OnlyPlans: What We Know About The Obnoxious Dating Trend

Although one would have thought, or at least hoped, that 2023 would bring an onset of new, healthy, and positive dating trends, we're starting to realize that has not been the case. Maybe the latter half of the year will surprise us? June is still a long way off from now, so we might as well settle in and emotionally and mentally prepare ourselves for this round of disappointing dating trends.


Dating apps, as anyone who uses them knows, have provided a whole slew of trends — most of which are negative — causing those of us on these apps to learn a whole new language to identify each of these trends. For example, did any of us ever think we'd have to know the meaning of the terms reverse catfishing, 180-dating, or textationship? Or that we'd even use these terms and so many others in regard to our dating lives? Probably not. But here we are, and this is the life we're living in 2023. That being said, it's time to add yet another term to our dating trend vocabulary: OnlyPlans.

What is OnlyPlans?

OnlyPlans — not to be confused with OnlyFans — is when you meet someone online, plan a date with them, and then back out and reschedule. While all our lives are crazy busy and most of us have a lot going on, making it perfectly normal that someone might have to cancel, with OnlyPlans, the canceling and rescheduling goes on and on and on. And on. It gets to a point where you're not even sure why this particular match is bothering with constantly making plans with you, if they have no intended follow through — or maybe their intention to meet up with you is legit, but they really are that super busy.


No matter the reason (or excuses), it's exhausting to have to rearrange your schedule for someone you don't even know, and not even be sure if your rearranged schedule is worth it because they are likely just to bail and reschedule again. 

Why might someone do it

First of all, we need to keep in mind that we'll never really know why people do the things they do. Even if that person gives a list of reasons why they act a certain way, we'll never actually know the truth behind the thinking that fuels their behavior. This can be said about strangers, as well as those close to us. Because of this, all you can do is take someone at their word and hope for the best.


"Sometimes, [canceling is] genuinely a product of someone struggling to manage their hectic schedule, but unfortunately, dithering about locking a date in the diary can also be a sign that someone's simply not that interested in you," Plenty of Fish relationship guru Alix Fox tells Glamour. "They may be uncertain about whether they truly want to date anyone properly at all — aka 'hesidating,' which Plenty Of Fish identified as a key trend in 2022 — or perhaps they selfishly like the ego boost of knowing you'll eagerly say yes to any meet up they suggest. Don't let an OnlyPlanner leave you a sad, disappointed LonelyPlanner!"

Yes, this is where you add "hesidating" and "LonelyPlanner" to your dating trend vocabulary just in case you'll need to use them in a conversation someday down the road. This is also where you decide whether this person in question is worth waiting around for, or if you should just unmatch them and move onto the next one.


How to recognize an OnlyPlanner

At first OnlyPlans may not be obvious, especially if you have a great rapport in your messages and you, too, have a busy schedule. But after a handful of cancellations and rescheduling, it should start to sink in that something isn't right. It's here that you may want to look at their profile again or reread some of your messages and see if there's anything there in between the lines that you initially missed. 


As Fox points out, because OnlyPlans can stem from some people needing an ego boost, revisiting your chats and their profile might unravel and clear some things up for you. You may be able to see that, at least on their end, they're in dire need of something, anything, that will give their self-esteem a jolt. It may not make sense to everyone, but for some, just knowing that someone wants to meet them IRL is all they need to get that egotistical satisfaction that comes with attention. But what these people fail to recognize is that while they're getting what they need, they're doing so at the expense of someone else.

How to protect yourself

The best way to protect yourself from OnlyPlans is to have a maximum number of cancellations that you'll allow. In fact, you can even put it in your dating profile or mention in a message after you match with someone that you'll only put up with being canceled on X amount of times. For some people, one cancellation might be enough for an unmatch, while for another, they might be willing to stick it out for a few rounds or go for the "three strikes and you're out" technique.


There's nothing wrong with putting something out there that conveys to others that your time is important to you. It's okay that you, too, have a lot going on, and not only do you respect your own time, but you want to be around people who respect their time and your time, too. Managing our time is difficult enough as it is. The last thing we need is someone who's wasting our time and not caring about it. It really does come down to respect.

Why you should avoid doing it yourself

Apologies for the tough love, but if you have no desire to actually meet someone in real life, you shouldn't continue to make plans with them. If you have no intention of dating at all, but you enjoy the matches and chats because it makes you feel desirable, that's fine, but you want to be honest with your matches about this. You may find that others feel the same, which is a win-win for both of you. But for those who are looking for love and to move the messaging part of dating apps into real life, then you want to let them know your true intentions. In doing so, you give them the opportunity to decide what's right for them and unmatch you if having a pen pal isn't going to cut it.


While a lot of people use dating apps just to hook up, even more people use them to find love and a serious relationship. But neither of these can be born out of OnlyPlans. So, it's up to you to decide if you're cool with endless rescheduling or if there's a limit to how much time you're willing to give someone you haven't even met, and may never meet.