By Erika Ettin
Tribune News Service
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Dating coach Erika Ettin has a few lessons for singles out there on how NOT to be a flake.
Tribune News Service
I’ve written before about what it’s like dating in this day and age and how it makes some people much flakier.
That’s not to say that all people are unreliable, of course. In fact, most people are not. But the few who are set a negative tone about dating for everyone. So, today’s lesson is to own up to your actions, respect other people’s time, and don’t be a flake.
Why am I sharing this today? I was having brunch with a friend of mine recently, a wonderful divorced man in his late 40s. He was sharing with me how his dating life was going, pretty well, but he had an experience he wanted to share with me.
He had set up a date with a woman on Bumble on a Tuesday. They confirmed the time, date, and location of the date for that coming Saturday at 6 p.m. (He picked a place convenient for her … yay chivalry!) It was confirmed. That Friday afternoon, the day before the date, he sent this text to her: “Hi Ash, where did this week go?? Not complaining, love Friday. Looking forward to meeting up tomorrow.” To this text, he did not get a response. She should have replied “Me too!” or “See you then!” Or canceled if she had to. But she didn’t reply at all.
At that point, what was he to do? He couldn’t assume the date was off because she hadn’t officially canceled. But he was nervous about going because, in general, a confirmation text would be followed by a response of some kind.
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He did go on the date. She did not. He texted her at the time of their meeting, “Hi, I’m here. Are you here yet?” No response.
Then, some time later, “I think you’re standing me up. If so, blech.” Then finally, “Well. That’s a first. I should have scoped you out better. Good luck.” Let me tell you, he was much kinder than I might have been! He also tried to call to make sure she was okay and see if she was on her way. Voicemail. And she unmatched him on Bumble, as if trying to disappear into thin air.
My friend did everything right, made concrete plans, asked where it would be convenient for her, and confirmed a day before.
Then he got stood up. This is NOT OKAY. He didn’t feel great after she didn’t reply to his confirmation, as I mentioned, but given that they had planned a time and location, of course we went. He couldn’t assume that she wouldn’t be there because then he might be standing her up!
He expressed to me his desire to just quit after this experience. To delete all of the dating apps. Taking a break from dating because you’re burned out is one thing, but quitting because of one person’s bad behavior is not something I’d ever recommend. Don’t let this one person prevent you from meeting amazing ones.
Let me say this as strongly as I can: This behavior is not okay. If you need to cancel, cancel. If you do something stupid, apologize. If you waste someone’s time, own up to it. If you change your mind about someone, tell the person. It’s that simple. Be a good human. Not canceling and not showing is not an option. Below are some rules of thumb for when you need to cancel a date:
1. If you need to cancel the day of the date, call the person.
Yes, call. Just recently, a client told me that her date canceled on her 45 minutes before a date, via text, with nary an apology in sight. Have courtesy.
2. If you’re canceling and you still want to see the other person, then propose a new date at the time of the cancellation.
Without an attempt to reschedule, the person thinks you’ve changed your mind entirely and no longer want to meet.
3. Add an “I’m sorry” into any cancellation.
I received a cancellation recently that read like this: “Hey, Erika. I know how you feel about last-minute cancellations (true!), but I was just notified that on top of having to work tomorrow morning my dad and his girlfriend will be coming over in the afternoon and I have a million chores I need to do around the house before they arrive.” That’s fine. Things happen. But, I read this as “Me me me. I am important. My work is important. My errands are important. Your time isn’t as important.” Just apologize by starting with, “I am so sorry to do this…”
Screens are easy to hide behind, but remember that there is another person at the other end who deserves respect, even if you haven’t met yet.
(Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating.)
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