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. 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 it. On Thursday afternoon, he calls, profusely apologizing with a “good excuse,” and asks, “Can we reschedule?”
I am not upset. But I am not willing to take the same risk again. So I reply, “Sure, I understand. Let’s go for Monday at 6pm. But let’s play a game together. If, for any reason, I cancel our appointment on Monday I will 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.