Why DO Guys Make Plans Then Ditch Her?

July 6th, 2016

Moxie 101, NEW!, NEXT!, Online Dating


Name: Laura
Question: Hello there!
I’m relatively now to online dating as it didn’t really catch on in my part of the world until recently. Still navigating these waters mostly, but so far my experience seems to be pretty universal – some good dates, a few bad dates, but mostly they’ve been just “OK”. Also, ghosting, flaking, guys insisting we exchange our phone numbers before we’ve set a date, those who just want to chat aimlessly to no end… I always appreciate an opportunity to go out on a date, even if it’s not, like, mindblowingly amazing (and let’s face it, it rarely is) as I see it as a new experience and a chance to learn something. And at the end of the day, at least it means you’ve made an effort.

Anyway, a couple of, uhm, non-dates have stuck up in my mind and I’d like to hear your assessmeent of the situation and what I took out of it.

One is a guy that was among the very first I contacted. I looked at his profile, he looked back, we started talking, it all seemed to be going well. He was upfront about his working hours being weird on occasion and that he didn’t always have a lot of free time on his hands. I figured it wasn’t that important, we’re all caught up in our work sometimes. Eventually he admitted that he’s actually a couple of years older than what he stated in his profile and apologized for it. Now, me being inexperienced and naive at the time, I thought “Wow, a guy owning up to his misdeeds! That’s refreshing!”, and I let it slide. He was still within my preferred age range anyway. Now I realize it could have well been a move to impress women with his “honesty”.

So, we have a really nice chat and we agree to get back the next day and establish a date. Except that he wasn’t around the following day. I see him online a couple of days later and hit him up. No response. A few more days go by and I become a bit irritated. I didn’t want to sound clingy, passive-aggressive or anything, so I just sent him a message saying that I thought we had a nice conversation and was still interesting in meeting. If he was up for it, fine, if not, no biggie. I also said he didn’t have to respond if he didn’t feel like it, I’d understand. He replied almost immediately, apologizing for not getting back earlier and he said that he just had  too much stuff going on in his life at the moment and didn’t have the time or energy to dedicate himself to dating. I said it was fine and wished him luck. He thanked me for being understanding. A few weeks went by without me seeing him online, I figured he might really be just too busy. Eventually he pops up again, and I
thought I might as well hit him up again, just to see how he’s doing. What I got in return was that uncomfortable “Uhm, yeah, no, you’re just not my type, sorry” message that I never responded to.

I did think it sucked a bit. I guess I didn’t understand why someone would say that they’re interested if they’re really not, especially after you’ve clearly given them a way out. I mean, I still don’t understand it, but I’ve learned to accept that it’s just the way it is. And I felt stupid because this guy was clearly not into me and I thought I should have seen it coming earlier.

The other guy. In this case I was somewhat pleasantly surprised how quickly and easily we managed to click. The conversation was effortless and spontaneous, I knew what to say, he knew what to say. He wasn’t a unicorn, impossibly good looking, too good to be true, way out of my league or anything like that – he was just a guy I thought I could be attracted to (and seamingly he thought the same of me) and whose personality matched mine rather well, at least as far as you can deduct from an online conversation.

We agreed to meet, set up time and place, exchanged our phone numbers, texted each other just to confirm we got it right. So far, so good. The day before we were supposed to meet, I texted him to confirm the date. No response until late at night, which did raise my eyebrows. But he texted back eventually and said the date was still up and he was looking forward to it. On to the next day, I was about to start getting ready when I get a text from him. He says he got caught up with something (a close friend asked for help with his computer) and he wasn’t sure he’d make it on time, so he asked if we could possibly reschedule the date for the next day. I wasn’t sure what to think of it, but I figured something like that wasn’t completely outside the realms of possibility, so I agreed. He apologized once again.

So, the next day I was getting ready, almost finished and about to leave, when suspicion starts creeping in, big time. Where we were supposed to meet was closer to my place and I knew he would have to leave earlier. I text him asking if he’s on his way. No response. I wait a few minutes and decide to call him. Of course, his phone is switched off. I knew what was going on, of course I did. I called him again half an hour later just for the hell of it, the phone was still off. And there I was, all dressed up ready to go and feeling like an idiot. I’m now actually thinking he’s married or in a serious relationship and only gave me the number he uses when he wants something on the side. He hasn’t contacted me again. Of course, I haven’t tried to get in touch with him either.

