Having a date scheduled for the weekend gives you something to look forward to during the long slog of the work week.
By the time the Friday rolls around, you may already have spent time planning your outfit, mentally preparing yourself to go out, booking a table at a restaurant, and just generally imagining what the evening will be like.
Unfortunately, sometimes all that careful forethought comes to nothing because your date gets canceled.
This can be seriously disappointing, and you may struggle to come up with an appropriate response to your date’s cancellation message.
Before writing something hasty, however, and rather than just not responding, you should think carefully about what it is you want to say to them.
Do you want to try to reschedule the date? Or has this already happened several times and you now feel you disappointed and no longer want to meet up with your date?
Depending on the circumstances of the cancellation, your feelings about it may be very different.
This handy guide will walk you through some of the most common situations in which dates get canceled, and help you arrive at the optimal response to send the person who has bailed on your date.
How to respond to a canceled date
Acknowledge the reason for the cancellation if you are given one. Decide whether you would like to ask about rescheduling the date, and if so, whether you want to suggest a time and place. Consider whether you want to express disappointment at the cancellation, and if so, do so tactfully and politely.
When it comes to a canceled date, every situation is different, and every situation will give rise to different feelings. That said, there are certain markers that can help you decide how best to respond to a cancellation message.
How you respond should depend on the way in which someone cancels a date, the number of times they have canceled a date in the past, the language they use in their message, the reason they are cancelling, how well you know them, and whether or not you would like to see them again.
Here is a list of possible ways to respond to a canceled date, tailored to the specific circumstances surrounding the cancellation.
11 ways to respond to a canceled date
1 Hi, no problem. Would you like to reschedule?
This response is most appropriate in cases where the person cancels without asking for a rain check or proposing a time to reschedule.
It is straightforward and to the point.
While some people may feel offended that the person cancelling on them did not suggest an alternative time to meet, it is entirely possible that they are just busy.
If so, they may have needed to let you know they will not make it to the date that evening, but have not yet had the time to think about another time to suggest meeting up.
Asking your date point-blank whether they would like to reschedule puts the ball in their court to confirm that they are still interested, so that you can be sure you are not wasting your time.
This response is most appropriate when someone cancels a date without asking for a rain check, and you feel that you are not yet sure whether you would like to reschedule the date.
It is always good to confirm that you have received a cancellation message.
Saying “thank you for letting me know,” is a straightforward acknowledgement that you have received the message and appreciate that your date has told you they can’t make it.
Your date will be grateful to you that they don’t have to worry whether or not you have seen their message and might show up to the date anyway!
3 Oh okay. Let me know when you’re free next and we can reschedule.
This response is most appropriate when someone cancels and asks for a rain check, for example, if their message is something along the lines of “Hi, so sorry but I can’t make it tonight. Rain check?”
This is a good response to send someone whom you have already been on a date or two with and know that you would like to continue seeing. However, you could also send it to someone you are scheduled to meet for the first time.
4 Don’t worry, it happens! Are you free another night this week?
This message will help put your date at ease and reassure them that they have not hurt your feelings by cancelling.
This is a good response to a message that is highly apologetic and suggests rescheduling. For example, you might say this if your date cancels by saying “Hi, I am so sorry to have to do this, but I won’t be able to make it tonight as I’ve been put on another shift at the hospital. I was really looking forward to seeing you again! Could we reschedule?”
5 Genuinely don’t worry at all! I can’t this week, but if you have time next weekend, I’d love to see you then.
This is another great response to a genuinely apologetic message. It will put your date at ease by letting them know that you really don’t hold the fact that they canceled against them.
At the same time, however, you are holding your own and are not just agreeing to reschedule for any time they happen to suggest.
By proposing an alternative time that works for you, you are setting clear boundaries and an expectation that your time be taken seriously.
This response is most appropriate to send to someone with whom you have already been on one or two dates, as the tone is familiar and warm.
Oftentimes, the initial emotions brought on by having someone cancel a date will get the better of us and we may end up responding in a manner that is too negative or conveys our hurt feelings too clearly.
