There come many times in your dating life when you inevitably have to cancel it. Perhaps you are sick or you have a family emergency to attend to. What if you get cold feet all of a sudden? You can’t just drop an “I can’t make it” text last minute. That’s considered rude. So, how to cancel a date politely? Let’s find out.

You’ve agreed to a date but now you are feeling uncertain about it. To avoid hurting your date’s feelings, you need to be sweet, humble, and polite to avoid causing any hurt feelings and resentment.

There are some canceling plans etiquette you need to learn and keep handy during such circumstances when you can’t make it to the date.

Canceling A Date? 10 Tips To Do It Right

Before we find out how to cancel a date over text, it’s important that you apologize sincerely. Show them that you regret making the plans and ditching them at the last moment.

Don’t take them for granted and cancel plans without any solid reason. That only makes you an emotionally immature human being.

Here are some do’s and don’ts when trying to reschedule a potential date:

1. Notify them as soon as possible

How to cancel a date politely? Notify them as soon as possible. Don’t wait till the last moment to cancel. When you cancel early, it will give them some time to make new ones. They will at least hang out with their friends instead of sulking over you. 

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2. Apologize sincerely for causing any inconvenience 

If you are going to cancel a date over text, then apologize to your upcoming date sincerely. Say you are sorry for canceling plans and express sincere regrets for causing any inconvenience in their schedule. 

3. Offer to reschedule 

When you are trying to avoid going on a date with someone due to emergency reasons, show them that you aren’t lying.

Tell them you have their best intentions in mind and offer to reschedule.

Let them know you are available on so and so date. You can also tell them the reason for canceling the upcoming date. 

4. Be understanding of their reaction 

If they get furious and lash out, accept their response. Let them ignore you because it’s natural to get mad during such circumstances.

If they say hurtful things, don’t say it back. Understand their frustration and walk away from that situation. 

5. Don’t make lame excuses

You can cancel a date because you’re sick but when you try to decline a date last minute, don’t make lame excuses like “Oh I have to catch up with Game of Thrones today” or “I have to go home and water my plants”.

This won’t sit well with your potential date and will create a lot of problems. 

6. Do not ghost them 

Ghosting is one of the worst things you can do when you are trying to cancel a date. It will hurt the other person’s feelings and it will clearly let them know that you were never interested in them.

Instead, drop a message and politely cancel a Tinder date. 

7. Don’t blame them for anything

“You are too loud and that’s why I am calling the date off” or “You aren’t the right match for me because you are a vegetarian”.

All this blame-shifting isn’t required here. Don’t go into the details of why you are canceling the date. Just say you can’t make it because of an emergency and you deeply regret not meeting them. 

Canceling a date at the last minute

8. If they offer alternative plans, be flexible 

If they offer another date or if you have promised to meet with them again, then stick to your words and be accommodating with the alternative plans.

It doesn’t matter how busy you are on that day but you have to show up no matter what. Be punctual and offer to pay for the meal. 

9. Don’t keep canceling them

It’s justified when you have reasons to cancel a date. However, canceling on them again and again after promising to show up is unethical.

It will cause a lot of unnecessary stress for them and it will prove that you are a terrible and immature human being incapable of sticking to your words. 

10. Don’t downplay their feelings 

If your new date is hurt by your actions, then take responsibility for hurting them instead of acting like it’s all cool. Do not undermine or downplay their feelings.

Their disappointment in you will know no bounds is you try to invalidate their hurt feelings. 

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How To Cancel A Date Last Minute? 

The earlier, the better. It’s as simple as that. Here are some examples to cancel a date last minute:

If it’s a work commitment: 

“Hey. I genuinely apologize for canceling our first date, but I just found out I have to stay late at work tonight to finish an important project. I was really looking forward to our dinner plans, but I won’t be able to make it. Can we reschedule for another night this week?” 

If it’s a family emergency: 

“Hi. I hate to do this last minute, but there has been a family emergency and I need to be with them tonight. I hope you get it. Can we plan to meet up next weekend instead?

If you are feeling unwell: 

“Hey. I am feeling sick all of a sudden and don’t think I’ll be up for our movie date tonight. I am really sorry to cancel on you like this. Would it be possible to reschedule for another time?

If it’s a travel delay:

“Hi. My flight got delayed unexpectedly and I don’t think I’ll be able to make it on time for our date tonight. I deeply regret any inconvenience caused but I am stuck at the airport and I don’t know what to do. I really like you and don’t want you to think that this is just another lame reason to ditch a plan. I hope you get it. If you do, then we can definitely plan another date soon.” 

You always need to personalize your message because that shows you aren’t toying with their emotions. Provide them with all the details of your life if you genuinely like them and want to give this a shot. You need to be honest and be respectful while offering to reschedule the date.

how to cancel a date without rescheduling

How To Cancel A Date Without Rescheduling? 