I’d like to clarify that I’m NOT still hung up on these guys or whining whyyyyy it’s all happening to meeeee. Those things happen. I’m aware of that.

What I’d like is your take on what I got out of these situations. As far as the first guy is concerned, I’ve decided that if someone shows interest in you and then starts actively avoiding you, there’s really no point in pursuing it any further, no matter what they said previously. What they said could have been plain BS for whatever reason, and actions always speak louder than words, right?

I’m more in doubt about the guys like the second one. Can you ever be sure that a guy is not going to stand you up like that, other than learning from experience and trusting your instincts? I did start to feel something was off when it took him that long to confirm the date. Also, is it ever really worth it to reschedule the date after the guy cancels at pretty much the last moment over anything that’s not a clear emergency, or it’s something that you have to decide on a case to case basis?

Sorry if it all sounds like Online Dating 101. :)
Age: 28

I’m going to make this as quick as possible. Ready?



Guy #1 –  He prefaced your potential date with the explanation that he works a lot and doesn’t have a lot of time on his hands. Nobody actually looking to date someone alerts that person to all their possible short comings and limitations. He was warning you ahead of time. He planned on blowing you off all along. Next time you see that in a profile or hear that from a guy, walk away. That is, unless you just want to get laid, then by all means.

Guy #2 – You knew he wasn’t to but you plowed ahead regardless. If you were so suspicious of this guy that you had to call him to see if he was on his way, then you shouldn’t have made the date. Here’s the kicker: if things had clicked the way you thought they had with this guy, he wouldn’t have blown you off. I’ll challenge you’re assertion that he wasn’t out of your league somehow.

Buckle up: Neither of these men were all that attracted to you. What can you learn? Well, you need to recalibrate what you think your league is, because whatever you think it is? It isn’t.  When two men blow you off like this and drag their feet getting back to you, it’s because they’re waiting for a better offer. They’re playing their odds, hoping somebody they believe to be better will come through.

You’re welcome!

Also, is it ever really worth it to reschedule the date after the guy cancels at pretty much the last moment over anything that’s not a clear emergency, or it’s something that you have to decide on a case to case basis?

No, it’s never worth it. Don’t bother.




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24 Responses to “Why DO Guys Make Plans Then Ditch Her?”

  1. fuzzilla Says:

    Yup. You should’ve seen these blow-offs coming from a mile away. You should not have to work that hard and keep poking the other person to set up a date. The second they display flaky behavior (not following up, canceling last minute), they should be gone from your mind and you should be off chatting with the next prospect. Ideally, you’d be so busy chatting with multiple people that you don’t even notice when someone you’ve barely said hi to blows you off.

    You’re gonna completely exhaust and depress yourself at the rate you’re going, but luckily these are common rookie mistakes that can be unlearned.

  2. Rocky Says:

    I’m going to focus on guy number 2, because women act like this too and I’ve experienced it several times.

    1. No, there’s no way to predict this. It is really frustrating but it happens. People will make plans, confirm the date, and blow you off. It sucks. People will even do this for second dates after they’ve met you. Complain to your friends, kick some dirt, then dust yourself off and move on. Tis better to be blown off than have ones time wasted with a date that the other person knows is DOA.

    2. Length of time to confirm the date. Please don’t start worrying about stuff like this. It will mess you up and drive off someone who could have been the right guy.

    3. I am not sure what a clear emergency is, but I will always reschedule if the woman asks to reschedule. I’ve only been stood up a second time once. The other times, the reason for cancelling is almost always illness. I tend to think that even if it’s just a headache, someone who is into you won’t want to see you at less than their best, at least in the first couple dates.

    Your scenario, I would have rolled the dice and rescheduled. But even if it were true, I tend to think it would show he’s not super interested.

    4. Moxie is probably right but not that helpful imho. I agree with those who believe that leagues work to explain things but not to guide action. Those guys obviously thought they could do better. For all we know, she was genuinely less excited about these guys than the guys that don’t act like this. If that’s true, how is she supposed to shoot lower? She was shooting lower.