If you enjoy someone’s company and want to meet up again, you should take them at their word that they have a good reason for cancelling, and respond in a way that encourages rescheduling another date.
Err on the side of caution and always try to sound a little more easy-going than you feel!
6 Oh, that’s a shame! I was looking forward to seeing you again.
This message conveys greater disappointment than some of the other proposed responses.
While it is not overly negative, it is a clear indication that you had been thinking about and planning for the date, that you had accounted for time in your schedule to see this person, and that you now feel a bit let down by them.
While this response does not exclude the possibility of a further date, it also does not propose one.
In this way, it is placing the responsibility for asking for another date on the person who canceled the date.
This is a good response to use in a situation in which you like the person you were meant to see but are not completely sure about their level of commitment to seeing you.
By making it their job to ask to reschedule the date, you are allowing yourself the opportunity to see whether they will, and if they do, you can take it as confirmation of their continued interest in dating you.
7 Thanks for letting me know. Is everything okay?
This is a good response to someone canceling a date when you are worried that something is wrong.
If someone is vague about their reasons for not being able to make the date, it may be that they are having a problem but don’t feel fully comfortable discussing it without being prompted.
Asking if everything is okay is a kind way to show concern for the person you were meant to be meeting and to show a willingness to help with or listen to what is going on in their lives.
Only use this response if you are genuine in your desire to hear about whether the person you are seeing is okay.
8 Oof, that’s too bad. This is a bit short notice as I’m already on my way to the restaurant.
Mutual respect and trust are an enormously important part of dating and relationships.
While you always want to keep your responses to canceled dates polite, it is also important to be able to clearly say when you feel that something is unfair to you.
This message is a clear way to communicate that the person has put you in an inconvenient situation and has not respected your time.
You may want to show greater understanding if you think your date has genuinely had an emergency come up and has been forced to cancel even though they did really want to see you.
However, if you receive a last-minute message that gives no clear reason for the cancellation or does not seem sufficiently apologetic, it is good to clarify that they have caused you an inconvenience and that you are displeased.
9 I’m sorry you’re feeling unwell. Rest easy and don’t worry about rescheduling at all! How does sometime next weekend sound?
We all have experience with the feeling of guilt that comes from having to cancel on someone because we are not feeling well.
It is therefore always good to take someone at face value when they say they are not feeling well, and not to assume that this is a made-up excuse because they do not want to come on the date.
Start by sympathizing with your date by telling them that you are sorry they are not feeling well, and then propose another time for the date.
If they are sincere in their desire to go on a date with you, they will appreciate your understanding and will be excited to reschedule your date for another time.
10 I understand that something has come up last minute, but this keeps happening. If you still want to meet up, please do make sure the date is at a time when you’re sure to be available.
There is nothing worse than someone who repeatedly cancels plans.
While life is unpredictable and it can certainly happen that people have to cancel things multiple times in a row for entirely valid reasons, if it happens too many times, it begins to feel like a sign of disrespect.
If someone has canceled on you more than once and you would still like to meet them for a date, make sure they know that even though you are happy to reschedule this time, you will not be happy if they cancel on you again.
Being clear about your expectations is a mark of your self-respect and it also sends a clear message to your date that you will not reschedule again, so they will need to make sure they are there at the agreed time and place.
11 I’m sorry to hear you can’t make it tonight. I am a little disappointed as we have already rescheduled several times. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is going to work out for me, but I wish you all the best!
If someone cancels a date with you several times and you feel that they are not prioritizing you or adequately respecting your time, then it is good to be clear that you no longer want to see them.
Explain the reason for your disappointment and state clearly that you no longer wish to meet up with them.
Despite your feelings of frustration, it is always good to maintain a polite and tactful tone. Kill them with kindness!
It is also a good idea to use “I” statements, which allow you to say how you feel without making claims about your date’s intentions.
“I” language is a way to express feelings in an assertive but non-aggressive way, which makes people less defensive and more likely to take on board what you are saying.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.