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Stood Up is a Romance Trope that extends over several genres. Bob and Alice make plans to get together, either a date or just hanging out (with one or both of them pinning their hopes on it really being a date). The big night comes. Bob and Alice get all gussied up for the meeting. Alice ends up sitting in her best dress in the fancy restaurant. Bob never shows.

And the soundtrack obligingly plays piano music meant to evoke sympathy. And Alice waits.

And waits. And waits. And waits...

...until the restaurant starts closing up for the night, leaving Alice to accept the ugly truth — she's been Stood Up. The staff of the restaurant react in one of two ways:

  1. They dutifully keep bringing water, wine and/or breadsticks with sympathy for her plight.
  2. They snicker up their sleeves at the loser getting stood up, and gleefully shoo her out when the chairs get put up and the lights turned off.

Outcomes usually break down into five types:

  1. Bob shows up at the eleventh hour with an apology and an extremely good reason for not having been there. Alice, stunned, accepts the apology and gives him another chance.
  2. Bob shows up sometime later with an apology and an extremely good reason for not having been there. Alice may or may not forgive him. Alternatively, Bob shows up, intending to give an excuse but Alice refuses to listen, ie by slamming the door in his face. Alice later finds out what happened from someone else and has to apologise to Bob.
  3. Bob shows up later with an apology and an extremely good reason for not having been there but he can't explain or if he does, Alice doesn't believe him. This usually makes things worse between Bob and Alice. Type Three Stood Up situations are commonplace for Superhero stories, or people in supernatural situations, unless there's a Dating Catwoman situation going on.
  4. Bob's either The Ditz or a Jerkass and the whole thing slipped his mind or something more important/interesting came up. He may genuinely be apologetic, have an explanation, and try to make amends afterward or he may not. If Bob's a huge Jerkass, he never planned to show up and it's a Prank Date instead.
  5. Bob is missing, comatose, presumed or actually dead. Alice grieves awhile then goes on with her life. This would make it a case of Doomed Appointment.

The person stuck doing the waiting in a Stood Up situation is almost Always Female, though doesn't have to be related to romance.

Examples of Stood Up include:

