What To Do If You Get Stood Up

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Ahh, being stood up – isn’t it what all daters dread? You get yourself ready, you’re looking forward to the date, you go there, and (absolute nightmare) they stand you up. There’s the rejection, the humiliation. It’s certainly not nice. So what should you do if you get stood up? How can you deal with being stood up and how should you respond? Well fear not my friends, as in this post, we’re going to run through it all.

What Does Stood Up Mean?

So first off, let’s get clear on what it means to be stood up. See by definition:

“Stood up is a new word which means: a person who doesn’t show up or arrive at a particular event. When dating, it is a person who doesn’t show up for the date, or to meet whoever they’re supposed to meet.”

The interesting thing here, is it doesn’t state anything about whether or not the person has the decency to tell you that they’re no longer coming. This means:

  • If your date doesn’t show, doesn’t text, and you’re just left waiting with no sign of them – you’ve been stood up.
  • It also means that if you get yourself ready, get yourself there, you text to see if they’re on their way and they then tell you they can’t make it – you’ve still been stood up.

What if he tells you before you get to the date? Is that still classed as being stood up? Well, technically speaking I guess. But it’s slightly different if they tell you before. 

That moves into the territory of simply cancelling your date. Been through that? Then bob on over to here for: What To Do If He Cancels Your Date.

For this post, however, let’s keep it with what to do if you get stood up. The cold, hard-hitting “stood up” experience where you’re at the date, you’re there and waiting and they’re a no-show. (Yikes.)

Why Do People Stand Up Their Dates?

Before we get into it, I want to touch on why people stand up their dates. I mean, what could be the reasons why you’ve been stood up? Well, it could be that:

1) They’re Nervous

First up, it could be that your date is nervous. They had good intentions, they did want to meet you, but they got scared, panicked and bottled it. If this is the case, they’ll be kicking themselves about it, trust me.

2) They May Not Be Ready

They could not be ready. Perhaps they made plans, again, they had good intentions, but as the date got closer, they realised they just aren’t in the right place mentally.

The thing is, they should of course have told you, but in this event, it’s likely that they were pretty torn about it, up until the day came.

Recommended Read: 10 Signs He’s Not Ready For a Relationship
Recommended Read: 15 Signs He’s Not Over His Ex

If Your Date Doesn't Arrive

3) They’re Weak

They’re weak. Now although we like to think the best of people, sometimes – people just don’t have the same values as you.

So maybe your conversation started to fizzle, some things were said that made them unsure, or maybe the date had been moved around a few times.

For whatever reason – they decided they didn’t want to go on the date anymore, changed their mind, yet took the weak way out and didn’t say.

4) They Were Leading You On

Maybe they just wanted an ego boost. For some people (the time-wasters of the dating world!), they get dates for validation.

For them it’s more about securing the dates, not necessarily going on them, and if this is the case, you’ll find far more no-shows.

Recommended Read: 10 Signs He’s Wasting Your Time
Recommended Read: 10 Signs He’s Playing You

5) It Could Have Been a Mistake

It could have been a mistake. Maybe they unintentionally stood you up. They overslept or got the dates / times mixed up. It does happen – not often, but it can.

Why You’ve Been Stood Up

The most important thing to take away from this, is that yes – getting stood up, can happen. There’s also not a “one size fits all” for why. But for whatever reason, know that it’s not on you.

Understanding this, coming up with the most logical conclusion as to why you’ve been stood up – it can certainly help you put it to bed. But try not to obsess over it or go all detective mode, unable to let it go.

They haven’t stood you up because you’re not good enough or you did something wrong. It’s all on them – and a reflection on them as a person. So as hard as it is, you cannot take it personally.

Okay? In fact, repeat after me – it’s not on me, it’s not on me, it’s not on me!

What To Do If Someone Stands You Up

What To Do If You Get Stood Up

So what should you do if you get stood up? When you’re there, in that moment, and it starts to set in that your date won’t be arriving, how do you respond? Well…

1) Keep Your Cool

First up then, if you get stood up, and you’re still out at the venue – whatever emotions start to wash over you, take some deep breaths. Keep your cool and stay composed.

