FOR SINGLES: What to Do When Your Date Disappears?

3281587E6C94C6DDE91F9B5EE35B4FWe’ve all been there. A few nice dates that amount to a budding relationship and then, for no apparent reason, your date goes off radio. No texts. No calls. No emails. In these times of high-speed relationships and loose digital connection, there is a no-man’s-land of “are we a couple or not” where plenty of people feel free to bolt with no explanation, leaving others anxiously containing themselves while they wait for more contact. But when a date goes off radio, you are being presented with a unique opportunity to practice healthy communication. So I suggest you make one big brave phone call or voice mail.

Let me be clear about the purpose of the call. It is simply to express yourself in an honest and emotional way. It is not to “get” your date to “like” you again or to pick up the relationship using a rewind button that set to just before the last date. The object is to clarify and express your feelings for yourself, and to help make sense of your emotions. Here are four important rules for healthy communication:

1. Be big enough to compliment
2. Don’t take things personally.
3. Take responsibility for your mistakes
4. Be open and positive.

First construct a short monologue with a plan to leave your date a voice mail. In the rare event that he or she might actually pick up the phone, be prepared to express herself in person. Here’s an example:

“Hi, it’s (your name). I just wanted to leave a message to let you know that I really enjoyed getting to know you during our few evenings together. Since I haven’t heard from you since, I am wondering if everything is okay with you and if I can be of help in any way. If, on the other hand, there is something that I said or did that may have accidentally offended you, I just wanted to apologize. I think you’re great and I look forward to seeing you, should we run into each other.”

Now let’s take apart this emotional communication and look at it sentence by sentence, so that you can understand exactly what is expressed and why:

“I just wanted to leave a message to let you know that I really enjoyed getting to know you during our few evenings together.”

Be big enough to compliment. All difficult communication is best received with an honest compliment as an ice breaker. If your date were live on the phone, this sentence might prevent him or her from going into a defensive mode where they would miss what you are saying because their brain was busy thinking up retorts, excuses, and other defenses. This is the most basic truth of the whole situation. If you hadn’t enjoyed the company, you probably wouldn’t have had so much anxiety about his disappearance.

“Since I haven’t heard from you since, I am wondering if everything is okay with you and if I can be of help in any way.”

Don’t take things personally. This is a wonderfully self-confident way of expressing that you can contain your own feelings of abandonment and instead wonder about your new friends’ needs. It shows that you are a caring, compassionate person and can be quite understanding of any personal issue that may have made him or her break communication.

“If, on the other hand, there is something that I said or did that may have accidentally offended you, I just wanted to apologize.”

Take responsibility for your mistakes. In this sentence, you acknowledge that you are human and might even have some flaws you are unaware of. It also demonstrates that you can openly communicate your feelings, work to understand the situation, and to take personal responsibility. This is also not being arrogant or blaming. Believe it or not, this is the most powerful sentence.

“I think you’re great and I look forward to seeing you, should we run into each other.”

Be open and positive. This is your chance to close with a compliment and leave the door open for future interactions. You’ve made it clear here that even though time has passed, you won’t give your date grief should they turn up in the future. Clearly, you weren’t critical, blaming, or angry. You also showed that you’re not pining away counting the minutes until your date calls. Nor are you demanding that your date offer an explanation. This sentence isn’t closure, nor is it making emotional demands. It is just expressing positive feelings and letting your date know that you would be receptive to future contact, while showing that you are a stable, happy person, even while acknowledging the lapse in communication.

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