I’ll admit, there have been times in my dating career where I have been the flaky date. You know exactly who I’m talking about: the person that you meet online, you share some pleasant conversation with and make plans, only to have them cancel at the very last minute. Yes, that person. My reasons for flaking usually fell into two camps. Either I just wasn’t feeling it (and therefore, didn’t want to bother getting dressed to go meet a stranger) or other plans had come up (a stronger connection with someone else or the chance to hang out solo, at home without any pants on). Although it was often #1, sometimes it was a combo of both.
I’m trying (and mostly succeeding) at being a better and more reliable date. However, having knowledge and experience on the other side, I’ve become pretty good at spotting other flakers. Takes one to know one, right?
Here are some signs that the person you’re talking to might flake out on you at the last minute.
- They insist on “playing it by ear.”
Yes, those four dreaded words. Life is complicated and busy. Sometimes you really can’t make plans in advance. But if someone is truly interested in seeing you they will find a way to make it happen. “Play it by ear” plans CAN transition into set plans. However, if someone’s schedule is so complicated that they can’t set aside an hour to grab a quick drink with you at a specified time, then it could mean that they’re already looking for a way out.
- They take longer than 24 hours to return your texts.
Barring a serious emergency, if you’re trying to arrange plans with someone, there’s no reason why it should take longer than a day to get back to you. It’s called momentum and they’re allowing it to slip away (probably while they try and weigh their other options).
- They’ve already rescheduled the date at least once.
This isn’t a hard and fast rule, but if the other person keeps rescheduling or pushing back your date, approach with caution. Personally speaking, if I’m not super into the idea of seeing someone, I will procrastinate until the very last minute as a sort of “soft cancel” — in other words, the cancel before the actual cancel.
- They’re “so busy” all the time.
It seems like they’ve always got *something* going on. If the person you’re trying to date is always talking about how busy they are it could be that they’re doing this to soften the blow when they actually flake on you. That way when they bail they can reassure themselves that they’re not a flake, they’re just “busy.”
- They send the dreaded, “I’m really tired, still up for dinner/drinks?” text.
Okay, so I’ve definitely sent this text before. I feel tired most days, but if I’m keen to see someone I’ll have a cup of coffee and rally. If someone sends you the “I’m tired” text it could mean that they’re hoping you make the first move and flake first.
- It’s really hard to get them to commit to a specific plan for your date.
Similar to “playing it by ear,” if their idea of making plans feels like the dating equivalent of a game of Where in the World is Carmen San Diego (“maybe we can meet for drinks after I’m done with band practice at 10 pm, if I’m still in the area before I head back downtown for a birthday party”), this is a sign that this person is probably going to bail on you, if they haven’t already.
- They just don’t seem that into it.
We all have other stuff going on in our lives! At the end of the day, if someone really wants to hang out with you they will make it happen. If they can’t make the original plans, they’ll suggest another time and stick to it. If you get the impression that they’re just not that into it, listen to your gut. It’s probably telling you exactly what you need to know.