Like most mentors, you’re probably very busy and your decision to carve out special time for your mentee comes at the expense of family time, work time, or other things you need to be doing but try not to t get discouraged or angry. You came into this relationship knowing it requires commitment, patience, and perseverance, all of which are now being tested. Here are some simple strategies can help:

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Brainstorm solutions.

Tell your mentee that you’d like to solve the problem, and brainstorm possible solutions together. Be open to the possibility that your mentee may want to see you less often. See if you can agree on a solution that works for both of you, and then make a plan for how you are going to follow through on the solution.


Communicate your disappointment to your mentee.

When you see your mentee the next time, mention that you were disappointed about the canceled meeting and reiterate how much you care about him. Explain that you understand that he may need to cancel a meeting with you and let him know that it would be better for you if he did so in advance rather than just being a no-show.

See if there’s a hidden message

It is also possible that your mentee wants to back off a little in the relationship and may be too embarrassed to tell you.

Talk to your program coordinator, or if mentoring informally, to your mentee’s family about missed appointments.

Many times, your mentee has little to no control over the situation because of other family commitments, such as needing to babysit a younger sibling.

Be sure your mentee has your number if s/he needs to cancel.

Make a reminder call the night before. If your mentee is younger, ask if he is comfortable using the phone to call you.