How Long Should I Wait for My Date to Turn Up? Dating Etiquette Hot Topic

Many of us have been there. You’re sitting in a bar or restaurant patiently waiting for your date to turn up, watching the time tick by. How long should you wait if you don’t hear from them? Are they just really late or have you been stood up? 

We all know being late is a lack of consideration of someone else’s time (and therefore bad manners), but on a date in particular, it can be an ego-crushing feeling.

So how long should you wait on your date and is there an exact amount of time before it’s seen as bad etiquette? Waiting for your date to arrive can be a nerve-wracking experience, but knowing when to hold out and when to move on is key to maintaining your cool and respecting your time. 

Scenario: Your date is late and has not communicated they are running late…

  • The 10-Minute Mark:
    • It’s generally recommended to wait for about 10 minutes past the agreed-upon meeting time before reaching out. This allows for unexpected delays or last-minute hiccups. After the initial 10-minute mark, it’s absolutely fine to send a casual text to your date to check on their estimated time of arrival (ETA). A simple message like, “Hi, I’m sitting at a table in the back” or “Hello! Just checking in on your ETA” shows you’re still interested in the date and willing to wait. 
  • The 20-Minute Rule:
    • According to a recent poll conducted on social media (@mykameier), the majority of responses agreed that waiting for 20 minutes with no communication is the threshold before considering leaving. This gives your date a fair amount of time to let you know they are running late. It may be a simple “Stuck in Traffic!” issue. According to Modern Etiquette Made Easy, for every minute you think you will be late, you should give two minutes notice. 
  • Communication Is Key:
    • Whether you’re running late or stuck in traffic, communication is crucial. If you know you’re going to be late, let your date know. Sending a quick message beforehand shows respect for their time and lets them know your reliability. 
  • Quiet Departure:
    • If you haven’t heard from your date after 20 minutes and they haven’t let you know of any delays, it’s a good time to leave. It’s recommended to politely inform them via text that you waited but you are now heading out. 
    • As much as you may want to say something about their rudeness, make sure to refrain. It’s best to be the bigger person here and not say or do anything unkind, regardless of how angry or hurt you are. Remember you can’t help their actions but you can control your own.

And there you have it…the 10-20 minute rule when dealing with a late date.

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