many variables you cannot control. Still, you can reduce how often girls cancel on you in the future by following these rules:
1. Build enough investment
I like the idea of cutting the crap and closing early. However, with fast closing comes last-minute resistance. She will think it’s too soon to meet without sharing enough of a connection, and so she flakes.
I understand that good sex is the fastest way to get her attached, but sometimes you’re better off knowing what to talk about with her before meeting up.
2. Don’t plan it long ahead
How many times do you say you’ll do something next week and you just forget or stay in bed and binge on Netflix? We do this a lot because life is busy and your attention span is shorter than Dory the fish? And girls are not the exception.
She may like you and want to see you, especially if you've been texting her after getting her number, but because you’ve scheduled the date way ahead you allowed other plans to get in the way. So, when it’s date time, she’s busy doing other things that just happened to be more important.
You’ll think she’s flakey, but in reality, you didn’t consider her schedule from the beginning.
How do you solve this problem? Here are my two cents:
Leave no more than three days between the “let’s go out” message and the actual date
This keeps anything from happening (mostly) because she already knows what’s on her calendar and nothing, except unexpected events, will get in the way.
For example, if I’m planning to see her on Friday, then I schedule it as soon as Tuesday.
Another example: We chat on Sunday and she agrees on the idea of seeing me BUT I’m only free next Saturday (I.e., 6 days later)… What I would do to avoid flakiness is keep it vague, and don’t plan the date until Tuesday. Only then will we plan the time and place.
Occupy her mind long after she agrees to meet you
I often like to exchange a few messages with her even after we plan the date. If the date is Friday and she agrees to see me on Tuesday I don’t let her hang for the following three days. I exchange a few texts/memes with her in the days leading up to the date just to make sure the fire is still going.
Also, you shouldn’t turn off your phone and go to bed once she says yes to the date. This will make her feel that all you wanted was the date (which may be true, but there's no need to be so blunt), so you should talk to her for a while before hanging up your boots. The same thing goes when you ask for a girl’s number in the daytime. Get to know her a bit before asking her out on the date so she doesn't feel like she's going out with a total stranger.
Try not to plan anything after Sunday
Sunday is often seen as the end of the week. After that, everything is a clean slate until Monday rolls around and she gets a clear picture of what her week will be like. So if you want to plan a date on Wednesday, try to set it up on Monday. Who knows, it might even brighten up her Monday blues and she'll agree to you immediately.
Likewise, if you feel like the timing is right while you're chatting on a Friday night, try to set up a date on Saturday or Sunday. A date the next Monday will feel a little too "next week" and she might see it as too far away to plan for.
How you should reply to a canceled date text
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 by following these tips:
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 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 the 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.
Keep it open-ended if you're not that into her anyway
Doesn't it suck when a girl you're not that into suddenly cancels on you? Well, it happens and it might also be a sign that she's not that into you as well. What you can do is just give her a gracious, polite answer and leave it at that.
"Ah, gotcha. Let's meet up another time."
"No problem. We can reschedule."
"That's fine. Let me know when you're free."
If she doesn't take you up on your offer to set up a date at another time, then it's okay since you don't have to worry about texting her after the date. But if she does try to set up a specific date, it might mean that she likes you more than you thought. And who knows, you might end up liking her more once you meet up with her.
How you should respond if she cancels the date again
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 cancels on that third one too, it’s pretty clear there’s no genuine interest. There is 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 some time you can let me know, otherwise, this isn't going to work out.”
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.
How you reply to a canceled date text says a lot about who you are. You can reveal your mean, petty side by berating her for wasting your time. Or you can show her that you're a good guy who doesn't take a canceled date too personally. If you opt for the latter, you're much more likely to land a successful date in the future.