    5. I guess that leads me to conclude: sometimes, unfortunately, there is nothing to learn.

  3. MsAdvised Says:

    **Guy #1 – He went into that first date with an escape plan. Hence why he prefaced your date with the explanation that he works a lot and doesn’t have a lot of time on his hands.**

    What? Am I mis-reading? There wasn’t a date at all with Guy #1, right? He bailed before they even set one up.

    Regardless, don’t know how many more signs of disinterest he could have given you before he had to come out and just state he was not interested.

  4. Yvonne Says:

    “…he didn’t always have a lot of free time on his hands”. Yeah, that’s guy code for “I’m not sure I”m really into you, so don’t expect a lot from me”. Even though this man kept ignoring you, you contacted him on three separate occasions. I’m wondering why you didn’t let him take at least some initiative. It’s not your responsibility to remind a relative stranger that you’re alive.

    As for the second man, he cancelled the date last minute without having a good reason. I might have given him a second chance, but I wouldn’t have been eager to reschedule so soon. I’d probably have said that the rest of the week was booked up for me, but he was welcome to get in touch for the following week. He probably wouldn’t have, but you’d already have realized that that the chances of him getting back to you were iffy.

    How can you be sure a guy isn’t going to stand you up? As soon as something feels off, take a step back. Let the guy get back to you, rather than trying to pin him down, or being overly available.

  5. Laura Says:

    Hey, LW here. Thanks for the input!

    Yeah, I’m pretty much clear on the guy #1. Like I said, I did feel stupid for pushing so hard when it was obvious he wasn’t interested, and it’s something I wouldn’t do again. I’m wondering if I’ve actually gone too far in the opposite direction, because now, when someone doesn’t follow up on their interest, I just let it go. And sometimes I do think that maybe I “give up” too easily. Then again, I’ve shown my interest, the ball is in their court, if they’re interested, they’ll react, there’s not much I can or should do.

    I agree with Yvonne that I probably shouldn’t have rescheduled the date for the very next day. I’ll keep that in mind in case a situation like that occurs again.

    It’s just that, when I’m on an actual date, I can usually tell the guy’s level of interest pretty accurately. The same goes for setting up a date with someone offline, most of the time I can see how really into it they are. There are much fewer clues that help you determine that when you’re dating online, so it gets a bit frustrating. But I’m learning. :)

    As for dating within my league, I’ve thought about it. I dunno. As far as physical appearance alone goes, I’ve dated better looking guys than those two. On the other hand, I could see how they’d think they could do better. There’s always going to be a risk of rejection unless you’re actively aiming at those you deem beneath your level – and sometimes not even then, their perception might be different altogether. I get that.

  6. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    I agree with Moxie that this is what shooting out of your league looks like. And, further to that, if you were shooting “slightly” out of your league, you would expect to have lots of dates with these guys, maybe some sex, but no hint of real exclusivity offered. Not being able to close a date is likely shooting wildly out of your league.

    As in most things in the universe, this is all relative. For the most part, and with a few exceptions, men are not divided into neat categories of “out of your league players” and “relationship-minded nice guys.” Guys are people and, accordingly, exist along the spectrum. How they treat a person will depend in large part on how they seem themselves in relation to that person. Kind of like how you might make more effort for someone who you are interested and less effort for one of those non-spark dates. I.e. you’re doing the exact same thing.

    Since you’re new to online dating, I will also add that many successful daters are not the “hottest” guys but the ones who come off as more approachable, more reserved and less aggressive. That’s the reason you’re interested in them – you think you have a shot. The needle in the haystack – only you can see their virtues, right? Nope. There are dozens of other women thinking the same thing.

    • DrivingMeNutes Says:

      Oops Diamond in the Rough, not Needle in the Haystack. Mixed up my metaphors.

    • ? Says:

      This concept of “league” is all relative. Those two guys may have well been in her league, or even below it. But if the other available women on the dating site are all a lot more desirable than her, the guys will perceive their league as higher, or hers is lower

      They may find out what their true “leagues” are, when they start getting rejected by the women they target. That’s why it is called the sexual marketplace. It is all about supply and demand, and what’s available out there and at what price (how many hoops you have to jump and how much effort you are prepared to make and how much shit you are prepared to take)

      • Parenting Says:

        Been there. Ive definitely given some homely guy a chance because he seemed nice only to be blown off an hour or two before our second date. It adds insult to injury when you are left thinking Im supposed to blow you off not the other way around!

