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How I didn't feel "taken advantage of"

On occasion, here in China, I will meet a new potential friend. We would both like to get to know each other better. So we set an appointment for 6pm on Tuesday. When we set the appointment, I know there’s a risk that they might cancel. I accept that risk. On Tuesday morning I get a message from him, “Oh, I am so sorry because…. I need to cancel today. Can we reschedule?” My reply is, “Sure, how about 6pm Thursday?” We reset the appointment and I have no upset about the fact that they canceled. I fully accepted that risk. On Thursday afternoon, he calls again, profusely apologizing with a “good excuse,” and asks, “Can we reschedule?”


I am not upset. I accepted the risk I was taking this time also. But I am not willing to take the same risk again, since this person now has a track record with me that indicates they're not so careful with how they manage their time. So I reply, “Sure, I understand. Let’s go for Monday at 6pm. But let’s play a game together this time. If, for any reason, I cancel our appointment on Monday I'll pay you 100 rmb (about $15). If you, however, should cancel, no matter the reason, you will pay me 100 rmb. Are you willing to play this game with me?”


I have done this at least a dozen times here in China. I remember one person who was not willing to play the game; and I was politely unwilling to set another appointment with them. All the others played the game and everyone showed up the third time as scheduled! Interesting, right?

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