Anime and Manga

  • Tenchi in Tokyo has a mixture of Type 1 and Type 4 in a certain episode that features Tenchi agreeing to meet up with his classmate and prospect girlfriend Sakuya Kumashiro, but Ryoko shows up and they go in an impromptu date. When it's all over and Ryoko goes back home after a great day, Tenchi goes home, passes by the local park... and finds Sakuya, who has been waiting for him around five hours (thank God she chose a bench in the park instead of a restaurant). She lets Tenchi explain himself and forgives him, but she can't help crying anyway as she explains herself to Tenchi as well. Since Sakuya is a "shadow" of the Big Bad Yuugi, there's some lampshading as Yuugi watches the whole exchange over, and when Sakuya starts crying... Yugi cries too, much to her own shock.
  • Code Geass does a version of Stood Up that doesn't quite fit one of the five examples above. Shirley, one of Lelouch's best friends who has a crush on him, invites him to a concert. When an important meeting for his La Résistance group comes up, he tries to phone her to apologize and not rise suspicions/risks for either of them, but she calls him first to say that she and her mother have to do something out in the country. When he finally shows up at the concert hall long after it's over, Shirley's standing alone in the rain and looking very tearful. He tries to apologize, but she interrupts to reveal that her father Joseph was killed by Zero (Lelouch's secret identity), and that "something out in the country" was identifying his corpse. Cue full-episode Angst for Lelouch. And a full-blown Break the Cutie for poor Shirley.
  • Sousuke from Full Metal Panic does Type 3 to Chidori fairly often, when he's called to go away on a mission and forgets to tell her.
  • Hiro in Ef- A Tale of Memories tells his would be girlfriend Miyako he'll meet her at the fountain. In a classic Type 4, his other potential love interest Kei gets a serious injury in her leg and he accompanies her to the clinic. Miyako is so distressed that she waits for hours and leaves a series of 99(!) increasingly distressed messages on his phone, which he doesn't have with him. (To be fair to Miyako, she's so despaired because she has ENORMOUS issues due to her parents's horrible divorce and subsequent Parental Abandonment) Kei finds said phone and deletes them before he can even check, out of pure jealousy.
  • A particularly tragic version of Type 5 occurs in Outlaw Star. Jim sets up a date with a Hanyou, nice girl that he meets... and then without even knowing it kills her in a space battle. Neither was aware that the other was aboard the ship that they were fighting and both wanted to hurry up and win so that they could make the date. In the end Jim shows up on time and when Hanyou doesn't he thinks that he's been stood up and her parents took her away.
  • Type 1 almost happened in Mahou Sensei Negima when, thanks to a drugged tea, Negi overshot an afternoon nap and woke up four hours after his date with Nodoka. After panicking a bit, Chamo reminds Negi that since it's Nodoka he's dating, there's a very good chance that she patiently waited for him during all that time, making Negi panic even more. Good thing that it was all part of Chao's test run for her experimental Time Machine, eh?
  • Non-romantic version happens in Hayate the Combat Butler. Hayate sends Hinagiku a challenge letter (written by Isumi). After thinking it over she realizes she might be in love with him, and the letter is his way of planning to confess to her. She waits until 11:30 before he arrives, getting increasingly angry at his lateness. When he finally does show up, she attacks him before he can explain himself.
    • It was her birthday that the 'date' was to happen, and he's promised her a present in thanks for letting him stay over earlier. Even though there's nothing romantic about it, neither of them planned to confess, she does realize she's in love with him at the end of the night.
    • Hayate had a good reason for forgetting it, as well, making this a Type 2. The challenge was issued because he needed to defeat her to get rid of a curse. During the festival she was named for, Nagi got kidnapped, and Hayate had to deal with running through the crowd while crossdressed to save her. She then frightened off the curse, so, tired and with no further reason to still keep the appointment, he falls asleep right after that, waking up thinking he's forgotten something, and then remembers.
  • A really strange variant happens in an early chapter of Maison Ikkoku. Godai asks Kyoko to a fancy restaurant for the anniversary of her becoming the landlady. However, she mistook the name of the restaurant for the local pub. She realizes the mistake later in the evening and rushes there.
  • In Tiger and Bunny, Keith/Sky High goes through Type Five. The girl he befriended and fell for was a Robot Girl that he had just destroyed, unaware of such a fight due to her appearance being destroyed previously. Later, he shows up with roses to thank her for her help, unaware that he "killed" her...
  • Nanako Misonou from Oniisama e... is in the receiving end of Type Five in the anime. Rei Asaka, the older girl she was meeting with, falls in the path of a train and gets fatally hit. The police calls her siblings Takeshi and Fukiko, with the latter attending the call and suffering an Heroic BSOD. Nanako, however, has no idea, so she waits for Rei in their date spot for hours, and doesn't find out until she gets ready to go home... and then her friend Tomoko meets up with her and takes her to the hospital where Fukiko, Takeshi, and Rei's best friend Kaoru are waiting — next to Rei's lifeless body. The poor kid's following Heroic BSOD is the Tear Jerker of the series.
  • A non-romantic version happened in Yu-Gi-Oh!, where Jonouchi/Joey promised his sister and mother to visit. He took a shortcut to be sure to make it in time, but was assaulted.
  • A Type 4 takes place in Romeo X Juliet. During the series' equivalent of Valentines Day, Romeo hangs out with Juliet and even gives her a kiss... but he's actually supposed to go out with his arranged fiancée Hermione instead and forgets about it, leaving the poor girl out there waiting for him. His father (and Big Bad) Laertes is furious at Romeo and slaps him for it, and Hermione herself has to intervene to keep the old man from taking Rome's Cool Horse Ciel away as further punishment.

Fan Fiction

  • In A Rose And A Thorn, Amy is stood up by Sonic in the first chapter in a Type 4. She meets Shadow while she's walking home in the rain, and they end up having sex at her place.
  • In The Mating Frenzy, Naruto is given a letter "from Hinata" (long story) inviting him for sex. He doesn't know where she lives, and, being Naruto, doesn't think to check the return address. She has a huge crush on him. She gets stood up. She rapes him in his sleep. It's a long story.


  • Inverted in a recent issue of Spider-Man, where Peter Parker is (unintentionally) stood up by Mary Jane Watson after spending the day trying to remember where he agreed to meet her. Of course, Peter has had to ditch a fair number of dates while trying to save the day.


