Modern dating is full of a variety of frustrations. Dating apps have changed the landscape of love, and with new problems cropping up, new terms have been invented to describe these problems.
For example, “breadcrumbing” is the act of using calls and texts to keep stringing someone along, while “ghosting” describes someone who simply disappears from a relationship after it has been established.
If you are actively dating, you might have heard another term crop up: “Only Plans.” This phrase is a play on words, using the name of a popular adult photo site—OnlyFans. Only Plans can be used as a verb:” He’s ‘only planning’ me!” — or as an adjective: “sounds like he’s an ‘OnlyPlans’ type of guy.”
If this terminology all sounds strange, don’t worry. This article will take you through everything you need to know about this new dating trend and how it can inform your own dating choice.
First things first: There is a difference between someone having to cancel on plans because of a legitimate excuse one time and being “only planned.” Only planning someone is a pattern of behavior. You might want to give someone a second chance if they cancel once and make an effort to reschedule.
However, you won’t want to normalize canceling all the time. If someone’s actions tell you that you are not a priority, you should listen to them.
Many people use work as an excuse for why they can’t follow through on plans because it is seen as “socially acceptable.”
However, if someone has such an intense work schedule that they can not follow through on commitments in their personal life, it is a clear sign they are not ready to date. What they are doing is actively prioritizing work above dating—and if you are serious about finding a partner, this will not make for a sustainable relationship.
If you have tried to make plans with someone multiple times, but they haven’t followed through, you will probably want to give up on that relationship. Actions speak louder than words, and at the end of the day, you should listen to people’s actions. Even if it is for legitimate reasons, after a certain number of cancellations, the conclusion must be drawn that life is too chaotic for the canceler and further plans shouldn’t be attempted.
If there is one big takeaway we can have, it’s that following through on plans is important when possible. We should know ourselves well enough to refrain from making plans we ultimately won’t want to carry out.
If you have found yourself canceling on plans you’ve made, this could be a sign that you should do some introspection. Are you pushing yourself to date before you are ready? Are you violating your own boundaries by forcing yourself into situations you aren’t comfortable with?
If you find yourself encountering this type of behavior regularly, it can be discouraging. Having plans canceled happens to most active daters nowadays at some point or another. Knowing how to cope with this is an essential part of being able to remain optimistic while dating.
The most important thing you can do in the early stages of dating is to remain realistic. Until you get to know someone, you can’t set expectations for how things will work out. If you get your hopes up too high, the disappointment will be more hurtful. This is why you should wait for a few dates to assess your potential partner’s behavior before investing in them emotionally.
Another good strategy for those who are getting dates canceled regularly is to set up a phone date or FaceTime date first. This can help vet people before going on a date. If they can commit to (and show up to) a phone call, they will be more likely to show up for the actual date. And it can give you a read on their vibes to better figure out if you want to go on that date in the first place.
According to an article by the Chicago Tribune, canceling plans could even be a sign of mental struggles.
If you or someone you are close to consistently finds yourself in situations where you are backing out of established commitments, therapy might help develop the skills to follow through, set boundaries, and be more realistic about your own needs.
If you are the one who is being canceled on, perhaps you can take some solace in the fact that your love interest’s lack of follow-through probably has nothing to do with you.