How to Cancel a Date Politely: Our Top Tips (With Text Examples) for Rescheduling or Canceling a Date Table of Contents How to Cancel a Date in a Nice Way How to Cancel a Date via Text - Real Examples Final Thoughts Canceling a Date: FAQs It’s not going to work out. At least, not this time. You’re scheduled to go on a date with someone. The plans have been made, the time’s been set, and the butterflies in your stomach might have been doing a wild dance ever since. But something has come up now, something you can’t postpone—and so you have to cancel a date you’ve been looking forward to, and want to make sure you don’t come across as rude. Or maybe you’ve realized this isn’t what you want, or you’re not over your ex yet, or you’ve been overcome by an intense fear of commitment and fled to a remote island just to get some space from dating. It happens to the best of us. There are a million reasons why people might have to get out of a date, and it’s never a pleasant situation. While one party can feel very guilty, the other person’s ego might be hurt—not to mention the inconvenience of a disrupted schedule. But canceling a date doesn’t have to be a gut-wrenching experience. You can actually cancel a date pretty easily, and guess what—nothing bad will happen. There is a certain way to pull this off, however. But before we jump into the particulars, make sure you know why you’re canceling the date. If you’re looking for excuses to get out of a date because you suddenly got cold feet and are afraid of love, why not take a moment to unpack your feelings before you back out? If you have a great connection with someone—even if you’ve only chatted online so far— a fear of commitment might impact your happiness in the long run. It’s hard to rebel against fear, but perhaps love is exactly what you need right now. After all, love is said to heal all wounds. How to Cancel a Date With Kindness In an era of ghosting, it can be tricky to cancel a date in a polite way. The easiest course of action would be to not show up. Leave them on “read,” so to speak. But what if you were in the other person’s shoes? Sitting alone at a table for two, “read” glaring at you from your phone screen. The situation doesn’t look as easy anymore. Being stood up not only wastes your time but can also have a huge impact on how you feel about yourself and about dating in general. By turning down a date politely, you’re actually saving the other party a lot of trouble. That’s a win-win situation. What’s more, canceling a date doesn’t have to completely ruin things. Only 13% of OkCupid members think canceling a date is a dealbreaker, which means that as long as you go about it the right way, your relationship can still blossom. So, how do you cancel or postpone a date politely? Cancel as Soon as Possible Respect is everything in relationships. This goes for people you’ve met only on a dating app as well. You never know where your match will lead, so make sure to show respect from the beginning. We all have busy lives with a lot going on, and when you cancel a date well in advance, you’re making things much easier for the other party. They can make other plans instead. A Phone Call, Voice Message, or a Text? If you’re not about to see your date in person anytime soon (or if you’ve never met before), decide if you’d like to send them a quick text or make a phone call. We know, we know—who even makes phone calls nowadays? Still, a call might be more personal because you get a chance to express your regret in the tone of your voice, and it also builds a foundation that’s set on real conversations, not just texts. Voice messages are a great option if you want to revise what you’re going to say and get everything just right. If you’re planning to reschedule, sending a quick voice message on WhatsApp or Messenger signals you’ve gone the extra mile to apologize and establish a connection. Texts can be a great option, too! They’re nice, quick, and convenient. Be Honest and Considerate Honesty is vital. Not only does honesty show respect and trust, but it also makes you come across as an authentic person with a solid set of principles. Never be inconsiderate or inadvertently rude just for the sake of brutal honesty, though. If the reason for canceling might hurt someone’s feelings, we suggest you disclose only the most important information. Saying you just don’t see it working out should be enough. Sometimes, less is more. A Sincere Apology Saves the Day Leading with an apology is crucial. According to Elizabeth Scott, PhD, apologizing sincerely leads to positive outcomes for a number of reasons: You’re giving the person you’ve turned down a sense of dignity because you’re fully taking the blame. You’re showing how bad you feel about this kind of behavior, which in turn helps you look like the kind of person who doesn’t typically cancel dates. You’re demonstrating you know what the rules are—that it’s bad to back out of a date—and that you dislike breaking them, too. A proper apology can go a long way. How to Cancel a Date over Text - Examples Perhaps you’re too busy, or you just hate phone calls with a passion. No matter what the reason is, choosing to cancel a date via text is more and more common nowadays. And that’s okay! Texts are a nice and convenient way to let someone know about a change of plans. Although