Handling Rejection
For Men

5 Reasons Why She Cancels On You And How To Respond

February 20, 2024
▪ 12 mins read

Are you puzzled by last-minute date cancellations? Gain valuable insights into why she cancels on you and how to respond confidently.

I’m relationship expert Hayley Quinn and I’m here to offer you 5 reasons why she flakes/ cancels/ continually reschedules/ ditches out on your date.

In this blog you will learn:

  • Why do women keep canceling on you?
  • How to respond in a way that’s cool, calm and collected when she cancels your date.
  • What you should do when she cancels your date. 
  • When to give up. 

So why would she agree to go on a date then cancel? 

It can feel bewildering to have gone through all the effort of getting a woman to agree to a date, only for her to cancel that date at the last minute with a vague excuse. You’ll probably end up wondering why she agreed to go on the date in the first place only to cancel at the last minute?

As a relationship expert I see this phenomenon happening all day everyday: Especially with women you’ve only met online on a dating app. Before I explore 5 exact reasons why she cancels on you, it’s worth remembering that in the world of dating, enthusiasm has a half life. 

This means that in the moment you’re chatting to her (whether that’s on or offline) she will often genuinely believe that she’s going to go on a date with you, but by the time that date has rolled around her enthusiasm has cooled off. For you, it’s important to know that the longer the wait between that first encounter and a date, the less likely that date is going to happen. I call this the rule of momentum. 

I point this out, as her actions here aren’t intended to be malicious, she’s just expressing what she feels at that moment in time: And that is inconsistent. If you want to understand her reasons for doing this further, then take a read of my other blog on what to do when she says she has a boyfriend.  

There’s also the chance that she simply gave you her number to be polite, as in that moment she didn’t feel comfortable expressing that she just wasn’t feeling the connection. It may have felt easier to her to ignore your message, than to tell you she wasn’t interested face to face. This is why another fantastic rule of thumb for your dating life is never to ask a woman out on the first message you send her, make sure she responds first! 

(So don't blame yourself if she cancels, though you may want to check you're not making one of these big texting mistakes!)

Holding my hands up here, there were plenty of times I canceled on men last minute during my single days. The reasons why she cancels on you I’m going to share with you, will give you an insight into what she’s really thinking (it’s not a deliberate attempt to mess you around) plus, most importantly, a strategy for what to do next. 

5 reasons why she cancels on you

1. She doesn't see canceling as a problem

Whilst a woman canceling on you at the last minute can really throw your day off (maybe you rearranged plans to make the date with her, or booked a cool activity to do together, now you’re going home - alone.) She may well not see canceling as a problem. 

In modern life people cancel much more than they used to, if she’s only had a brief social interaction with you like swapping a few messages on a dating app, she may not feel like it’s a big deal to cancel on a date. 

There’s also no nice way to say this, but when she cancels at the last minute, and expects you to automatically offer to reschedule, she’s assuming that your interest in her isn’t dependent on how she behaves. This speaks to a bigger problem where she feels like your interest in one another is disbalanced: You’re “keen” to see her so will wait around, she’s on the fence so can pick and choose when she sees you. 

Please remember you keep this cycle alive if you continually keep asking her out despite her flakey behavior. You need to have much higher standards for the women you date.

2. She likes you but isn't convinced

If you've just met her, then her commitment to you falls down the priority list behind her commitments to her friends, work, and probably dental appointments. Now if she had happened to meet Liam Hemsworth, or a man she thought was going to be the love of her life, this would all go out the window… but whatever initial interaction you had with her it wasn’t compelling enough for you to be a solid “yes” to her. 

Part of this will come down to the different ways men and women approach dating. Speaking generally, and there are always exceptions, men will see a woman and think, “it’s a yes from me.” To her, when she's only had very limited interaction with you, maybe a quick chat at a bar, or a few messages back and forth on a dating app, her feelings are more indifferent.

Ironically she needs to spend more time with you to give those feelings time to develop!

She needs to make time for her dating life but she also needs to keep nurturing other areas of her life. For instance her social relationships with her friends may not only give her valuable emotional support, but will also be a network through which she can go to fun places, and meet high quality men. So unless you make a strong first impression, she may see going somewhere new to meet someone new as more important than meeting up with a man she’s unsure about. 

