17 People Reveal Exactly How Many Minutes They'd Wait If Their Date Is Running Late

by Natalia Lusinski
Hannah Burton/Bustle

When a date you've gone out with before is running late, many thoughts might run through your head: Did you get the time and place right? Did they mention they’d be late, and you forgot? Or, worst of all, are they ghosting you?! Should you wait? Not wait? Give them “just five more minutes…” What’s the right thing to do when a date is late?

“If it’s a second date or beyond, by that point, you should be in communication on a more regular basis with your date, so sending a text to say you’re running late is something that one must do,” Julie Spira, CEO, Cyber-Dating Expert, tells Bustle. “Without that, it’s a sign that your time isn’t being respected. In addition, if a meeting ran late or if you’re the one stuck in traffic, ask your date, via phone or text, if they don’t mind waiting 20 extra minutes.”

David Bennett, counselor and relationship expert with Double Trust Dating, also says to base their current “late” behavior with your past date(s) with them. “If you have been out with the person before and have observed that they are normally on time, true to their word, and prioritize time with you, then I would be more lenient with them,” he tells Bustle. “Clearly, their regular and consistent behavior shows that being late isn’t normal for them.”

Bennett also says to pay attention to their reason for being late. “I would accept an excuse that clearly is a result of a difficult situation (for example, an angry business client came to the office right at closing time, so your date was basically forced to stay at work later). So long as your date is apologetic and genuinely working hard to get to your date as soon as possible, I think some understanding is a good idea here.”

However, he also says to watch out if your date seems unconcerned or takes an “It’s no big deal” attitude. “Then, clearly your date just doesn’t value your time or is too self-absorbed,” Bennett says. All that said, here’s how long 17 people would wait for a date they’ve already had at least one date with before.


Jessica, 32

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

“I’ve never had a date (first date or any date) be more than five minutes late. I guess I would wait 30 minutes, or else ask to reschedule. But if we’d already had a first date and they were late for the next one, I would be more understanding if I liked them.”


Asael, 25

“Having lived in a digital age filled with social media, it’s no surprise that we’ve become very impatient people with a hatred for patience! As a gay man, online dating apps (which I think are super #GayCulture) can really affect a plethora of things. For second dates, I'd wait longer than I would for a first date, but probably no more than 45 minutes — unless you’re in constant communication and they’re letting you know why they’re late.”


Brett, 39

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

“For a first or second date, I’d probably wait 20 minutes if there’s no text. We all have phones, so it would be pretty rude if the date didn’t communicate the lateness. But I also know things happen, so 20 minutes is a fair buffer for me. If we’ve gone on more than two dates, it’s a whole other story…”


KM, 25

“If I’m extremely attracted to him, I’d wait 35 minutes.”


Martina, 23

Hannah Burton/Bustle

“For a non-first date, I wouldn’t wait more than 30 minutes unless there’s a [wild] circumstance, but it’s better to reschedule.”


Xander, 36

“I would say that by the second date, you likely have a good enough idea of how you feel about the person to determine how long you’re willing to wait. It depends how the first date went. I mean, if she was super punctual and beautiful and intelligent on the first date, then I would probably wait longer on the second one (but I cannot quantify the time).”


Rebeca, 37

Hannah Burton/Bustle

For a second date or beyond, it’s more about how much I see my date is available. If I say, ‘Let’s go out tonight’ he never says he can’t — he finds a way — I don’t mind if he’s 15-20 minutes late, or more.”


Ale, 28

“For a second date, I’d wait 30 minutes max, but only if the first date went well.”


Kasia, 36

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

“I usually wait no more than 15 minutes for a first date if he’s running late. I might wait a bit longer if it’s a second date, but I need to be notified.”


Mark, mid-40s

“Sometimes, people have a valid excuse for being late. Second date or beyond, I’d wait an hour IF I’m in a place where I can entertain myself or spend time doing something. But if I’m standing on a street and there’s no place to sit and nothing to occupy my time, then I MIGHT wait 45 minutes, but I’ve never had to wait that long. Maybe 30 minutes was the longest I had to wait, in a museum restaurant.”


Denyse, 53

Hannah Burton/Bustle

“If the date was also late for the first one, I definitely would not wait long.”


Lori, 39

“After five minutes, I’ll double check to see if I have the location right. (I once showed up at the right coffee shop on the wrong side of town, so it was my bad that there was a mixed connection and we fixed it quickly). After 20 minutes, I’ll send a text to see if they’re running behind. After 30 minutes, if there’s no word, I’ll create a new game plan: If it’s a great venue, I can stick around and make friends; if not, bonus night with my gal pals. In the event that my date is running late and in communication about their situation, I’ll wait as long as it takes. I’m very selective, and I only make plans with quality people who are worthy of understanding and flexibility. If it were a second date, etc., I would give them more time — even without communication.”


Stacy, 26

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

“If I have met the person before and feel like I know them well, I will wait up to 45 minutes without hearing anything, and longer if they are texting me updates.”


Keith, 50

“For second dates onward, I tend to be more forgiving than waiting 15 minutes like I do for first dates, but, by then, I’ll usually call and see where they are. It also depends on their excuse how long I will stay. If it’s a situation beyond their control, I’ll stick it out an hour. If they ‘spaced’ and forgot about the date (which has happened), I will cancel and think twice about rescheduling.”


Belinda, 40

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

“For first dates, I wait 15 minutes without a call or text and 30 with communication. But if it’s not a first date, I would be more lenient unless I had another appointment. For some people, I’d wait all day…”


Anne, 58

“For someone I had already seen before, I would wait 30 minutes, just as I would for a first date — I figure there are good excuses. But late for a second date would irk me more, because who can’t text?”


Molly, 29

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

“I think there’s no excuse for being late, except if it is a true emergency. Otherwise, being late is just an excuse and the person was obviously doing something more important and didn’t take my day/time/plans/life into consideration. I will wait about 10 minutes IF they have a valid excuse, otherwise, NEXT.”

How To Determine If You Should Wait For Your Date

As you can see, a lot of factors go into how long someone will wait for their date. “In my opinion, a date can be given a grace period of 15 minutes — unless they call or text and have a legitimate reason for being late,” Samantha Daniels, dating expert and founder of Samantha’s Table Matchmaking, tells Bustle. “But, it is NOT OK for someone to be 15 minutes late on every date, because lateness does reflect how much someone respects another person.” She says to pay attention to the reason “why” your date is late: Are they not excited to see you? Do they prioritize other things in their life over you? Is being a little late for you OK but cutting another appointment short is not acceptable?

“You want someone to respect you, and they will only respect you if you ask for respect by letting them know that their regular lateness is not acceptable,” Daniels says. “And, trust your instincts.”

Fran Greene, author of Dating Again with Courage and Confidence, says a few things go into determining if you should wait for your date — or not. “You should decide how long you want to wait based on how apologetic they are, how much notice you were given, and, most importantly, how much you trust your date,” she tells Bustle. “You can reframe the lateness and take control and say, ‘Since you are going to be late, why don’t we reschedule for later or tomorrow when you are not so stressed.’” She says that, this way, you are letting them off the hook, but also showing respect for your time.

“Although being late shows a lack of regard for your date, it can happen to all of us,” Greene says. “However, it can bring you closer together if you both show understanding and concern for each other. Being late once is an exception — being late more than once is a pattern.”

Of course, at the end of the day, only *you* can determine how long you’ll wait for your date.