How to Cancel a Date Without Being a D*ck


The dating game's a confusing one. It can be fun, it can feel like hard work and sometimes it can even feel like you're doing it completely wrong. But when it comes to cancelling the dates you've worked so hard to get, what do you do and how do you do it without looking like a massive d*ck?

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Before we get into this, I just want to say that making then breaking plans all the time isn't what we're saying you should do. We do however understand that sometimes you're just not in the mood to be going out on dates. So for whatever reason it may be - you're not feeling 100%, don't fancy leaving the house or your gut feeling is just telling you 'nah' - knowing how to cancel a date nicely is a trick we all need to grasp.

So, to kick of this how to cancel a date guide, we first need to establish that in the modern world of dating there are a lot of dating habits and so called 'moves' that are confusing. People 'play the field', they go on dates with more than one person (only at the start anyway, we hope) and sometimes they need to cut things off or cancel dates with no major explanation. But there are ways to go about it. Us Idle women think if you know how to politely cancel a date, you'll be ruling the whole dating scene - what's better than that? Well, a few things, but you get what I mean. No one likes being stood up or cancelled on, so if you're really not up to it, and push comes to shove, you're going to have to cancel. Whether it's with a girlfriend, a second date or even when your first blind Tinder date, we'll give you some much needed advice.

Is Ghosting a Thing?

First of all, we'll start with ghosting because the majority of us have either been ghosted or have been the ghoster. For those of you that aren't sure what this is, it's basically the sudden disappearance after any romantic interest. It can be after a date, or even before a date. You may have been chatting for a few weeks and then one day, nothing. It's weird. But in today's society, as much as we don't want to admit it (unless you think it's cool, which it isn't), we've all done it. If you're the ghoster then life's all good, but if you've been ghosted then a thousand thoughts start to run through your mind. This ghosting thing has really caught on, but why? Why do we think this is a good idea?

Do people ghost to protect other people's feelings? Is it simply just an acceptable thing to do in the modern day dating scene? Sometimes, hearing nothing may actually be better than being told you're not good enough, or that they've met someone better. So, what are the rules of ghosting? If the dates were really casual then we may even say yes, to some extent, you can ghost. But if you've been seeing someone for more than two or three weeks and gone out on more than two dates then ghosting is a definite no. You need to tell them nicely that you don't think you should see each other again. So how do we do this?

Ghosting or cancelling last minute isn't cool

The Excuse

Along with when you decide to cancel, how you do it is just as important. The excuse is key, so thinking up an extravagant lie when all you're really doing is chilling at home or you're double booked isn't going to go down well. So the real point here is therefore, should you lie or be honest? Well, to some extend yes, you don't have to tell us the whole truth. If you have the sh*ts then please don't tell us that - just say something along the lines of 'I'm not feeling too good so would we be able to rearrange, I'm so sorry'. Disclaimer: Only mention the word rearrange if you are actually going to rearrange (we'll come to the whole rearranging situation later on).

How to cancel a date when you are sick can be a tricky one because no-one really knows if you're being sincere or not. How do we know if you're lying or if you're just saying that so you can go out with the boys? Obviously being honest and telling us that you are ill is acceptable and we won't completely hate you for it, but if you are lying and we find out you've cancelled for other plans then we won't be happy. On the other hand, if you aren't sick and you just don't fancy going on a date then the first thing to remember is that standing someone up isn't cool. Nor is waiting till the last minute to let us know (again, we'll get to this).

You need to leave ample time and you need to be honest, ish. We don't want to hear some brutal reason why you're not coming, but simply saying 'hey sorry I haven't messaged, but if I'm gonna be honest I don't think there's much between us and I don't want to waste your time' is a good one. Or something along those lines.

How Late is too Late to Cancel a Date?

You've kind of got an excuse lined up, but now you need to know when you should do it. Personally, I would say that having a date cancelled an hour or two before definitely sits under the same umbrella as being stood up. You've had all day, or even all week to cancel and give whatever excuse you've come up with, so why leave it to the last minute? Save your date the annoyance and cancel in good time. As a rule (and as a girl), we would suggest that if you're not feeling the date then give us one or two days notice, or just as soon as you realise you don't want to go. If you leave it until only a few hours before, we'll just think that you're a d*ck and probably say something stupid and (if we're all being honest here) be a bit bitter. So, to save you looking like the bad guy, here's how to cancel a date you don’t want to go on.

If you do need to know how to cancel a date last minute then firstly, your excuse better be good. If you're ill then fair enough, we'll let you off. If you're just not in the mood and don't want to go then you need to firstly think of a very believable and nice message to send. Secondly, you need to sort yourself out! You've had all week to cancel, so why are you doing it last minute anyway? The latest you should aim to cancel a date should range from the the morning of, to two or three days before. This way they have time to get over it. They can make other plans and they're not left feeling like a tw*t. It's simple and as easy as that.

Don't waste their time and be honest

Should You Rearrange?

