7 Texts To Send When You're Cancelling A Date, Based On The Situation


There are a number of different reasons for wanting to cancel a date. Maybe something came up at work and you just can't make it. Maybe you're not feeling well, or maybe you're just not feeling it anymore. Regardless of the reason for wanting to back out of plans, it's important to give your date a head's up. Although cancelling a date over text can seem intimidating, it doesn't have to be. According to experts, it's all about being honest.

"I ask my clients, what is your intention in cancelling the date?" David Strah, licensed marriage and family therapist, tells Bustle. "Is it because something simply came up, or is it because you don’t think the person is right for you? Regardless, my general rule of thumb when cancelling a date with someone is the Golden Rule — treat someone as you would like them to treat you."

Even if it's a lot less stressful to ghost someone you're not that interested in, that's the last thing you should do. Unless someone has done something really offensive to you, Strah says it's important to include at least these three things in your cancellation text: be gracious, be clear about your intentions, and wish them well. After all, wouldn't you want them to do the same to you?

According to experts, the type of text you should send depends on the situation. So here's how you can cancel a date over text, based on the situation you're in.

When Something Comes Up And You Still Want To See Them
If something came up and you really want to see your potential date,, offer another time to reschedule. Photo credit: Shutterstock

"Hey, I'm so sorry, but something came up tonight and I can't get out of it. I really want to see you. Are you free tomorrow night instead?"

This scenario is usually the easiest to deal with. When you want to go out with someone but you can't due to work or the flu, keep it simple and just be honest about it. "Generally, I find women in particular feel like they have to give a reason for wanting to cancel," dating coach Veronica Grant, tells Bustle. "But you can give a simple explanation, without over apologizing or giving all the details." If you're interested in going out at another time, let them know. You can even offer up an alternative time to meet up.

When You're Not That Interested In Going Out With Them At All

"Hi, I'm sorry to do this but I don't think we're the right fit. I wish you all the best."

It's common to agree to a date and then later on realize that you're just not that excited about it. If this is the case, Strah says it's important to be clear about your intentions. Although you may think you're doing someone a favor by giving them an open ended, "I'll let you know when I'm free again," you're not. According to Strah, there's nothing worse than confusion or a mixed message. "It doesn't help or make it easier for someone to get over their potential loss, even if it was a fantasy," he says. "Being clear will help them move on, and give you a clean conscious so you can move forward and attract someone else better suited to you."

When You Realize You're Just Not Ready To Date
If you're just not ready to date, be honest and say that. Photo credit: Shutterstock

"I'm sorry to cancel on you, but I'm just not ready to date right now. I want you to know that it's not you. I think you're lovely."

If you need to cancel a date, try and be kind about it. As Christine Scott-Hudson, marriage and family therapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle, "Be as clear and direct as possible, and don’t leave any room for the other person to blame themselves." You don't have to explain yourself if you don't want to. But if you're in the situation of not being ready to date, it's OK to say that. "Don’t flake out by texting with a postponing excuse like, ‘I have a family thing’ if you have no intention of seeing them again," Scott-Hudson says. "Saying 'I'm sorry to change my mind and I want you to know that it's not you,’ will go a long way towards freeing up your date’s self-talk about why you backed out."

When They Have Feelings For You But It's Not Reciprocated

"I'm sorry. I really enjoyed getting to know you and you're great. But I don't feel a connection and I don't want to waste both of our time."

If you've been dating for more than four dates, or sense that the other person has strong feelings for you, the right thing to do is call or meet in person. "Although potentially hurting the other person’s feelings might seem scary, having a conversation in real time is the right thing to do because it ultimately shows that you care enough to be clear and supportive," Strah says. But if you have to do it over text, make sure to use "I" statements. For example, "I don't feel like we have enough common interests" or "I don't feel like we're moving in the same direction." It's also OK to say that you don't think you're a good match.

When You Like Them Enough, But You're Not Interested In Them Romantically
Former dates can make great friends. Photo credit: Shutterstock

"I really enjoy spending time with you, but I don't want to give you the wrong idea. I'd love to hang out as friends if you're interested."

You can have a lot of fun with someone but not see a romantic future with them. If that's the case, you should be honest about it as soon as you realize it. "Former dates can become good friends and be very supportive in life," Strah says. Let them know you're interested in seeing them again, but make an effort to be clear that you're not interested in them romantically. Don't push for a friendship either. Leave it open enough so they can decide if they're OK with hanging out as just friends.

When You're Dealing With Personal Issues

"Sorry to cancel on you, but I'm dealing with some personal issues right now. I hope we can reschedule."

If you're cancelling because of personal issues like anxiety or you're just not in the right head space to go out, be honest about it. You don't have to go into the details if you don't want to. But pay attention to how the other person responds. As David Bennett, certified counselor and dating coach, tells Bustle, "Seeing how your potential date reacts to this could tell you whether they are a keeper or not worth your time."

When You Have A Bad Feeling About Your Date
When you have a bad feeling about your date, let them know you want to cancel and leave it at that. Photo credit: Shutterstock

"Sorry but I have to cancel."

You'll never really know if someone is the right person for you after one or two dates. According to Strah, we all present our best selves in the beginning, so it can take a few dates or months to really get to know someone. But if your gut is telling you that someone is bad news, listen to that. "If you feel you need to distance yourself for safety purposes, then communicate your intention and then block the date's profile," Strah says.

Cancelling a date can be uncomfortable. But when it comes to dating, communication and honesty are important. Whether you're interested in rescheduling or not, everyone deserves to know the truth. These are just some examples of texts you can send, depending on the situation you're in.


David Strah, M.A., licensed marriage and family therapist, author of Gay Dads: A Celebration of Fatherhood

Veronica Grant, life and love coach

Christine Scott-Hudson, marriage and family therapist, owner of Create Your Life Studio

David Bennett, certified counselor and dating coach