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How to survive a bad date and make the next one better

How to survive a bad date and make the next one better

The chemistry isn’t there, the conversation has stalled, and you’re counting down the seconds to when this bad date can finally be over. Here are 5 Dos and Don’ts to help you survive a date that sucks.


Do

Do give them the benefit of the doubt

Have you ever been nervous on a date—like truly nervous? Well that person across from you may be feeling just that in your glorious presence. Back during my dating “career” I was known to get “the stupids” around guys I was genuinely interested in. Finding someone of interest happened so infrequently that when I finally got time with them, I didn’t really know how to handle myself. If you sense that maybe the weirdness on the date is brought on by intimidation or insecurity, maybe give the other person the benefit of the doubt and try to make them feel comfortable. Doing so may reveal the real person, and not just the dummy.

Do cut things short

Sometimes you know immediately that things aren’t going anywhere. If that’s the case and there’s a whole evening planned, maybe cut things short instead of wasting either of your times. I know it’s easy to get a free meal or entertainment, and sometimes it’s fun just to have something to do. However, if you are absolutely sure there’s no future here, call things as they are (no excuse-making) and politely end your time together.

Do test drive your dates

Avoid the awkward marathon dates altogether by insisting on a short “test drive” date first. Meet for lunch, go for a walk, grab a quick drink. Whatever it is, have it be less than an hour’s interaction. Usually you should be able to tell after that brief interaction if there’s a desire to learn more. If not, no harm no foul and you didn’t have to end a date early.

Do be honest

My body could literally sense if I was on a date going nowhere because I’d invariably get ridiculously sick. As in I couldn’t stand up without crazy stomach cramps hitting. It was the weirdest thing, but effective for getting out of crappy dates. If you don’t have a cool-party-trick stomach like mine, you could always just be honest. Too often people sit through a bad date just to end it with, “Call me / I’ll call you sometime!” You don’t mean it and even worse, you’re setting expectations up to just make someone mad at you later on. Bite the bullet and just admit “You’re nice but….” It’ll save you both time and likely money, too.

Do go out again

Seriously! This is based on Do #1. You never know what’s really going on with someone’s life. Maybe they had a bad day at work, maybe they’re not feeling well, or maybe they’re truly into you and don’t know how to act normal. Usually going out with the person 2 or 3 times will help you to clearly see the person across from you. Instead of rushing to judgement, give them a chance to show their true colors. You may be surprised by what you see!


Don't

Do not get physical

You may be attracted to your date physically, but mentally… not so much. Yes, it’s easy to shut up and kiss, but—wow—does that send mixed messages! If you’re really that attracted to your date, but don’t want to learn more about him or her, you’re just fooling the both of you. Keep your hands to yourself and move on to someone you can connect with mind, body, and spirit.

Do not post about it online

It’s easy to feel disconnected if you’re not checking your phone every 30 seconds—let alone Instagramming about your latest adventure—but mock-u-menting your bad date is not recommended. First, it’s rude, and though it may seem funny to you and your close crew, it does affect your personal brand. Second, it can be a turn off to possible suitors who come across your snarky posts. Keep your sharing with your friends after the fact—and offline.

Do not be the bad date

It’s easy to see bad behavior in others, and not hold ourselves up to our own standards. Are you droning on about yourself? Ask more questions about them! Are you making it hard to find points of connection? Practice finding common ground! Are you connecting more with your phone than you are with your date—this other human being in front of you? Put it away and focus! Dating is a social skill, and if you’re bad at it when you don’t care, you’ll be bad at it when you do.

Do not let bad behavior slide

This can be a tough one because we all like to be kind. However, if your date is being rude, crude, and lewd—call them on it! You’re not doing them any favors by letting their bad behavior slide. A guy asked me to dinner once and complained about the price of everything on the menu. I was so scared to order for fear of it being too “expensive.” Later I told him how uncomfortable his behavior made me. I wasn’t unkind about it, and we didn’t go out again (thankfully), but hopefully he learned not to talk that way when you’re the one asking someone out.

Do not give up hope

After several bad dates in a row, it can be easy to feel fed up and exhausted with the dating game. It is worth it to keep trying. Keep in mind, though, that something you’re doing may be attracting these crappy dates. Be aware of how you’re feeling about yourself. Insecurity breeds desperation, and can put you in “I’ll take anyone” mode. If you reach that place, consider a dating coach or counselor who can help you identify issues that you can improve in yourself, and point you in the right direction for a better date.

You may also be attracted to people who are wrong for you—another thing a dating coach can help you with. Take a clear look at your dating history and identify patterns in your bad dates. If you find things that show up over and over, get clear on what you do want instead.

Finally, put yourself in the best places to meet the kind of person you want. Don’t do the same old social routines because you’re finding the crappy daters there! Branch out and put yourself where you’re most likely to meet the kind of person you actually want to be with. 


Summary
Jumping cartoon

Dating is a gamble and sometimes you end up on dates you don’t want to be on. However bad the date, their are great life lessons to be learned from each: practice your social skills, give the other person the benefit of the doubt, be aware of how you brought this on yourself and don’t let bad behavior slide when it needs to be corrected.


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Photo Credits: Yastremska/BigStockPhoto.com; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com

Michelle Barnum SmithSpeaker, Author, and Dating Consultant

Michelle Barnum Smith is a dating coach... sort of. Really she's a 15-year Corporate Marketing veteran who applied the principles of Marketing, Sales, and Customer Retention to her OWN dating life and got married! Michelle now teaches other sing...

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