Yes, we’ve all heard them, haven’t we? Stories of poor, unsuspecting potential mates who meet and proceed to make the Hindenburg look like a campfire. Maybe he wasn’t what you were expecting (gee, that thumbnail-sized photo is a hard read, isn’t it?). Maybe he did something embarrassing or said something that didn’t quite sit well.
These, my friends, are dates gone bad.
As part of the dating pool, it’s important to acknowledge that you might, one day, have a story of your own. Why do we get such a good laugh about these stories around the water cooler the day after? Because everyone can relate.
As inevitable as they might seem, most dating horror stories can be boiled down to two main causes: staying too long and ignoring red flags.
Of course, we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, which is why these mistakes are easy to make. Sometimes it pays to get a tougher perspective and realize that time is precious. Most human behaviorists agree that we can get a read on someone within ten seconds. So, in the four-hour dinner-and-movie combo, you could very well be wasting 3 hours, 58 minutes, and 50 seconds. That’s some valuable time and lip gloss we’re talking about here!
One of my girlfriends has a strict “coffee only” first date policy that has served her well. Within one visit to the local coffee shop, she’s able to get a handle on her man in question and some quick insight into his behavior. A half hour isn’t a huge time investment, and definitely not a large enough timeframe for anything too dramatic to happen. It’s a brilliant strategy! If that first date works out, it’s on to the next date. If not, the game ends there.
Like any other relationship, dating should be an incremental process. We’re building upon our experience with another person to see if enough of those experiences add up to a relationship. If things go well, we stay the course. If not, we can choose another course.
The second part is paying attention to signs and acting accordingly, especially when it comes to red flags. If you’re picking up on something that’s not quite right, or if you’re witnessing behaviors you’re uncomfortable with, there’s nothing wrong with being polite and leaving. Remember, you don’t have any obligation to stick around. Ever!
Sometimes, in the name of not wanting to feel uncomfortable, we might ignore that insight and rationalize our way through the evening. Life is too short! There’s no need to create drama or unpleasantries; just excuse yourself and get on with your life. There’s definitely someone out there for all of us, and staying in an unpleasant situation – even if it’s for one date – keeps us from finding that someone. Stay true to yourself and you can’t go wrong.
What are your tips for keeping first dates from going bad?
What’s in store for your love life?
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