You said yes — and now you want to say no. If you’re having second thoughts about the plans-for-two you just agreed to, here are a few of the best excuses/reasons for backing out of a date.
You double-booked yourself.
The “double-booked” excuse is one of the few that let’s you use “honoring a commitment” as a way to get out of a commitment. Essentially, you’re apologizing for making other plans that you need to prioritize, whether it’s because you made them first, or because they hold greater importance to you. Even if you don’t have a specific event that’s conflicting with your date, feeling overwhelmed by a full schedule can still be reason enough to back out of a date.
No one wants to date a sick person. No one wants to be duped by a fake sick person, either. Subsequently, this excuse works best when you’re legitimately under the weather and/or are willing to spend the night on your couch as if you were. (Don’t go out on the town after cancelling your date for reasons of sickness. Odds are that you’ll run into the person you just cancelled on.) Text that your throat hurts and can’t chat. Then apologize profusely.
You’re seeing someone else.
This excuse might be met with a little defensiveness or anger, but it lets the person know that, A, you aren’t interested in dating around and playing games, and, B, you’ve decided that he/she isn’t the one. This excuse is more final than some of the others, with no real freedom to reschedule if you change your mind later.
You need to be there for someone else.
Don’t announce that your grandmother died if she’s very much alive. If you need to ditch date plans, taking advantage of a minor tragedy, however, is an easy excuse. Apologize for cancelling, then stress that a friend is going through a really hard time and needs you. (“She was there for me when I went through something similar and I just can’t abandon her right now.”) Maybe you need to step up as a last-minute babysitter for your nieces and nephews. Maybe your old college roommate is making a surprise visit. Let your excuse indicate that you’re a giving selfless person, and that going on a nice date would be a selfish choice on this particular evening.
You’re working late.
Most people can be sympathetic to crazy-busy work environments and looming deadlines. Use the “My hands are tied, I just can’t get away from the office” excuse only if you’re sure you can stretch your day’s work into the evening. If you’re “working late,” don’t be found downtown with friends. Be prepared for your date to try to reschedule. To avoid making more plans, explain that work is overwhelming at the moment and that you don’t think you’ll be in the right headspace for a nice evening out for a while. Apologize and don’t leave the person with too much hope.
You don’t want to go.
Maybe you have no romantic interest in the person. Maybe you’re not over your ex. Maybe you just feel uncomfortable with the idea of going on another date. Be honest, gentle and direct: “I had a really great time last week. And I think you’re great. I’m afraid I thought I was ready to date again, but I now realized I’m not. I’m so sorry, but I’m going to have to cancel on tomorrow’s dinner.”
Even though it may be the most awkward way to back out of a date, the honest way is still the best one. No one wants to be lied to.