most of us are pretty good at texting, you can still make some mistakes when canceling a date over text. We’ve compiled a list of real messages you can send in situations just like this. But before we show you how to cancel or postpone a date politely, here are some examples of what not to do: “Not feelin it, maybe some other time.” “Busy, calling a raincheck xoxo.” “Hey babe I can’t make it sos.” Read. Ouch. Getting a text like this after being excited about a date might be pretty high on a list of situations that make you feel like crap. Instead of shooting a half-hearted text that doesn’t express any regret whatsoever, here are some more considerate ways to cancel a date: You Can’t Make It But Still Want to See Them You’ve been looking forward to the date, but something important has come up. There’s nothing you can do except cancel. Why not reschedule straight away? Example: “Hi, I’m so sorry to do this because I’ve been really looking forward to seeing you next Wednesday! Sadly, I can’t make it this time because something really important came up (*or insert an honest reason here*). I’d love to see you another time, though! Are you free next weekend? It’s okay if not, we can reschedule for when you have the time. Again, I’m very sorry.” You Need to Friendzone Them, Politely You’re just not feeling it. You’ve tried to show all the friend zone signs, but they’re still under the impression it might work out romantically. Honest communication might do the trick. Example: “Hi there, I’ve been thinking about our situation, and I just don’t see it working out for us as a couple. I hope you understand. I don’t want to lose you as a friend, but if you’d rather part ways regardless, I totally understand.” You’re Not Ready to Date It’s great to have time to yourself sometimes, especially if you haven’t gotten over your ex or you’re too busy focusing on other aspects of your life. Example: “Hiya, I just wanted to tell you I really enjoy talking to you, but I don’t think I’m ready for anything serious at the moment. I’m sorry! I’d like to focus on myself. We can always stay friends or keep in touch if you’d like!” You Have to Cancel a Date at the Last Minute Your day’s been a disaster, things have piled up suddenly, there’s been an emergency, you’re feeling sick, or you just can’t make it today. While it’s not ideal to cancel a date at the last minute, there’s always a way to do it with kindness. Example: “Hi! I’m so very sorry, I hate to do this at the last minute but something unexpected has happened (*or insert an honest reason here*) and I just can’t make it today. I would much rather go out with you, I was really looking forward to it. I hate to disrupt your day in this way! Again, I’m sorry.” You’re Too Scared to Date Maybe you’re afraid of commitment, or perhaps you suffer from social anxiety and just the thought of going on a date makes you want to cry. There are a lot of aspects at play when you decide to turn down a date after saying yes. Before you cancel, we recommend you try out some tactics that might help you overcome your fear of dating. Research has shown that getting out of your head and practicing curiosity might help you feel more at ease on a date. But if you really feel you have to cancel, here’s an example of how you can do so lightly. Example: “Hi, I hope you’re doing well! I’m really sorry but I can’t make it to our date. ☹ I think you’re lovely and would still love to meet up at some other point!” The temptation to make excuses not to date someone is strong, but remember: less is more. If you don’t want to disclose the real reason, you don’t have to specify anything! Final Thoughts While canceling a date is never a great situation, it doesn’t have to be a dealbreaker. Life happens, and most people will understand your reasons as long as you show them respect, treat them with dignity, and don’t make up far-fetched excuses to get out of the date. Be considerate, be kind, be authentic. If you stick to the rules above, canceling a date will never be an issue. Are you still looking for that special someone? Go ahead and download OkCupid. You never know—maybe your new match will lead to amazing places. Canceling a Date: FAQs How to cancel a first date? Canceling a first date doesn’t have to be a big deal. Always make sure to apologize, express regret, and offer to reschedule if you’d still like to see your date. Is it okay to cancel a date? Only 13% of OkCupid members think canceling a date is a dealbreaker. If you have to cancel your date, be polite and considerate. Most people will understand that life sometimes gets in the way, and they’ll agree to meet up some other time. What are some great excuses to get out of a date? It’s best to be honest when you can. If your reasons might hurt the other person’s feelings, try to disclose as little information as possible. Saying you don’t see them that way should be enough. How to reschedule a first date? Lead with an apology. Explain your reason and offer to reschedule straight away. Make sure to follow up and show availability. I’m not feeling well and my date thinks I’m lying. What should I do? Trust is a core aspect of every healthy relationship. Explain your situation in the most sincere way possible and ask to reschedule if you’re not feeling well. If your date refuses to trust you, it might be a red flag.