Is there anything more annoying than trying to schedule a date with someone who is flaky? You block out the time in your schedule, get ready for the date, hire a babysitter, only to find out the person you’re supposed to go out with has canceled …again. Flakiness in dating comes in a lot of different shapes and sizes, but they’re all equally annoying.
In this guide, we want to tackle the problem of dating flaky people. We’ll show you exactly what you can do to make it stop and how you can set yourself up to stop meeting flaky daters. You can’t completely eliminate them, but you can certainly minimize the amount of your time and effort that they can waste.
Be Clear With Your Plans
We’ve talked to a lot of daters who have complained about dating someone who is flaky. What we’ve found in way too many cases is that the person they’re dating really isn’t that flaky, but their communication about plans wasn’t direct or clear enough. If you are not deliberate when you make plans with someone, you allow them to be wishy-washy with showing up which looks like flakiness. You also give people who are actually flaky an excuse to keep doing it to you over and over again.
Here’s what you need to do. When you make plans with someone to go out on a date, you need to be clear, concise, and deliberate about when you are going to go out. You need to have a date, time, and a location/plan for meeting. When you say something like, “Hey, let’s go out Thursday sometime,” and you leave it at that, you really haven’t made plans. Sure, you both agreed to hang out on Thursday, but nothing was ever set in stone. This allows a flaky person to avoid hanging out and do something else and just claim that you never officially made plans.
What you need to do instead is be clear about things. Instead of just saying let’s hang out, say a date, time, and location/plan. “Let’s have dinner on Thursday night. Does 7pm at Lucky’s Pizza work for you?” When they say yes, then you can confirm that you will meet them there or confirm who will pick up who and when. But, if it’s a first date, you should read our guide on should you let someone pick you up on the first date.
Now if the person flakes on you or cancels, you have a lot more leverage to make things stop. You didn’t have wishy-washy plans that they can claim were never made. You were very clear about a time, location, and a plan of where and how you were going to go on your date. The fact that they canceled or didn’t show up is now their fault.
Don’t Stand For It
So, now that we’ve made sure that we weren’t doing anything to increase their flakiness, what happens when they still flake? Well, here’s what we think. You shouldn’t stand for flaky people. Flaky daters do what they do because they know they can get away with it. They can make plans with a bunch of people and then just cancel and do something else if they want to.
Why? Because there is usually no consequences. They know that they can just apologize for canceling the date and schedule another one with you…and another one…and another one. But, what happens if you put a stop to this revolving door? What if you decide that you’re not going to stand for this?
One of two things is going to happen. One, they are going to get their act together and stop flaking on you. They might keep flaking on other people, but they’re going to know when they schedule a date with you that they better be there. Or two, they’ll keep flaking, and you can realize that you are not a priority to them and can move on.
Here’s how you don’t stand for people flaking on a date. If it happens once, fine. Things happen (we’ll talk about this in a second). Depending on the reason, you might even give them a pass on putting your foot down. If it happens a second time, though, it’s time to lay the law down.
It’s up to you whether you want to do this after the first time it happens or the second. It really depends on the reason that they flaked. If something serious happened and they weren’t able to make it (work related, kid related, health-related), then you can probably give them a pass. But, if they just don’t show up, forgot, or decided to go to something else that came up that sounded cooler, we think you should put your foot down after the first time. The judgment call is yours, but it 100% has to happen if it happens twice.
How do you put your foot down? You need to make it very clear to them that if it happens again, you’re not going to be seeing them anymore. Let them know that you don’t stand for flaking. Here’s exactly what you tell them.
“I understand that something came up and you weren’t able to make our date. But, my free time is pretty limited, so I can’t just adapt to your schedule and go out only when it works for you. So, we can try this one more time, but if you have to cancel again (or don’t show up again), then you won’t be hearing from me again.”
And then if they do flake, you better stick to your guns. We’ll cover why you should stick to your guns in a coming section, but the bottom line is that if you let people walk all over you and disrespect your worth, then they will keep doing it over and over again no matter how much they apologize.
Understand Things Can Happen Sometimes
We mentioned in the last section that there are some occasions where someone will have to cancel a date where you should give them a pass. Things can happen, and people might not be able to make a date that they originally planned with you. This is especially true if they are in a demanding job or they have children.
It’s going to be up to you whether you want to cut ties with them right away, give them another chance without laying the law down, or lay the law down right away. If they do something rude like just forgetting or make other plans and don’t tell you until the last minute, that’s probably a flake that you don’t want to be dating anyway. In that situation, we would say tell them it was nice talking to them, but you won’t be seeing them anymore.
If they cancel with a good reason for something that came up, you can probably give them a pass without laying the law down just yet. Sometimes things happen in life that are outside of our control. But, if they give you some sort of lame excuse that smells fishy or isn’t presented to you in a professional or timely manner with respect, but you still want to see them again, you should lay the law down.
If you enable dating flakes to flake, flakers gonna’ flake!
Date at a Quality Dating Site
One of the best ways to nip dating flaking in the bud is by dating at a quality online dating site. Additionally, we really think you should be choosing a paid dating site over a free one. While it’s not much money to join a dating site, that added barrier to entry keeps the riff-raff out and cuts down on the flaky people. It doesn’t get rid of all of them, but it does a significant job of doing so. Additionally, when people have money invested in something, they tend to take it more seriously. They’re going to be there to get results, and you can’t find love if you are constantly flaking on dates.
If you’re looking for a great dating site to combat flakes, check out our list of the top 10 online dating sites we recommend. Any one of these sites would be an awesome place for you to get out of the snowstorm (flakes, get it? Sorry, dad joke). Seriously, though, where you’re fishing has a lot to do with how much dating flaking you have to deal with.
The Bottom Line | Know Your Worth
We wanted to close with something that is important. All dad jokes aside, we want to talk about why you shouldn’t let people flake on you. It’s because you’re worth more than that. You are someone special. Your time is special. Getting the privilege to spend time with you is special. If someone can’t take the time to make you a priority for just a little time during the week, then what sort of quality relationship can you expect to have with that person?
Realize that you are important and don’t let people who don’t see you that way get the privilege of getting any more of your time or effort.
Don’t let people become a priority in your life when you are just an option in theirs.
Written By: Jason Lee
Jason Lee is a data analyst with a passion for studying online dating, relationships, personal growth, healthcare, and finance. In 2008, Jason earned a Bachelors of Science from the University of Florida, where he studied business and finance and taught interpersonal communication.
His work has been featured in the likes of The USA Today, MSN, NBC, FOX, The Motley Fool, Net Health, and The Simple Dollar. As a business owner, relationship strategist, dating coach, and US Army Veteran, Jason enjoys sharing his unique knowledge base with the rest of the world.
Jason has worked in the online dating industry for over 10 years and has personally reviewed over 200 different dating apps and dating websites and continues to be a leading voice in the relationship and dating community, both online and in person.