The Bad First Date: 5 Scenarios To Avoid


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!



  1. Peter-44842 October 17, 2012 Reply

    Keeping the first meet simple and brief mitigates, or avoids, most of these problems. (Particularly online when you really don’t know who will walk through the door.) Do coffee or a drink, for either a polite and timely exit or you can always roll it over into dinner or second date. Putting yourself in the position of being stuck for two hours is sort of a rookie mistake. 20 minutes late, by the way, does not strike me as horrendously late in many large and busy metro areas… though personally I leave time for getting lost etc.

  2. Conrad-740534 September 11, 2012 Reply

    i hope some girls parents will ask for my hand a am a true chotlic boy we in india take of our parents in old age so god says in the frist commandent

  3. AnneMarie-641597 September 9, 2012 Reply

    I’d rather date the right person for a few years than marry the wrong one in haste. I had a grandmother who dated a man for over 20 years. Neither had the desire to marry again. They were both in love with their late spouses. They were wonderful companions until his death. I see absolutely NOTHING wrong with that.

  4. Lina-796057 September 8, 2012 Reply

    I had to chuckle. The suggestion was to cut off the one complaining for 2 hours about work and ask what brings joy. I did precisely this on a date I was on a few years ago. He gave me a look and said, “I was still talking!” and continued with his tale of woe.
    I should have said “Whoa!” to that one a lot sooner than I did.

    However, I agree with Dawn that a less-than-blissful first date should not mean the end of all possibilities. Someone gave me a second chance once (I was young and my nerves got the best of me!), and we ended up dating for a few good years.

    • Stephen-725391 September 8, 2012 Reply

      “we ended up dating for a few good years.”? I thought the purpose of dating was to discern a spouse and marriage – was that not a waste of that purpose, not to mention a waste of his time and yours? Just wondering, getting mixed messages off CM laterly!

      • Loretta-867522 September 8, 2012 Reply

        I’m with Stephen. I’m not interested in a”a few good years of dating”. if it takes a few years to realize you are not right for one another–that tells you something right there. I guess I’m too old to envision spending 4 or 5 years just “dating” someone to then realize one or the other persons’ heart just isn’t in it. I did that in my 20’s. Don’t want to do it again.

        • Stephen-725391 September 9, 2012 Reply

          It’s seems that the ‘experience’ factor should somehow affect the timeline. Seems I read that just recently somewhere – probably from the more reasonable minds of protestants!

          • Lois-765906 September 9, 2012 Reply

            I agree with Stephen – experience DEFINITELY effects the timeline. Having “been around the block”, as they used to say, means I definitely know what I am looking for in a relationship. I would hope he would feel the same fairly early on. By the way, I am a former Protestant! lol

      • Lina-796057 September 9, 2012 Reply

        Stephen, that happened in my 20s, when I was just starting to learn about men and dating. I did not view it as a waste of my time. I can’t speak for what he thought about it. But it did take that long for me to see we would not be good together in marriage. I don’t know how well-trained other people are in discernment, but I was not. It has taken me a number of mistakes in judgment to hone my skill. Guess I’m a slow learner.

  5. Dawn-58330 September 8, 2012 Reply

    Good article, Jessica! I like the practical hints for turning things around. We don’t have to resign ourselves that the first date that isn’t going so well means the end of all possibilities. It’s tempting to just right it all off, but sometimes when we give a person a new direction or chance he or she can surprise us as being the diamond in the rough we are looking for.

  6. Tessa-694373 September 7, 2012 Reply

    “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”..If only that was actually true…you forgot divorce and lack of education is a very close second…
    I know God’s has his plan…Keep the Faith is my mantra on CM

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