How to not stand someone up and what to do if you have
Last week we talked about how annoying it is to be stood up for an appointment and ways to salvage the mishap. Whether it’s coffee, happy hour or a meeting, it’s just never cool. Unfortunately, I must confess that I am guilty of having missed an appointment (or two. But only two!). I have so much going on that the only way I know what I’m doing today, or what I did yesterday, is by checking my calendar. If it’s not in my calendar, it doesn’t exist. Regretfully, appointments have slipped through the cracks and I’ve been the idiot who left someone stranded. My only hope is they found a way to use the time well. So, since we’re all human here, and we’ve probably all been the one at fault, what can one do to prevent or rectify the situation?
Here’s what I’ve come up with to reduce the chance of missing the appointment:
Formalize the meet up with an invitation.
Whether you rely on Google, iCal or Outlook, there’s usually a way to send someone an invitation to the appointment. Not only does it lock it into your calendar but it puts it in theirs as well. It also creates the opportunity to verify the date, time and location of the meeting.
Confirm the meeting.
The day before, send an email or text confirming the time and location of the meeting. This gives the impression that you’re highly organized and it can greatly reduce the chance of a forgotten appointment from the other party. I usually include my cell number so they can send me a text if they’re running late. If you’ve never met before and you know what you’ll be wearing, share a tip on how to spot you.
Pick an easy, unique location.
I never, ever choose to meet at Starbucks. For one, there are many other options with far better tasting coffee. But more importantly, there can be multiple Starbucks on the same cross streets. Although you and your “date” are both at Starbucks at the same intersection, it can result in a mutual stand up when you’re waiting at different locations. I prefer to pick a unique café or restaurant with easy parking to guarantee they’ll find it and will get there easily.
So you messed up and you stood someone up. Here’s what you do next:
Call with an apology.
Don’t email, don’t text, don’t tweet, don’t chat. Call. Yes, it was an accident, but it was still extremely rude and unprofessional. Call your missed connection and apologize immediately. The longer you delay, the likelihood of a second chance decreased.
Don’t make up excuses.
Unless you had a legitimate reason for not being there, don’t start with excuses because frankly no one cares. You’re an adult, you’re responsible for showing up when expected. Own your mistake and move forward.
Offer to take them out for something better.
If you missed a coffee date, offer to take them lunch. If you missed a lunch, offer to take them to dinner. The gesture will be appreciated and it shows your remorse.
Show up early.
If you’re lucky enough to have a second opportunity to meet with them, you’d better not mess up again. Show up and show up early. Pick a good spot so you can catch them walking through the door.
When you’re sitting across from the person you once stood up, don’t make a bigger deal out of missing them the last time. If you apologize too much it will become annoying. Just show them respect by thanking them for giving you a second shot and making the time in their schedule. They’ll get over it and hopefully you can still get what you were hoping for from the meeting.