It was bound to happen. The Bad Date. It’s not only that you lack chemistry, or that conversation is awkward, but you are actually having a bad time. You might even dislike your date. LJ spoke earlier about surviving awkward first dates and this article will expand on the idea that even bad dates can provide value.
The Stuff the Nightmares are Made of
A truly bad date isn’t just uncomfortable conversation, but one where other elements are going wrong. You may be a vegetarian and your date has taken you to a BBQ restaurant. Not only do you realize your date hasn’t paid attention to your eating preferences, but there’s nothing for you to eat and your date isn’t making any attempt to get you out of there.
Your date’s behavior may also be very off-putting. My worst dates have always involved a date whose manners or demeanor made me genuinely dislike them. This could come in the form of rudeness towards wait staff, or a very large ego.
Practice Makes Perfect
Think about the very first dates you went on. They were probably a bit rocky! It could be that you didn’t know what to talk about, or that you felt as if you were talking too much. It could have been the awkward moment at the end of the night where neither of you knew if it had gone well enough to go in for a hug or kiss.
The good news? Just like mastering a combo in Street Fighter, dating gets easier the more you do it. And bad dates? That’s like playing on hard mode. Instead of giving up completely mid-date, think of it as a challenge. If your date is very quiet, try to practice your conversational skills. If your date isn’t letting you get a word in edgewise, try to listen, rather than silently plotting ways to get away.
When you’re put into the unpleasant situations mentioned earlier, it’s easy to throw your hands up in defeat. If you are in a situation that makes you uncomfortable (like a vegetarian in a restaurant catering exclusively to carnivores), it’s time to exercise your communication skills. Let your date know that you’re uncomfortable, and that you’d like to go elsewhere. Often, we are too busy worrying about our discomfort and forget that our date may not realize you’re upset. Learning to effectively communicate your feelings is one of the most important relationship skills you can have, and an uncomfortable dating situation is a great place to practice, regardless of whether you want to have another date with the person at hand.
If the person you are on a date with is the one upsetting you, the challenge is harder. You can’t hope to change their personality or behavior, but you do have the right to challenge it. For example, they may be asking you personal questions on an early date. Politely declining to answer, while adding that you’d rather not talk about things like that just yet is well within reason. In the same vein, being polite to a date you find rude might be difficult, but it’s an excellent way to improve your own patience!
Remember though that these examples are really only applicable to bad, but survivable dating mishaps. If you feel unsafe or very upset by a date or a date’s behavior, you can (and should) part ways!
Loose Lips Sink Ships
As the days go by, you will hopefully find humor in your bad dates. You’ll likely want to share your stories with your friends and compare misadventures. Comparing notes is a good way to get over a bad date and an excellent way to share bad date survival strategies. One word of caution, however, is to avoid sharing bad date stories on new dates. The dating world is often smaller than people realize, especially if you tend to date fellow geeks. Your date may recognize details of your terrible date as one their friend went on. Aside from that, a positive attitude towards dating in general is always good to maintain when out with someone new! This goes for both your first date, as well as the content in your profile.
What are the worst dates you’ve been on, GDG readers? Are they influencing the view on dating you’re portraying in your profile? Our GDG team can help with coaching and profile makeovers!