  • In Ghost Rider it happened twice!
    • The first time is Type 3. Johnny Blaze and Roxanne plan to run away together to avoid her father breaking them up. But Johnny's father dies as a side-effect of a Deal with the Devil, and Johnny, realizing what his life will become, rolls on past her without ever stopping to explain. Roxanne understands; she thinks it's just because he watched his father die and couldn't handle anything emotional at that time.
    • The second occasion, also Type 3 is years later. Johnny has seen Roxanne reporting on one of his stunt shows. He risks life and limb and stops traffic to get her to agree to a date with him. She grudgingly agrees. Unfortunately, the night of their date is the night Satan decides to call in his marker. Johnny is forced to become Ghost Rider and fight Satan's enemies. Roxanne drinks an entire bottle of wine while she waits; and the waiter does nothing to reassure her. The next morning, when Johnny explains to Roxanne what happened, she tells him she can either believe he believes what he's saying and have him committed or accept that he's so messed up he'd rather make up a crazy story than be honest with her. This is something of a stupid moment for the viewer, given that in the Comic Book Marvel Universe, she'd know that such things were perfectly plausible. But Adaptation Decay and the problems of the Marvel Universe movies being produced by different studios is why something that's elementary in the comics is troublesome in a movie. Except that every comic movie so far (save Iron Man, which will be joined by the Incredible Hulk, Thor, G.I.Ant Man, and Captain America to form a new continuity) has been set in its own, real-world based continuity.
  • Jumping Jack Flash has a Type 2.
    • Terri has risked life and limb to help trapped spy Jack get out of Eastern Europe alive. When Jack says he can't possibly repay her, Terri tells him she'll settle for a fancy dinner. She arrives, all dressed up because she's developed a crush on Jack. But he doesn't show. A sympathetic waitstaff permits Terri to wait. Jack's buddy and co-worker Peter arrives to tell Terri Jack has been detained. He offers to pay for her breadsticks and water, but Terri refuses because it makes her feel like a prostitute. Jack's good reason turns out to be that he had an audience with The Queen of England to thank him for his diligent efforts. Terri is unwilling to forgive him until she realizes he's made good on showing up in person.
  • In Sky High, there is a Type 4.
    • Will realizes he's started mistreating his original group of friends when his powers manifest and he's moved from Sidekick to Hero. By way of making it up to childhood friend Layla, he invites her out for Chinese food. This is doubly significant because Layla has romantic feelings for Will, and Will hates Chinese food, but knows Layla loves it; so Will's truly trying to prove how sincerely sorry he is. Unfortunately, the Alpha Bitch, Gwen, puts the moves on Will that afternoon and evening and he completely forgets about having promised to meet Layla for dinner. Layla is left to lean on the shoulder of busboy Warren Peace. On remembering, Will feels like a Jerkass, and Layla is understandably furious.
  • Cast Away is a Type 5. Chuck is missing for so long that his wife fiancée has him declared legally dead. When he finally returns, she has moved on.
  • In The Lake House, there's the very special case of Kate actually telling Alex not to come, but she doesn't know it because time travel is involved. Arguably doesn't fall to any of the above types, but it could be viewed as type 5, because he dies in that timeline.
  • In Tim Burton's 1989 Batman, Vicki Vale thinks that Bruce Wayne stood her up for dinner at the museum. In reality, Joker had set it up. After Joker gasses the other patrons and trashes the museum, he menaces Vicki for a while until Batman shows up and rescues her.
  • There's a particularly bizarre version in The Sixth Sense, and when Malcolm shows up all apologies, his wife simply mutters "Happy anniversary", otherwise ignoring him. There's a reason, of course...
  • In Flubber, Robin Williams plays an extremely absentminded well-intentioned Mad Scientist character. How absentminded? Near the beginning of the movie he misses his own wedding, and his girlfriend breaks up with him, because this is the third time he's done it.
  • A Type 2 showed up in Last Chance Harvey. Turns out the poor guy was in the hospital for a preexisting condition and extremely upset about it. He got quite cranky with the doctors.
  • In the sixth Harry Potter film, Harry flirts with a random Muggle waitress, whom he's forced to stand up when Dumbledore arrives just before their date. She's never seen again. Roger Ebert took a liking to this incidental character and expressed his hope that they could fit her into the next movie somehow.
  • Subverted with a side of One Dialogue, Two Conversations in You've Got Mail.
  • In Warrior Cats, Leafpool accidentally does this to Crowfeather - she'd promised to meet him, but then had to come desperately to RiverClan's aid when Mothwing could not heal them alone.