You’re not number one on her list, and she shouldn't be number one on your list either.

A woman cancelling her plans via text
He'd done his level best to install the lamp vertically, but Ana's 2-hour Bubble Bingo session said it all

3. Canceling is routine

Part of maintaining her large network of people means that making 'faux' arrangements and then canceling them is actually culturally normal as a sign that 'hey I want to keep in touch with you, but not to the extent I'll invest in knowing you better yet'.

Yes, this is the worst of fake friendships in the world of social media; but she's probably not thinking about it like that.

I bet you can remember an event you were invited to, where at the time you were excited to go. Then a few weeks later when the date rolls around, you find that you're swamped with work, the weather sucks and is the first sign you're coming down with something?

It is too easy to make a commitment in the moment and cancel when you are no longer in the same frame of mind. People often change their minds. There’s nothing malicious about her reassessing her priorities, it’s just life. If you’d really like to date her, your goal is to try to get that date in the diary soon (like, this week soon, or better yet tomorrow) after you’ve had your initial connection. 

If her diary is booked up until next month, and she says something vague about meeting in a few weeks time, this woman isn’t prioritizing her dating life (or at least not prioritizing you) and that should be a red flag for you pursuing her. 

4. It's easy to cancel so she cancels!

Back in the day, I imagine if someone canceled at the last minute that would have meant someone really angry sitting at the bar waiting. You'd have been stood up. Standing someone up doesn't happen anymore. You get stood up before you've left the house, via WhatsApp.

So it's not nearly as bad, right?

Yes, our modern world of instant communication has meant that canceling is easier than ever. We don't have to call anyone up (gulp) or leave an awkward phone message... Instead, we can just send someone a message. 

Also if she meets you on a dating app, rather than through an extended friendship circle, her accountability to actually show up is watered down. If you met her through a mutual friend she may have some explaining to do for her flakey behavior, because you met on a dating app, it’s no big deal. She can just open her phone and there’s a lot more options.

This is one of the most compelling reasons why you should invest in developing the skills to meet women in real life. Learn more about my Academy training programme here. 

5. She's not ready to meet you yet

Don’t make the mistake of thinking every woman you meet is a perfect candidate for you to date. I work with women as well, and just like you, they have their own barriers to dating. If she’s too busy to prioritize her dating life; if she’s too socially anxious to meet someone she doesn’t know well; if she’s looking for a huge spark and anything less doesn’t warrant her attention - that’s on her. 

You can waste a phenomenal amount of time and energy pursuing women who just aren’t that open to dating. Instead, one of your keys to success for a happier and more confident dating life is to actively filter the women you meet for women who are also invested in the process of meeting you.

If you’re not meeting many women at the moment, then letting go of her as an option can feel scary: You’re not getting enough dates to be picky! This mindset will always set you back, instead of trying to get one “yes” with her, you need to wake up to all the other opportunities you can create for yourself to meet women.

What are some typical last minute date cancellation excuses? 

Here are some typical excuses I’ve seen over the years as a relationship expert:

“I’m so sorry work has been crazy today…”

Read: ‘I’m feeling overwhelmed and you’re just not a priority to me - sorry.’

“This week’s starting to look tricky - is next week better for you?”

Read: ‘I feel bad about canceling so please take the responsibility away from me and reschedule.’ 

“I didn’t hear from you so I thought it was off.”

Read: ‘I didn’t feel a strong enough connection from you to assume this was on.’ (Note: Always confirm the details of the date 24 hours ahead of time to avoid this issue!) 

“This week is going to be so hectic can we wait until we have some proper time instead?” 

Read: ‘This isn’t enough of a priority right now for me to make time for, but you seem like a nice guy, so I’d like to keep the option open to go on a date sometime, somewhere…’ 

Should you ignore her after she cancels on you? 

So if you’ve received a typical cancellation excuse from her, should you just ignore her? 

In short, no. Ignoring someone’s message often comes across as petty and emotionally wounded. The only time when ignoring someone could be a smart move is when you’ve repeatedly tried to make a date with her, and every single time she cancels on you. In this case your silence says you’ve given up - which you should do if she’s unable to make time to see you in real life. 

