June 20, 2018
It was 11 AM on a recent Sunday. My friend Stephanie was looking forward to meeting her date for brunch that they had scheduled over the dating app Bumble. She arrived on time, sat down at a table and waited, assuming she had beaten him there. When she finally texted him to ask where he was, she saw that he had written, “I’m here.” She looked around… no sign of her date. She asked, “You’re at Busboys and Poets?” which was the place they had agreed on in advance. He was not. He was in a completely different part of town. (I have a feeling he got his dates confused and was meeting another woman where he showed up, but that’s just conjecture!) At this point, it should have been a no-brainer… her date should have apologized, gotten in an Uber, and raced to where Stephanie was sitting and waiting. Is that what he did? Nope. He asked her to come meet him, which wasn’t feasible for her because she had an appointment after the date that she had planned conveniently located to the date. Rather than doing the kind thing (he apparently never even offered to come to her!), he wrote back to her, “This won’t work. Have a good day.” Appalling.
I received a text from a client yesterday saying that she got stood up. Apparently, her coffee date texted her while she was on her way to the date itself. When did she see the text? After she arrived.
Then there’s me. I had once scheduled a date with someone from one of the dating apps. (Coincidently, all of these stories come from Bumble, but don’t overanalyze what that means… it’s just a very popular app.) We had discussed meeting for a bagel at 10 AM on a weekday, since both of us had flexible work schedules. He even joked that he had never been on a “bagel date” before. (That’s what you get when you’re meeting a Jewish woman from New Jersey!) We worked out the place and time, so everything was set. The evening before the date, I logged into Bumble to both review his profile (gotta be prepared!) and give him my number in case he needed to be in touch the next day for any reason. His profile? Gone! Did he unmatch me?? (For those who don’t use the dating apps, “unmatching” is the equivalent of permanently deleting an email, but this time removing the whole conversation and profile, without leaving a trace.) But we have a date! Do I still go? I mean, we did make the plans. Would he be so rude as to not tell me he was canceling on me and just—poof—disappear? After some internal debate about what to do (and an Instagram poll where, interestingly, most of the women told me to go and the men said not to), I went to the planned location at 10 AM. I waited… and waited… and waited. My date did not arrive. And, much to my dismay, the bagel I ordered anyway was mediocre at best.
Comment below on what you would have done.
These stories happen to all be about men disrespecting women’s time, but it most certainly goes both ways. (In fact, my podcast co-host, Chris, called me with a similar story last week.) The important lesson here is that no one’s time is any more valuable than anyone else’s. It doesn’t matter whether it’s someone you’ve never met before or a friend or significant other. Canceling at the last minute or, worse, standing someone up is the lowest of the low. You are essentially telling this person, “I am more important than you are, so I can waste your time.” IT IS NOT OKAY.
As I’ve written in a previous article, I mused as to why people seem so much flakier today than years ago. Smartphones have a lot, if not everything, to do with it. You can cancel on someone without seeing his or her reaction. You don’t have to incur the ire of someone if you don’t show up… you can just turn off your phone. But, remember that there is an actual person at the end of that phone. A person who has set aside time in his or her life to meet you. A person who now has to find other plans or not have any plans. Sure, there are valid reasons to cancel—your child/parent is sick, work put an unexpected deadline on you, your dog ate a rogue piece of chocolate on the floor—but even if you have one of these reasons, remember that your time is no more valuable than someone else’s. So show up or show yourself out.
8 thoughts on “Show Up or Show Yourself Out”
I have been stood up for coffee, a date, a weekend away, even a long planned vacation. It has become so common, that it is now my expectation. If an agreed to meeting actually occurs, I am pleasantly surprised. If she cancels or does not show, well, that is what I expected, anyway.
I think the problem is more than not valuing someone else’s time. It is a manifestation of commitment-phobia, where simply meeting to talk over a cup of coffee is too big a commitment.
Well, that is sad. Do you think that believing the worst in people, though, is affecting your outcome? I would never assume they won’t show until proven otherwise. You have to assume they will. You also have to be sure to confirm. Too many people schedule things and then don’t confirm beforehand. Regardless, I’m sorry this happened to you.
Great article, Erika! It’s no wonder that avoidant attachment is on the rise with shenanigans like this! Finding and attracting great love needs integrity from the start. I love the work you do in the world.
Couldn’t agree more re: avoidant attachment, especially if you come to expect this behavior.
Thank you for your kind words!
I was stood up for the first time two weeks ago by a man I met on Zoosk and it is definitely an embarrassing feeling. It was just a coffee date but we had already messaged a bit and spoken on the phone. Because of a work commitment he pushed back our original meeting 3 days and I was flexible and agreed. He went on and on about wishing he was meeting me instead of having to work and that he couldn’t wait to see me. When he didn’t show I opened the app and saw he was currently on-line. I messaged and asked if he planned to show and he said he forgot. I guess he goes out with so many women that it’s easy to forget one or I didn’t make the impression on him like he said I did. Either way, it was a crummy feeling.
That’s what I want to make sure you avoid — you feeling like you weren’t enough. You’re more than enough! His no-show was all him and had nothing to do with you or your value. He just, honestly, sounds like a jerk. At least you learned early, as awful as it was.
I’ve had a couple of dates not show and then ghosting even after confirming things the night before.
But, I’ve also had a few dates where I show up on time and she’s running late and texts me her new ETA. That starts things off on a positive note rather than getting ticked that she’s late to begin with.
As for smartphones, I just saw this and some of it applies to dating:
The ominous music in that video makes it even scarier!
Of course — if someone is thoughtful and says she’s running late, then all is good! It’s all about respect for others, even others you haven’t met yet.
I have a whole other article I could write about what to do if/when a no-show/ghosting situation happens. On the one hand, some people don’t want to “yell” (via text) at the no-show person because it shows that the one being stood up actually cares. Of course you care! I’d recommend writing, calmly, that you were disappointed because you had made the plans and wish she had had the courtesy to inform you that she wouldn’t be there. You’re a busy person too, and deserve that much. We all do.