Yes it hurts, yes perhaps it feels a little embarrassing. But no-one knows what’s going on, no-one’s watching you or judging you – no matter how self-conscious you may now feel.  So try to relax and don’t get too worked up. Especially not whilst you’re still there.

2) Don’t Keep Calling Or Texting

Now, as it begins to dawn on you that you may be being stood up, it is of course, natural to call or text your date to try to find out what’s going on. But if they don’t answer? The #1 rule? Don’t keep calling or texting!

This isn’t for you to chase. It’s for you to see how they respond – what they do. So as much as your mind may be going wild, as frustrated as you may be getting or as hurt as you may feel, don’t let them know about that. 

Let them know you’re there, let them know you’re waiting, say that you “hope everything’s okay”, but then leave it in their hands.

Even when you decide to leave or it goes past the point of them potentially arriving, say nothing. You have to wait and leave the ball in their court, to see what kind of person they are.

3) Decide What You Want To Do

If You Want To Stay…

In most cases, when you get stood up, you’ll just want to walk out – escape and leave! And if this is you, know that that’s absolutely okay. 

At a bar? Not yet finished your drink? Who cares. Just go if you want to. At a restaurant? Not yet ordered anything? Then just pull your things together, tell the waitress that somethings come up, and walk out with your head held high.

Just because you’re there, doesn’t mean you need to stay. All kind of things could have happened, remember. So although it feels like a big deal to you, it won’t seem like a big deal to anyone else.

Been Stood Up

If You Want To Go…

On the flip side however – let’s say you’ve travelled a little way, you’re in a new area. Does that mean you have to head straight back? No way. Make the best of a bad situation if you feel comfortable with it and are in an okay state.

Likewise, maybe you were supposed to go to the cinema, you’ve got your ticket and was looking forward to it – why not stay and watch? Or, you were going to go on a walk and it’s a beautiful day – you can still do that yourself.

Either way, there’s no pressure. But if you’ve kept yourself calm, you can then make a more rational decision about what you want to do from here – just considering right then and there in that moment, nothing else.

Escape Tactics When You Get Stood Up

So when you get stood up, there’s a few things you can do to make the situation easier.

1) Phone a Friend

If you feel awkward or trapped and don’t know how to get out – a great thing to do is phone a friend. Tell them what’s happened, talk to them whilst you’re there so that you don’t feel so alone.

Their comforting words will really help and you may find that they could actually come and meet you instead, or at the very least, lift your spirits after!

2) Get a Call

Got no-one to phone? Then pretend your phone has just rang! No-one will know any differently. Get your acting pants on! If this what makes you feel better, and less humiliated in that moment, then give it a go. 

Take control. Pretend there’s been an emergency and you have to dash out! (This will actually only go on to be something you look back on and laugh about!)

Get Stood Up

3) Act Casual

Depending on the type of date, if you’ve been stood up before and are worried about getting stood up again – go in prepared.

Take a book, wear some headphones, find something that you can do whilst you sit and wait… then use those things to “style it out” if you do get stood up. Clever, huh?

So for example, if you’re going for a coffee date, take a book, grab a drink, place it on the table and you could have always planned to go there on your own! (No-one will know differently!)

When you do this – in most cases – it will just be there as a backup plan. You usually won’t get stood up anyway.

But if you then do, you also won’t feel as panicked. It is what it is, it’s happened, but you’re okay.

What To Do If You’ve Been Stood Up

So, what do you do if you’ve been stood up? How do you cope with it afterwards?

1) Try Not To Take It To Heart

So first up, I want to again highlight how important it is to not take it to heart if you get stood up. 

Maybe initially, it’s going to shake you a little – bring up a bit of self-doubt. But acknowledge the thoughts, feel your feelings – just don’t let it spiral. 

This is just one person, in a world full of people. Like we said at the start, the reasons for them standing you up are actually nothing to do with you. And yes, you may think, “But if they saw my value, if they knew I was a catch, they wouldn’t do this…”

Well I’m sorry, but they still would. I mean, their dream celebrity could have been their date and the chances are, the same thing would have happened. Why? Because them standing you up – it’s to do with THEM, not you.

Reality Check If You Get Stood Up

This is to do with their problems, their issues, and – quite frankly – their morals clearly don’t match yours either. Because think about it – is there really any excuse for standing you up?

