We’ve all heard about those horrific first dates (or, God forbid, experienced them ourselves): the ones that leave you speechless, embarrassed or even unsure about the overall sanity of the opposite sex. When two strangers come together to share a meal, a cup of coffee or a beer, no level of expectations can be completely counted upon, especially in online dating. A picture is just a picture, and a profile is just a profile. Meeting in person is game 1 in the World Series of dating.
Absolutely anything can happen.
It’s what you do in the face of awkward or tense interactions that set the course for dates with other potential prospects, so it’s crucial that you see any negative first date experience as a step in the right direction. Based on my own experiences in the bad-first-date arena, as well as those experiences of my friends, here are some tips for navigating through a first date that’s sinking fast.
Scenario: The late date
Your approach: So you’re waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Finally your date appears 20 minutes late with a slew of apologies promising it was the traffic, poor directions or any other half-way decent excuse. When logistical difficulties interfere, laugh them off as a quirky first-date story, but be mindful if there’s a date two. A late date is not acceptable, no matter how much leeway your grant him or her.
Scenario: Your date complains for two hours straight about his or her job.
Your approach: Cut off the negativity immediately and ask your date what does bring him or her joy in the office, as well as outside the workplace. Ask follow-up questions to draw out more details on the pieces of life that make your date smile.
Scenario: Your date sees your meeting as a chance to share war stories about the woes of singlehood.
Your approach: Acknowledge that single life is difficult and that you, too, have your fair share of dating stories, but then turn the tables to share stories about a recent trip you took or about your special relationship with a niece or nephew. Singlehood has its benefits too!
Scenario: Two words: Awkward. Silence.
Your approach: Anyone’s biggest fear for a first date is the sudden realization that you have nothing to talk about. Avoid an interview approach, but be sure you cover the basics – faith, family and friends. If that’s not enough to carry the conversation, ask a random question like, “What would you do if you won the lottery tomorrow?” You’ll learn a lot about this new person in your life while showing your creative side.
Scenario: The never-ending date
Your approach: It’s difficult to sit through a first date when the similarities, ease of conversation and mutual attraction is missing. It’s even worse when the man doesn’t act on the check sitting prominently in the middle of the table. Out of respect for the other person (male or female), be honest with your feelings if the moment calls for it or make the move for the door and say that you had a lovely time. Hopefully your date will pick up on the body language and call it a night.
Even if your first date ends without fireworks, know that the nerves and pressure associated with date one may dissipate at the beginning of date two. But if a follow-up text or voicemail from your date leads to a sigh instead of a squeal of delight, take a step back and re-evaluate your options. As the adage goes, there are plenty of fish in the sea, and CatholicMatch is a virtual ocean filled with successful, fun-loving and faithful singles waiting to go on a first date with a very special person: You!