        I can appreciate that everyone has a market value but who is in which league when you both think you can do better?

  7. Zaire Says:

    Moxie is most likely correct but instead of wasting time trying to exactly pinpoint your “league” and analyze whether or not these men were in it just follow this guideline.

    If for any reason a person you are chatting with online, went on a date with, or dated a handful of times drops communication or cancels do not contact them again. If you’re talking to someone online and they don’t respond that’s a response, it means “I’m not (that) interested”. Especially if you messaged them first. Some guys will respond just to be nice or because they are so used to making the first move it’s refreshing to have someone else do it. Doesn’t mean they are interested.

    If someone leaves you hanging the onus is on THEM to get back to you. Too busy and can’t make it to night? I understand hope things work out for you. Don’t try and reschedule, don’t accommodate, don’t text to ‘check in’ or otherwise drop hints. They know how to reach you. I had a guy do something similar after going out once. He canceled the 2nd date last minute because of work (lawyer). I said no problem, I understand and never contacted him. He contacted me 3 weeks later by then I wasn’t even interested and had moved on.

    OP I’m sorry but you pretty much set yourself up. You bulldozed right past the warning signs of disinterest and continued to pursue these guys. It’s okay we’ve all been there at least once.

    BTW this advice also applies to friendships as well. If a friend does this one too many times I keep them at a distance (most of my friends are childless and single so they really don’t have that as an excuse to flake out)

  8. PGH Gal Says:

    If a dude reschedules a first meet up, I’m out. They are either lukewarm, already in a relationship or a swlfish/rude person. Regardless, I just reply with “oh ok” but never respond to any correspondence after that.

    If someone wants to meet you, they will. Don’t chase them down. Show interest, of course. But if it isn’t reasonably reciprocated, move on.

  9. fuzzilla Says:

    Re: The Guy #1 situation…this is why I’m not a fan of responding to people you’re not interested in (or receiving responses from lukewarm people) “to be nice.” It’s not “nice,” it’s a dumb waste of time (granted, she should’ve gotten the hint, but still. There’s nothing to read into silence).

    • Rocky Says:

      I agree with this. If I were running the world, the default rule would be “response” = interest. No guessing necessary.

      That’s still the case often enough that if someone responds, whoever messages first should go ahead and ask them out. Any foot dragging at that point should be a cue to move on.

  10. Fyodor Says:

    I’d also add that just because you have a pleasant computer text chat with someone doesn’t mean that they are interested in you romantically. The first guy sent a bunch of signals that he didn’t want to date and you basically tried to badger him into it.

  11. bbdawg Says:

    The only thing to add really is anything that happens BEFORE you actually meet someone in person is meaningless. You literally can’t “click” with someone by chatting, that is completely deceiving and meaningless.

    It has happened several times in the past that people you have a nice “chat” with you absolutely do not click with in person at all. You have to treat this as a business meeting – I know this is not a sexy idea – but think of this as what recruiters do. You can’t hire people based on resume or phone interview alone.

    You have to basically *check* that you’re on the same page on a few things (i.e. basics, where they live, commuting distance, have they been married, do they have kids, etc…) and only when you meet can you make any assumptions or decisions. Once the basics have been covered you have to move to a meeting quickly.

    I used to also have a time limit for chatting/emailing i.e. I would not let chatting go past a few days, I’d literally say, “hey nice chatting with you I am not looking for penpals, I don’t want to waste my time or yours. if you’d like to meet let me know the date/time location that works best for you, otherwise good luck. I am looking to find a real connection and the only way to find out is to meet in person”.

    Only scammers and time wasters want to keep “chatting” on websites. Real people are on there to actually meet other real people.

    And i agree that it’s a bad idea to chase men on dating websites. This guy Evan Katz has this basic dating advice that you should not do anything other than reciprocate interest and I agree, if you are the one actively contacting the other person and trying to set times and dates you will never really be able to gauge if a guy has actual interest in you.

    If they’re interested they’ll pick the time and location. Otherwise you have the answer – it’s a no, it’s time to move on.

  12. BostonRobin Says:

    “Also, is it ever really worth it to reschedule the date after the guy cancels at pretty much the last moment over anything that’s not a clear emergency, or it’s something that you have to decide on a case to case basis?”