Unless there were extraordinary circumstances, could they really have no had the decency to tell you sooner, or say before you got there?

What would you say to your friend if this happened to them? As that’s the same thing that you have to keep saying to yourself.

Get stood up

2) Don’t Let It Put You Off

When you get stood up, don’t let it put you off dating. Take a break if you need, build yourself back up again, but don’t let it affect you too heavily. This was just one person, one person in a world full of many wonderful people.

Are you going to let THEM set you back? Are you going to let THEM have this big negative impact? No way! In fact, here – have a read of this:

Recommended Read: How To Bounce Back

Follow that four step process to bounce back and find your fight again!

3) Confront Them If You Need To

You’re going to want to get closure around this, and maybe you’ll get that by simply letting it go and moving on. But if you don’t, if you feel like you need something more – that’s okay.

See, I said earlier to not call or text your date excessively in the moment. You want to wait to see if they get in touch and apologise. If they do, great. Maybe don’t rearrange unless they have a genuinely valid reason. But if they get in touch, that’s a good thing right?

Yes, they’ve most likely now missed their opportunity with you, and this truly will be their loss not yours. But if they do get in touch, stay calm. Say how you feel. Say why you’ve lost a little respect for them and move forward knowing that you’ve “said your piece”.

If they don’t ever reach out to you, feel free to message them. Don’t send a huge, long essay – just a short, powerful message will do the trick.

What To Text If You Get Stood Up

Some examples of what to text if you get stood up, to get the ideas flowing. Please note: these will vary in suitability depending on the situation that the two of you were in and how it happened.

  1. Did I get the day or time wrong, or something?! I’ve literally just been waiting at [VENUE] for [TIME] minutes!
  2. If you wasn’t going to make it today, you really could have had the decency to say. I have my own life too, you know, and I don’t appreciate being treated like that.
  3. I know that last-minute things can come up but to tell me just [TIME] minutes before the date that you’re not going to make it… you’ve really messed me around.
  4. A no-show? Really? And no message after either? Wow. You’ve really shown your true colours. Looks like I’ve had a lucky escape!

You see? Say enough to get things off your chest, but not so much that you take it to extremes. You’re simply staying calm, keeping your dignity, getting it out, so that you can then let go.

If you get stood up

4) Laugh It Off

Like most things in life, your outlook is everything. And humour? Well, that can completely turn things around, not to mention shift you out of a lousy state.

So if you get stood up, try not to see it as a bad thing – see the funny side of it. Turn it into one of your mad dating stories! 

When you find the right person, you’ll actually look back at this and laugh about it, remembering what you went through to find the one but why – actually – it was so worth it!

5) Don’t Foster Negative Emotions

What you certainly don’t want to do is hold onto hate or bitterness – towards the person or dating as a whole. It’s not helpful and it’s not needed. Instead, choose to see the lighter side.

This person treated you badly and done the wrong thing – there’s no denying that. But that doesn’t mean that this now means war, or you have to hold onto it.

Recommended Read: What To Do When Someone Treats You Badly

It also doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re this terrible person. You have no idea what’s going on in their life or mind.

So instead of assuming the worst, try to think the best – not in a way that it keeps you holding out hope for this person, but instead, makes you feel, almost, sympathy towards the person.

Also remember, that not everyone is the same. Bad things happen every day at work, at home, so of course also when it comes to dating and relationships. But you can’t give up. You have to keep going. Because only then, will it lead you to the person who is truly deserving of your love.

What To Do If You Get Stood Up

So if you get stood up – stay calm, don’t panic. Phone a friend, act casual. Then either stay or leave, depending on how you feel and what YOU want to do. Remember, this is nothing personal and absolutely no reflection on you or your worth.

You can text the person who stood you up, or you can just leave it. The most important thing is that you keep moving forward, knowing that every time you meet another “frog”, you’re only one step closer to finding your “Prince.”

Take care. Hold that head up high!


What to do if you get stood up
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Ella Stearn
Ell is a Breakup, Dating & Relationship Specialist & Coach, with over 3 million annual readers, globally. As the Creator of Forgetting Fairytales, her mission is to help you learn to love yourself, find the right person to give your love to, then make it a love that truly lasts.

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