There comes a pivotal moment while waiting for a date to arrive at which point you have to make the official call: you’ve been stood up. This moment differs from person to person – some people might give up after waiting fifteen minutes, others thirty, or even an hour for some. Or you may be in the George Costanza camp and wait about five minutes, after which you eagerly go home, change clothes, order food, and bask in the glory of eating dinner in front of the TV in your underwear. (Wasn’t it George who said something like, “I never met an obligation I was upset to get out of!”?)
No matter your personal tolerance for tardiness, being stood up is no fun. But, how do you determine if someone is just really late, or if there is a legitimate emergency, or if they just aren’t coming at all? If you’re the one running late, how far in advance do you inform your date? If one party is running really late, at what point do you decide to just cancel or reschedule? If someone has a good excuse for being late or not showing up, do you give him/her another chance? As usual, I offer more questions than answers. However, here are some general guidelines:
- I generally give people a ten-minute leeway without question, but I tend to run on the late side myself, so your tolerance may vary.
- If you are going to be more than a few minutes late, inform the person who is waiting for you and apologize when you arrive.
- If you’re waiting on someone who is 5-10 minutes late, try not to make a big fuss about his/her unpunctuality on the first date. Stuff happens – be forgiving. But if it happens continuously and it bothers you, speak up!
- If you are going to be 20 or more minutes late, you better have a decent excuse (or make one up). Call your date, explain, and offer to reschedule if he or she prefers.
- If you’re waiting on someone who is significantly late, call and/or text to make sure you correctly communicated the same date, time, and location. It’s definitely possible that one of you showed up at a different location of the same place, for example.
- Waiting on someone longer than 20 minutes consistently? Possible grounds for dismissal.
- In the event that you get a better offer on the day of the date (or on the way to) and you decide to ditch your plans altogether, please inform your date. Say something came up. I suspect that this happened to me once – I was waiting for a guy to pick me up, and he never showed. After texting and giving him a ring, I got no response and never heard from him again! But don’t worry about his well-being – I could see that he was regularly logging in online and even updated his profile photos not long after that night. Harrumph.
Anyway, the point is: be considerate of people’s time. If someone isn’t considerate of yours, proceed with caution. And if you’re completely stood up? At least you can always spend the evening with an awesome, good-looking person, i.e., yourself.