Oh no! Your date didn’t show up! It’s a nasty surprise that you couldn’t have anticipated, so what should you do now?
If you’ve waited a while in case they’re running late, and it’s become clear that they’re not going to show, you should probably accept that you’ve been stood up. Here’s how to deal with that situation.
(If you keep getting stood up on dates and it’s both upsetting you and confusing you, why not speak to a dating expert to help you diagnose the problem and find potential solutions. Speak to someone from Relationship Hero now to get the answers and reassurance you need.)
1. Don’t panic.
Stay calm. What you’re experiencing right now is not as bad as it seems. Your date didn’t show up, and even if people around you know that (which they don’t), they won’t laugh at you because of it.
Your first reaction may be to call your date until they pick up or desperately stare at the door and flinch every time you think it’s them. Don’t do these things. Remain calm, and if you want to stay, order a drink if possible, and choose one that you like. Enjoy it slowly like it’s the reason you are there.
2. Don’t feel embarrassed.
There’s nothing wrong with being alone, even in a romantic locale. It’s cool, you took yourself out as far as others are concerned. So, just stay calm.
However, know that no one would think that it’s embarrassing that you got stood up. Most likely they’d act friendly and offer kind condolences in addition to helping you conclude that the person who stood you up is a jerk.
So, don’t feel embarrassed, but also know that it’s better if you play this cool and don’t reveal the situation to those around you. That way, you can gracefully leave without anyone knowing why.
3. Send a quick, short message or wait a bit.
If it hasn’t been that long, and you’re not sure whether you’ve been stood up or if they’re just running late, you can contact them. Don’t immediately reach for the phone—this is not the first step.
Wait a bit and only send a quick, short message saying that you’ve arrived to the spot and are hoping that they haven’t forgotten about your arrangement since they’re running a bit late. Mention that you have plans for later in the evening so they know you won’t wait forever.
Just keep your cool, and ensure the message is short and simple. Only send it if you think there’s a chance you haven’t actually been stood up.
4. Control your anger.
You are going to be angry when you realize that you’ve been stood up. How could they do this to you after all those messages and everything you’ve talked about and agreed on? You may feel the need to scream or cry, but try to control your emotions.
Just breathe and enjoy a drink, if possible. Understand that getting stood up is not the end of the world, no matter how great things seemed to be going before this happened.
5. Act casual.
No one has to know about this. So what if you are sitting somewhere alone? No one knows that you’re waiting for someone unless you make it obvious. So chill and act casual. You can pretend that it’s your first time there and look around the place or get your phone out and entertain yourself.
The fact that you’ve been stood up is not going to be the headline of tomorrow’s newspaper, so try to relax. You can deal with your emotions at home later, and, by then, you might have received a response.
For now, try to imagine that you’ve planned to show up at this spot alone and do whatever it is that you would be doing if that were actually the case.
6. Phone a friend.
In need of a rescue squad? Then ring them up if that’s an option. Call your friend and ask them to come join you or just talk about some random stuff. You could even message them to call you about an “emergency” that you urgently need to tend to so that you can safely escape the date that didn’t take place.
But, hey, you can let the world know what happened if you’d like. If your friend comes to join you, then the two of you can enjoy the plans you made with the jerk and badmouth the hell out of them while you do it. It’s a better idea not to make a scene, but as long as you’re not turning heads and provoking awkward stares, whatever you want to say or do is okay.
7. Fake a call.
You don’t need a friend to phone you with a sudden emergency that requires an instant exit. You can always fake a call. It wasn’t ringing? Well, it was set on silent. Make sure to set it on silent too, so that it doesn’t ring when you’re faking it.
Maybe it vibrated in your pocket, you picked it up, and, oh no, it was your friend telling you that they’re at the hospital and they need you immediately. Maybe it’s your neighbor telling you that your dog ran away or your mother asking you to bring her medicine. Sure, why not, if this is how you wanna play it out, do that.
8. Come prepared by carrying distractions.
If the thought of being alone makes you uncomfortable, you could always carry something with you to pass the time. This could be a book, headphones, a laptop, a notebook… Something that you “purposely took with you to use alone because you’re not meeting anyone.”
Then, if they show up, they show up. If they don’t, you’re doing your thing anyway. If you always have something to do, you’re never wasting your time.
9. Date yourself and treat yourself.
All this time, we’ve been discussing ways to avoid appearing as though you are alone on a date, but what’s so wrong with that? You could still enjoy the date. Order your favorite meal, watch a movie, or take a walk… Whatever it is that you planned to do, do it alone and enjoy it.
You could always chat with a friend on your phone if you need to feel connected with someone and not entirely alone. But dating yourself is a fun idea that you should try more often anyway.
Don’t wait for someone to guess exactly what you would like to do, just go by yourself. Hey, you might even meet someone new while you’re at it.
Head to a bar and dance like no one’s watching if that’s what you feel like doing.
10. Know it says something about them, not you.
Bailing on someone like that says something about them, not you. They acted immature and irresponsible. Keep in mind that a valid excuse for this exists on very rare occasions. So, if you hear from your date again, be cautious about their excuse.
Even if they want you back, consider whether you could be with someone like that. They left you alone and put you into an awkward position without even messaging you. What could be that important? If you didn’t hear from them, there was no huge emergency, they just bailed and are coming up with excuses.
11. Don’t make it bigger than it is.
Try to calm yourself down and stay rational. Getting stood up is not such a big deal. Maybe they were nervous, or they really had something important to tend to. It doesn’t matter that much, it’s just that your plans for the day changed.
