There were very few silver linings to the past year of battling the COVID-19 pandemic, but one was this: People stopped using the “I’m not feeling well” line to get out of everything from work and Zoom calls with friends to, of course, dates.
Now that feeling sick isn’t automatically tied to coronavirus, thanks to the vaccine rollout, the excuse is making a resurgence in the online dating world. Unfortunately, saying you don’t feel well without any further explanation to cancel a planned meeting is still tired, lame and rude. (Are my feelings on this clear enough?)
When you agree to meet with someone for a date, consider it an event in your calendar just like a work meeting, doctor’s appointment or family get-together. You wouldn’t try to get out of a business call with your boss last-minute, so you shouldn’t cancel a date in that manner either.
At the end of the day, there’s another person involved, and their time is also valuable. It’s very possible that they turned down other plans for your date or put effort into their appearance, so you calling off the meetup with little-to-no notice shows a lack of consideration for the other person — and just because you haven’t met yet doesn’t mean you can’t affect them.
Here’s the other thing: if you “don’t feel well” and cancel a date, your potential match will very likely assume you’re simply not interested. If you actually are sick and not up for a date, explain what’s going on with as much advance notice as possible and immediately make an effort to reschedule. Without an intention to meet up in the near-future made clear, there’s a good chance that you won’t be meeting — ever.
Canceling plans for a date should only be done if absolutely necessary. Everyone has unforeseen circumstances come up — including actually getting sick — but you have to give the other person as much time and consideration as possible. Clearly explain the situation, apologize for the inconvenience (using the words “I’m sorry”), and immediately make it clear if you would like to reschedule your date. Do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t turn into a guessing game for both parties because no one is a fan of that.
The lesson here is one that expands beyond the dating world, whether we’re talking about social outings, work engagements or any other appointments: Don’t make plans you don’t intend to keep. More exciting plans are not a good enough reason to cancel a date, and neither is laziness. We’ve all had days where we’d rather stay in bed eating chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream — and that a perfectly fine way to spend your free time... as long as you’re not hurting anyone along the way.
Erika Ettin is the founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps others navigate the often intimidating world of online dating. Want to connect with Erika? Join her newsletter, eepurl.com/dpHcH, for updates and tips.