How to Recover From a Terrible First Date
Preparing for a first date can be stressful. You spend a significant amount of time getting ready, thinking of witty things to say, and agonizing about whether you’ll hit it off. Sometimes all that preparation pays off, and other times the date goes terribly wrong.
Dating expert Treva Brandon Scharf says it makes sense to give a prospective partner at least two chances when it comes to getting to know each other. “Dating is tough. People are nervous and self-conscious, so second chances should always be given,” Scharf told The Cheat Sheet. “Unless someone is downright offensive or insulting, cheap, or lacking in manners, I’d always give it another shot.”
So how do you recover from an awful date? The Cheat Sheet spoke with matchmaker and relationship expert Lori Salkin to learn the best way to bounce back from a bad date.
The Cheat Sheet: How should you respond after going on a bad date?
Lori Salkin: Realize it’s not you, it’s them. I just had a client who was so excited to go on a date. However, he walked right into his ex-girlfriend, who is engaged to someone else now, as he was walking into the restaurant to take his seat and wait for his date. This incident put him in a terrible mood and the date was awful for both. Sometimes when your date has had a really bad day, isn’t feeling great, or has had sad news at home, a date can go terribly when it, in fact, has nothing to do with you. You’re great, they just couldn’t appreciate you at the moment.
Getting right back out there is also very helpful. Don’t give up and say you’re never going out again, it will just make you feel worse and hold onto the bad experience longer than necessary. Getting back out there means the next good experience is just around the corner.
CS: When should you give your date a second chance?
LS: If your date is apologetic and there is a reasonable explanation, there’s no harm in giving it a second try. People have bad days. If my husband did not give me a second chance after standing him up on our first date and spilling coffee all over him on our second, I would not be married today. If you easily made conversation and it was generally a neutral experience, it could be worth a second try.
CS: When is it a good idea to just cut your losses and move on?
LS: People who are rude, obnoxious, and mean do not deserve second chances. People tend to be drawn to the bad boy/bad girl idea because it is exciting and different, but you deserve better than to play along with someone who is not nice or interested in you at all just to go along for a thrill. Even when that person is very rich and attractive, if they only text you once in a blue moon, do not make you a priority, and the date only seems like it happened because it was convenient for them, it’s not worth your time.
CS: Anything to add?
LS: Don’t forget that people are nervous and a first date is just that, a first date. Think of all the people you met once and exchanged a few pleasantries with, but then met again and started to talk more and found you have a lot in common, and all of sudden you’re having a great, animated conversation. First date to second date can differ that greatly and produce significantly different results. I always say if a first date is neutral but not negative, give it a second chance. You never know.
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[Editor’s Note: This story was originally published December 2016]