Live Action TV

  • Type 2 happened to Betty on her birthday on the episode 24 Candles of Ugly Betty.
  • In a rare male example, Hal from Malcolm in the Middle (who's more like the girl in the relationship to be honest), is stood up on his anniversary dinner, because Lois is attempting to find out which of her sons ruined the dress she was going to wear to dinner. Hal ends up having a good time. At the end of the episode it is revealed that Hal burned the dress accidentally.
  • Not actually romantic--or at least, we hope not--but in an early episode of Alias, after finding out what her father does for a living (he's a spy, like her), the two of them make a dinner date for the first time in many, many years. You see her waiting... and then he pulls up outside, outside her field of vision. You think, just for a second, that he's doing to join her... and then he pulls out his phone and says he's working late. She accepts this quietly, then almost breaks down once he hangs up because she knows he's lying to her.
  • Type 4 occured on Season 1 of Scrubs. J.D was meant to meet his girlfriend at a restaurant, but was on a roll at the hospital and either forgot about it, or put his job first (he claimed to have forgotten, but Dr. Cox pointed out he was continually checking his watch). His girlfriend was not happy.
  • Played with in an episode of Friends. Ross is waiting on a blind date who doesn't seem to be showing up. The waiter seems amused at first (he asks if Ross thinks the date turned up, saw him, then left) but later seems sympathetic and offers him a free appetiser. It turns out that the waiters have a pool on how long it will take for Ross to give up and leave, and the waiter was just trying to keep him there longer. And the reason the date doesn't turn up? Joey and Phoebe made her up.
    • Actually, they didn't make her up - Joey and Phoebe wanted to set Ross and Rachel up with horrible dates to make them realize that they should be together, but Joey screws up by finding the perfect woman for Ross. So he calls it off with the girl, but leaves Ross to get stood up.
  • Now and Again: Combination of 3 and 4. Michael's handler wants him to break off contact with his wife, who believes her husband to be dead and thinks Michael is someone else (long story). When she asks Michael to dinner, the handler forces him to accept the invitation and then stand her up so she won't want anything to do with him.
  • Green Wing has Type 2: at the end of season 2, Mac is supposed to meet Caroline at a train station, but at the last minute learns that he has terminal brain cancer, causing him to freak out and leave town without telling anyone. Caroline is left alone at the station until Guy, the third part of their Love Triangle, shows up. In the series finale, Mac returns to find Guy and Caroline are engaged, but after he's revealed that he's dying, he's the one who ends up marrying Caroline, with Guy's blessing.
  • Recent example on Home and Away: Nicole accidentally stands Liam up when her phone is broken thanks to a water fight.
  • The Nanny has a cross between types 1 and 5: Maxwell Sheffield never shows up for his date with Fran because he got mugged, beaten up, and knocked unconscious on his way there; Fran figures something's wrong and goes out to find him. She finds him in an alley, and everything ends well after he proposes to her, even though the muggers stole the engagement ring he was going to give her.
  • CSI: NY had a rare female on male version that was somewhere between Type 1 and Type 2...Lindsay had agreed to meet Danny for dinner but stood him up because she was wanting to deal with her past trauma on her own before going anywhere with a relationship. Things worked out eventually and later they're a Happily Married Official Couple.


  • The song "Misunderstanding" by British band Genesis.
  • Jethro Tull's "Bad Eyed And Loveless", from their album Too Old To Rock And Roll, Too Young To Die.
  • The music video for Smash Mouth's "Waste", is a Type 5 where the guy doesn't show because he's been beat up by the mob and stuck in the restaurant freezer. The girl winds up leaving the restaurant while he falls into despair.
  • George Strait's song "Heart Like Hers" is a type four were the girl's man repetedly stands her up. The irony is that there's a type five love triangle going on where George's persona is in love with the girl, who's in love with the guy who keeps on standing her up!
  • In "Annie Waits" by Ben Folds, the titular character has been stood up, and she thinks it was a Type 4, but then wonders if it would be better or worse if it was a Type 5.


  • Happens to Kate Monster in Avenue Q on the observation deck of the Empire State Building.

Video Games


Western Animation

  • Danny Phantom has an honorable mention. Sam takes an overshadowed Tucker on an invite to the dance because Valerie stood him up. But we don't see the waiting...and the standing up may not have happened either, as it was Danny telling Sam the stand up happened.
    • Which, really, would make it a stand up in Valerie's case, probably considered Type 4.
  • An episode of The Simpsons has Bart doing Type 4 to his teacher Miss Krabapple as a culmination of a prank where he wrote her love letters under a fake name. When he feels guilty and confesses to Marge, she advises him to write a final letter making it look like a Type 5 kind of situation.
  • Terry, the protagonist of Batman Beyond, is constantly doing Type 3 to his girlfriend, Dana, in lieu of a Gotham City crime. This happens so much throughout the series that Dana even breaks up with Terry once or twice, only to go back to him at the end of the episode. At one point, her breaking up with him due to his constant standing up allows for Terry to Date Catwoman.
  • Alfred classily turns up to apologize to the young woman he cajoled Bruce into making an online date with in an episode of The Batman.
  • The Futurama episode "The Late Philip J. Fry" has Fry pull a Type 4 by oversleeping his lunch date with Leela. He promises to make it up to her at dinner, which she doesn't expect to go much better. Sure enough, he fails to show up for dinner, and Leela assumes he pulled another Type 4 to go party (which becomes a Type 5 when she learns that the party he was supposedly at blew up). Fry was actually late/missing because the Professor forced him into testing a forwards-only time machine, which ended up going thousands of years into the future instead of one minute, making it a true Type 5 (but not for the reason Leela thinks). Eventually subverted, when after cycling through the universe twice, Fry apologizes to Leela for being late, only for her to tell him that he was on time.