However, if this is the first time she’s canceled try one of these responses instead: 

5 ideas what to say when she cancels a date

1. “No problem - let’s catch up next week.” 

Mirror her (low) level of effort with a nonchalant message that keeps the interaction open. Follow this up in a few days time with a funny gif, a wave, or a short check in message. If this is the first time she’s canceled you want to give her the benefit of the doubt. 

2. “Gosh I better return this bunch of roses then 😉”

Humor is a good way to diffuse tension. If she’s feeling too much pressure to go on a date with you, then this is a good way of poking fun at the idea you’re really into her (you’re not). Playful banter also builds a connection, which will make her more excited to see you next time. 

Monday 8:37am; time to crank up The Excuse Machine

3. “Idk what are we going to do about your time keeping skills…”

Again you can use humor, and perhaps a funny gif, to playfully call out the fact that she’s blown you out. By being playful you can successfully communicate that you’re not a doormat and have taken note of her last minute cancellation, whilst not sounding jaded. Using the word “we” is also collaborative and hints at a future relationship. 

4. “Good luck and speak soon x”

This is another low effort response, which is polite and warm, without giving much away. 

5. “Okay let’s try next week - but that’s the last time i’m asking 😉” 

If she’s canceled more than once it’s time you communicated a boundary: In a low pressure way let her know that you’re not sticking around. Then if she cancels again you can choose to ignore her and let the interaction go. 

Again this comes down to you having some standards as a man.

On this note... if a woman (or anyone for that matter) is capable of keeping an arrangement, communicating clearly, and really invests in YOU give them some more of your time energy and focus. 

So what should you do if she cancels your date?

As a general rule of thumb, if it's the first time she’s canceled a date, and she offers clear options for you to reschedule, give her the benefit of the doubt. We all have unexpected life circumstances that sometimes prevent us from fulfilling our plans. 

Alternatively if a woman cancels on you two times in a row, and doesn’t suggest rescheduling, let it go. Don’t sit around whilst she “sees if she might be free towards the end of next week.” Get out there, meet some new people, and if she messages you asking to meet, you can take a view then. 

The five stages of working with a dating coach
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Reasons Why She Cancels On You: FAQs

What should I do if she canceled our date but is still texting?

If a woman’s keeping in contact, and you’re sharing some fun messages this is generally a good sign. However, be warned there will always be some people out there who are happy to message you all day but when it comes to meeting up for a date, never make it! The only way you know is to suggest meeting again, and to see if you get tumbleweeds as a response. 

What to do if your girlfriend cancels plans last minute

If you’re in a relationship with a woman and she keeps canceling on you, you need to let her know how this makes you feel. Try to explain to her that you feel a lack of respect when she routinely cancels, and whilst you understand sometimes she won’t be able to make it, you’d like her to be more consistent. 

What to do if your girlfriend keeps canceling plans 

There’s a chance here that your girlfriend’s routinely canceling on you because she’s unsure about the relationship, but you have to talk to her to know. If after you’ve expressed to her that you’re unhappy with how much she cancels on you, she continues to cancel on you, then you also have to reflect on whether this relationship is meeting your needs. 

Is canceling a date last minute disrespectful?

If it’s the first time someone’s canceled on you, they give you a reasonable excuse, and suggest a clear alternative time to meet, give them the benefit of the doubt. If they’ve canceled on you at the last minute more than once, don’t offer an alternative arrangement and their excuse is a vague, “things got hectic” then let it go. You deserve better. 

Do women cancel on dates to test you? 

Women don’t consciously go around testing men. However, if a woman routinely cancels on you, and you continue to simply offer her an alternative, then there’s no communication that this isn’t working for you. Here you need to communicate that you won’t keep asking her out, unless she can keep a commitment. Use some of the examples up above for how to phrase this. 

How do women show disinterest in their messages to you? 

If a woman is slow to respond, only offers you vague details about her life, and doesn’t ask questions about you to help continue the conversation, chances are she’s not interested. This doesn’t mean she dislikes you, simply it means maintaining a social relationship with you is not a high priority for her right now.

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