    Even if it’s an “emergency,” not worth it. I have rescheduled to test this, and it never ends well. Sometimes I get an absurd story out of it though, like the one about the “Key Lady.” She started sending me mad texts just before we were to meet about having mislaid her keys. Okay, she had just moved to the area (already a big yellow flag with red stripes), so I went along for the LOLs. So many texts from her too, which I continued to field on my way to the bar and AS I SAT THERE. I had this attitude when I was online dating that if someone blew me off, I would take my own fab self out and still enjoy a nice beer or cocktail.

    It gets better though! We “rescheduled” for the following Friday, but that day or maybe the day before she emailed me to let me know she’d just come down with a bad cold and wanted to reschedule. She even thanked me for my understanding. LOL and BLOCK, game over (black flag, I call that nonsense). I love it when someone is being a total DB and thanks you for understanding. SMH

    OP, never let yourself get invested in someone you haven’t even met.

  13. Bostonette Says:

    Idk… The whole “seeing him online” and then stalk messaging him would have been a red flag for HIM… I know… I know “thumbs down” but c’mon….

  14. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    Some of the advice here amounts to, essentially, raise your standards, become more rigid, follow even more arbitrary rules, make more snap judgments. It’s just the wrong advice, at least for this situation. That’s why the “league” diagnosis is so critical here. There’s no panacea but the better advice to is to relax your rigid rules and be more open to meeting people you would otherwise meet. I mean refusing to reschedule a cancelled date in all circumstances is just colossally boneheaded. And issuing brash and ugly ultimatums to someone in the middle of a chat like “I don’t want a pen pal” is just bravado for your own ego and is unlikely to make someone WANT to meet you. Just suggest a date nicely and, if you don’t get a favorable response, you move on.

    • bbdawg Says:

      You’re getting it exactly right, the point really is to cut out people who don’t want to meet you, not “sell” yourself to them. The job of women online really is to cut out dudes who aren’t going anywhere.

      I completely disagree with your advice of being “rigid”. That’s typical “casual” talk “let’s just see where it goes” BS. I think if women aren’t careful they end up WASTING a lot of time on men who have basically let them know they are not interested before even meeting.

      There are just too many time-wasters online who only want to chat (take a look at that article about “benching” and you will see that men do that A LOT) so you’re better off cutting them out. (http://nymag.com/betamale/2016/06/benching-ghosting.html)

      What do you care though? You’re the classic avoidant guy, judging from your comments over the years. Aren’t you an anti-marriage, 40+ commitment-phobe/serial “dater” on the lookout for 20-something “hotties” to string along? You can’t possibly honestly think you have much to offer knowing that women want relationships and you don’t “do” relationships.

      I don’t think trying to sell yourself to men who don’t really have anything to offer is a good idea. That’s a gigantic waste of time.

      The commenters above who mentioned rescheduling speak from experience. I can also add to that. It’s not that women are not open to re-scheduling. It’s that in my experience when a man has cancelled before meeting they NEVER re-schedule. Or they might contact you at 7pm to ask what you’re doing “tonight”. Hmmm. Yeah call 1-800-dick-wet.

      • Zaire Says:

        I actually really enjoy DMNs commentary and perspective but he missed me here (not that he does or should care). The guy I mentioned above was the first time a guy dropped a line after falling off. And wouldn’t you know the exchange happened exactly like you said 5pm text asking if I wanted to watch GoT that night. Didn’t even bother to respond. Nothing wrong with him dropping in or guys in general trying to reschedule however it seems in a lot of these instances they guy isn’t that interest or wants to manage expectations (i.e. keep it casual or just sexual). Again nothing wrong with that, just not for me. Anyone looking for ‘more’ who indulges such a person is getting what they deserve so to speak.

        I would never say don’t reschedule, people have lives and I’d never expect someone I spoke to online to move mountains to meet. However if they cancel last minute with a vague explanation and no alternate date/time you’re better of packing them aside…

        There’s also a gendered dynamic at play. Usually it’s men making the first moves/asking for dates as a result women’s default position is to filter which guys seem sufficiently interested from those who are ambivalent.