When you are trying to decline a date last minute with no intentions of rescheduling whatsoever, you need to be careful with your words so you don’t end up hurting them. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Clearly let them know your decision to cancel without leaving room for ambiguity. For example, “I wanted to let you know that I won’t be able to make it to our date tonight” 
  2. Avoid over-explaining and getting into unnecessary details. Keep it short by simply stating your decision respectfully 
  3. Sandwich the rejection with compliments. Thank them for understanding and for their understanding of the situation. For example, you might say, “Thank you for understanding. I appreciate your understanding and support
  4. Don’t leave them hanging and make it clear that you won’t be rescheduling by not suggesting or implying future plans. 
  5. Offer explanation if the other person asks for it 
  6. You can leave the door open for future communication if that’s what the other person also wants but never lead them on

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Here are some examples:

  • “Hey there. After giving it some thought, I don’t think we are a good match. I need to cancel our plans tonight. I am sorry for any disappointment this may cause”
  • “Hey. I have realized I am not ready to pursue a relationship right now. I think it is best to cancel our date tonight. I hope you understand.”
  • “Hi. I have decided to focus on other priorities in my life at the moment. I need to cancel our plans tonight. Wishing you all the best. I hope you don’t hold a grudge against me”
  • “Hey. I have reflected on things and I don’t think we are a good fit. I am canceling our date tonight. Take care.”
  • “Hi. I appreciate getting to know you, but I don’t see us moving forward romantically. I don’t feel comfortable with you and I need to cancel our plans tonight. I hope you understand.” 

Best Text Excuses To Cancel A Date

While canceling a date via text, you need to understand that the other person will feel hurt because of your actions. That’s why you need to be sincere with your words. Here are some examples of text excuses that convey sincerity and consideration:

  • “Hello. I just found out I have to stay late at work tonight because my colleague fell sick and I have to cover his shift. I am really sorry, but I won’t be able to make it to our date. Can we reschedule for another day this week?”
  • “Hey. I am so sorry but my car broke down unexpectedly and I don’t think I’ll be able to make it on time tonight. I apologize for the inconvenience and I promise this won’t happen moving forward. Can I call you later to figure out another time?” 
  • “Hi. Something unexpected came up and I can’t skip it. I hope you get it. I know we have developed a good romantic connection and I want to pursue it. We can definitely meet again tomorrow but if you don’t want to, I completely understand”
How To Cancel A Date Because You Are Unsure?

How To Cancel A Date Because You Are Unsure?

Here are some example texts you can use to cancel a date because you are unsure:

  • “Hey. I have been thinking a lot and I am feeling uncertain about going on our date tonight. I apologize for the late notice, but I think it’s best to take some time to sort through my feelings right now.
  • “Hi. I have been reflecting on things and I am not sure if I am ready for our date tonight. I am sorry for any emotional damage this has caused. Can we talk about this more when we both have some time?”
  • “Hey. I hope you get it, but I am feeling unsure about tonight’s plans. I think it’s best to cancel for now. It’s only fair and justified if you don’t ever want to talk to me but let’s touch base soon to figure out the next steps if you like me too but just aren’t certain about taking things to the next level.”
  • “Hi. I am really sorry for any disappointment this may cause but I think we need to take a break. Of course, I understand your anger and disappointment in me but I think I need a bit more time to figure things out.” 
  • “Hey. I have been thinking and I am feeling unsure about tonight. I am sorry to cancel last minute, but I think it’s important to be honest with you. Can we revisit our plans when I have more clarity? Perhaps we can get to know each other a little better before we decide to meet in person?”

If they respond negatively to your text messages, then they’ve taken this cancellation to their heart. That’s okay. You can accept their reaction and give them some time to process it.

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Text Messages To Postpone A Date

Listed below are some examples of text messages to politely postpone a date:

  • “Hey. I just realized I have another appointment tonight. They’re both clashing at the same time. I am really sorry for the late notice. Can we reschedule our date for another day that works for you?”
  • “Hi. something unexpected came up and I won’t be able to make it tonight. I apologize for any inconvenience. Are you available to meet on Sunday instead?”
  • “Hey. I have had a hectic day and I don’t think I’ll be able to give our date tonight the attention it deserves. Can we push it to Monday instead?”
  • “Hi. I am feeling under the weather and I think it’s best to reschedule our plans for tonight. I hope you understand. How about tomorrow night? Or whenever you’re free?” 
  • “Hey. I just realized I have a family commitment tonight that I can’t miss. I am really sorry about this. Can we catch up next weekend instead? I would love to see you and talk to you in person” 

You need to learn how to cancel a date politely because you don’t want to come off as a person who doesn’t value other people’s feelings and time. You need to show empathy and be respectful toward them. Communicate clearly, send a message as soon as you can, express genuine regret. By doing this, you will minimize any inconvenience caused and maintain a good relationship even after canceling the date. Choose your words wisely and don’t react if they curse you for wasting their time.