The excuse is being worked on and you know when you're going to tell them, but should you attempt to rearrange or are you just going to do the same again? Well, first things first: only rearrange if you do actually want to see them. Don't waste their time or lead them on, because what's the point? You've now learnt how to cancel a date with a girl, so don't waste your efforts. You need to figure out if you do actually want to see her in general. Rearranging as part of your cancellation excuse is always comforting, but it's not ideal when nothing actually gets done about it. It can be really easy to say 'can we do it another time as I'm really tired after work all day' and then just ghost them until you think they've forgotten. But don't do this if you know you're not planning on seeing them ever again.

How to Cancel a Date with Someone You Like

This can actually be fairly easy because you do genuinely like the person, and hopefully you'll be able to tell them the truth without sounding like a liar. If it's your girlfriend then yes, go ahead and be honest, tell them you want to see your mates or you want to have a night on your own. We can't jump to conclusions that they'll be fine, because you're still going to let them down. You still need to be nice and apologetic about it.

Knowing how to cancel a date with your girlfriend can be key in any relationship, because obviously you do like each other, but we all love some time on our own. We've all had days when we don't want to speak to anyone and where all we want is our own company. It's like when you make plans with your friends - at the time it's a really good idea, but it gets to the day and you just don't want to go. You want to sit at home, chill out and eat all the food in the cupboards. So how do you cancel this date? You can be honest if you know you two are are in a fairly solid place. The best thing to do is text or call and explain that you just want to be on your own, and if you continue to send the odd text throughout the evening this will help - just so they know you're still thinking about them and not off doing something you shouldn't.

Don't just date for the sake of it

How to Cancel a Second Date

So you've had the first date and it went well. You arranged to see them again because why not? But now it's come to it, you've realised that actually there wasn't really a spark and you think it'll be a waste of both your time and money. Well fair enough, we don't blame you, it's better to nip it in the bud I guess. You could either call them and awkwardly explain over the phone that you're not feeling it, or you could learn how to cancel a date via text. It's a simple way to get out of it (thank you, digital age), and this way you don't have to physically see their reaction and disappointment. So to help, we've got a few example messages up our sleeves. You're welcome.

How it Should Be Done

To finish off this (hopefully) helpful guide, here are some Idle women approved cancellations. All you need to do is pick the one that you relate to the most, change a few words to make it appropriate to you and you'll be out of the date in no time.

  • How to cancel a first date - First dates always seem awkward at first thought, but you've arranged one for a reason, so you just need to remember that. Get over the fear and go! We're not even going to give you an excuse. Get yourself in the game.
  • How to cancel a tinder date - For this one you can more obviously lie, but we're not talking your house catching fire or something. Go for the classic "I'm feeling a bit ill, I've thrown up and don't want to pass it on! Sorry." This is OK only on Tinder grounds as you usually don't know them, probably won't ever see them, and they should almost always get the hint.
  • How to cancel a date with a friend - This could be awkward. Honestly is probably the best policy here if you value your friendship at all. "I'm not really feeling up to it today, definitely see you soon!" is a good shout. With this, you actually do have to see them soon.
  • How to cancel a blind date - This one you don't actually know how it'll go and you can't even blame it on not wanting to see the person because you don't know them. You can only really cancel this one if your sick or double booked. Just don't be put off by the fact it's a blind date because they could be the best person you've ever met. We'd go with: "I'm so so sorry, but I've just remembered I'm meant to be out for my friends birthday dinner! Sorry again that I've had to cancel."
  • How to cancel a valentine date - This is a bad one in general. No one wants to be cancelled on on Valentines Day, but if you really have to, you have to be super apologetic and promise another date ASAP. Don't leave her completely hanging! Something like: "Hi so sorry somethings come up really last minute. Would be be able to rearrange and i'll make it up to you. I promise!" would work.
  • How to cancel a movie date - Does this mean Netflix and chill? or does it mean Netflix and chill? To be fair, sitting in silence for two hours is fairly intense, so we'll forgive you if you want to cancel. Maybe suggest an alternative like 'Hey shall we go for a drink tonight instead?" This way, if it's going badly, you can make a quick escape.
  • How to cancel a coffee date - This one will usually be a day date, so the excuse of "I'm really busy with work" will be acceptable. Who's ever really free in the day anyway?

Learning how to cancel a date nicely is a skill we all need

On That Note

So, do people need closure and a reason when they get cancelled on? Of course they do! If you cancel a date, be as honest as possible and try not to just ignore them. Being left on 'read' isn't going to give you a second chance. If you attempt to nicely cancel the date in good time and with a good reason, then you never know, you could retain your second chances. So, now that you know how to cancel a date without being rude, you can go ahead and enter the dating game with confidence. There's just one thing we'd like you to know: If you know you don't want to date the person from the start, don't arrange a date in the first place. It'll save you a lot of time, embarrassment and awkward moments. Trust us.


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