        • DrivingMeNutes Says:

          Thank you. The subjects of the OP’s story were not trying to set up a casual dating situation with the OP (Nor, by the way, am I.). They aren’t interested in dating her at all. There are clearly situations where you would not want to reschedule a cancelled date. But it doesn’t follow that you should never reschedule a cancelled date -even if I accept as true that it never seems to work out for a some random Internet commenters.

          Moreover, I will never understand how saying obnoxious and off-putting things in your profile and in your Tinder chats is somehow supposed to endear yourself the more serious-minded individuals, and scare off the idiots. Logically, it would seem to screen out everyone but the idiots.

          A good analogy is the Chinese finger trap. Better understanding of the problem leads to solutions. Just trying to help.

    • Rocky Says:

      Agreed in part. Agree that “refusing to reschedule a cancelled date in all circumstances is just colossally boneheaded.” Yep. I said my piece on that up above.

      On the ultimatums…as I read it, the “ultimatum” was basically just a “farewell” message to be sent after the point where most reasonable people would have suggested a date. It shouldn’t be sent in the middle of a chat. But if you’re a woman and a man contacts you and has sent, say, 3 messages without suggesting a meet, I don’t think a response like “not looking for a pen pal” is inappropriate at all. It’s basically an alternative to ghosting that gives a clueless guy one more chance. It shouldn’t be intended to increase the chances of meeting. Most likely that will not happen. But on the 1 percent chance, you have left the door open.

      Then again, maybe I read the suggestion wrong. I’m also not fully sure how it translates to the apps, where messages resemble text messages more than emails and fly back and forth quicker than they do on match.

    • MsAdvised Says:

      Though I agree with most of the advice given to the OP, I disagree with reverting to the “league” analysis as though it’s always – or even usually – the answer. Even if it were accurate, it’s not especially helpful. That would presume that all men on these dating sites/apps are actually on them to date – or even meet. You just can’t assume that anymore. People are on these apps for any number of reasons – for attention, validation, to be voyeurs, for entertainment, for the dopamine rush that comes with getting a match. These apps make it easier than ever to do that with no consequence or accountability. Find yourself on *one* app-enabled date (first, or second – hopefully it doesn’t take more) with someone who ends up being married, and you’ll learn that not everyone you encounter was even available in the first place.

      This past weekend, a guy I’d matched with on an app messaged me first to say how much he liked my profile. I wrote back right away to thank him, and was bummed that the conversation didn’t continue beyond that. As I took one more scroll through his photos, I noticed what I thought might be a wedding band on his left hand. No, I thought. That would be way too ballsy. (Right?) But as the days went by and it became clear I probably wouldn’t be hearing from him, I took it a couple of clicks further to discover he was yet another married guy on Tinder. To borrow Moxie’s phrase, I know, *pearl clutching* that I (heaven forbid) did internet research to confirm a gut instinct I had. But you know what? I’d rather do that and realize that their disappearing act has *nothing* to do with me than sit around trying to figure out what my league is, and conclude that if something doesn’t go anywhere, then it must be because *he’s* the one who’s somehow out of *mine.* Screw that.

      To bbdawg’s point, there will be people out there who aren’t interested in you as well as time-wasters who don’t have any intentions of dating ANYONE. You’ll never know who is who. Their behavior is the same, though: they’re not going to meet up with you. You have to detach yourself from them quickly. But to always internalize it and to boil it all down to “leagues” is just going make you feel bad about yourself. Just move on.

      • bbdawg Says:

        You really nailed it!

        “That would presume that all men on these dating sites/apps are actually on them to date – or even meet. You just can’t assume that anymore. People are on these apps for any number of reasons – for attention, validation, to be voyeurs, for entertainment, for the dopamine rush that comes with getting a match.”

        I couldn’t agree more.

        Apparently, if you account the married and the “open relationship” types, only 54% of folks on Tinder are single. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/third-tinder-dating-app-users-are-married-majority-are-men-1500136

        That means there are 2 stages to online dating:

        1. Determining if the person is single, available and looking for monogamous dating/LTR down the line (as opposed to a fuckbuddy, ONS, tourist, “casual”, open relationship, “dom”, avoidants/perma-bachelors, “separated”/married, etc..)
        2. Dating

        In my calculations about 80% of people you match with don’t pass through the first stage. Meaning you can’t actually date them. 80% of people are time-wasters.

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