You’re not the first person in the world to get stood up, and you won’t be the last. Gracefully move on with your head held high.
12. Consider how you will respond to their excuses.
Now, on the off chance that they offer you an excuse, should you believe it? Well, try to remain objective. What would be a believable reason for why they didn’t show up or message you before, during, or after your date?
Unless they’ve been kidnapped by aliens or forgot about your date, there’s not much that could have happened that would prevent them from letting you know about it at some point.
So, if eventually they do offer up an excuse, consider what they are saying and if it would have actually been possible for them to contact you rather than leaving you waiting and wondering.
13. Don’t contact them again.
It’s okay to send one short message, but that’s it. Don’t ask them what happened right now, because you know that they’ll likely just make up an excuse. So relax and put your phone away if you can’t resist messaging them.
Go home and do something else. Try to stop yourself from overthinking the whole thing, and know that they have your number and are aware that you are waiting for a response. That’s all that they need to know right now, and the next move is on them.
Maybe they will ghost you, so be okay with that. Go back to your life, read a book, watch a movie, or play a game. Try not to think about it too much.
14. If you must contact them, stay calm and rational.
Maybe you simply have to contact them. Try to resist, but if you really must, make sure to stay calm and rational. If you are overwhelmed with feelings, put your phone away and wait until you can calmly let them know that they didn’t value your time. Tell them that they could have sent a message because you have better things to do than wait for someone you’ve never even met before.
Let them know how surprised you were and that they broke your trust. Then wish them well and make it clear that you don’t want to hear from them again.
15. See the benefits of the situation.
Always try to look on the bright side of life. Everything in life has its downsides and benefits—even this. What if this person really is just a jerk, and they showed up just to lead you on and break your heart? Maybe they saved you from a very bad, awkward date that you wouldn’t be comfortable with, let alone a relationship that you weren’t meant to be in.
Right now, you need a reason to smile, so consider avoiding a lousy date to be a great reason.
16. Don’t try to schedule another time.
You will probably be tempted to schedule another time for the date and make things more convenient for them. Don’t do this, especially if it’s obvious that you got stood up. Once you’ve sent the first message, it’s their move. They need to suggest another time, not you.
Let them think things through on their own, and rest assured that they have your number if they happen to want to schedule another date.
17. Consider their reasons for doing this.
Why would they bail on you? Well, maybe they were nervous about meeting you. Maybe they’re not a jerk, just someone who was torn about this until the last minute and who is now kicking themselves for bailing on you like that. They’re unsure about wanting to be with you, or they’re generally an anxious person.
On the other hand, maybe they were leading you on all along and just used this opportunity to get an ego boost, in which case they are a jerk. There is an off chance that they genuinely forgot or mixed up the dates, but don’t rely on this as a fact.
Even if this is the case, it shows how much the date mattered to them, and it surely mattered to you more.
18. Don’t leave them dozens of calls and messages.
The worst thing that you could possibly do right now is leave them a bunch of missed calls or desperate/angry messages. This will be the first thing that you’ll want to do, and it will be very tempting to do it, but don’t. Restrain yourself from trying to contact them.
They have your number, and they know where to find you—after all, you’ve agreed to meet there right now. They bailed, and they don’t deserve you begging them to come instead.
19. Don’t think all men/women are the same.
Generalizations are rarely helpful. Don’t start thinking that you’ll die alone and that all men/women are the same. You know that’s not true.
So, fight the negative thoughts and challenge them until you realize that they’re not true. It’s just what your hurt feelings are telling you to believe because, well, it hurts.
The person who stood you up hurt you, but don’t do yourself even more harm than they caused by their lack of care and responsibility.
20. Try to laugh about it.
Could this situation in any way be seen as funny when you tell a friend or future partner about it? Then try to see it that way.
Anything can be funny if you phrase it right, so try to do that for your situation right now, when it matters the most.
Just avoid self-deprecating humor that focuses on your flaws or how undesirable you are—this won’t make you feel any better.
21. Let go of negative feelings.
Getting stood up and being bitter because of it is not the kind of baggage you want to carry on your journey, so let go of it. You got stood up. So what? Maybe they had a reason, maybe they didn’t. There’s a long road ahead of you, and you’re searching for the right match.
If they aren’t that person, it’s good that they didn’t lead you on. Let go of all the resentment and any negative feelings, and try to understand that your destination is still ahead of you.
22. Take a break.
If all this deeply hurt you, take a break from dating for a while. Focus on other areas of your life until you can get back on the horse. If you can’t let go of your overwhelming emotions right now, that’s okay too. Let them out, and even confront the person who bailed on you if you’d like.
However, if it hurts that much, a better choice would be to look at this as a breakup that you need some time to heal from until you can jump into the dating pool again. Not all fish are The Big One.
23. Get back out there.
It’s okay to take a break from dating, but don’t do it because of them, and don’t give up on dating altogether. Maybe this is not the first or last time you got stood up, but so what?
You’re definitely picking the wrong people for you, and you can work on that and get help improving your overall dating experience. Everyone has someone who’s right for them, and so do you—it just takes time and patience to find each other in this messed-up world full of strangers and relationships.
Do you get stood up a lot and want to know why?
We really recommend you speak to an experienced dating expert about it. Why? Because they are trained to help people in situations like yours. They can listen to you and go through your experiences with you to try to identify where you might be going wrong.
A good place to get help is the website Relationship Hero – here, you’ll be able to connect with a dating coach via phone, video, or instant message.
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