Going on a series of bad first dates can really get you down, if you let it. I remember all too well that sinking feel, where you get in a downward spiral wondering what’s wrong with you and asking yourself why oh why can’t you meet someone awesome right this minute and put an end to the misery of dating. If you read my previous article for Chaud, 10 things to do besides complain about online dating, you know that I‘m not going to allow you to sit around and wallow. Instead I’m going to share the 5 things I learned from going on bad first dates which will help you take charge of your dating life with renewed confidence and sass.
- Limit yourself to 90 minutes
If you’re dating someone that you don’t know very well, then set a time limit on that date up front so that you can make your excuses and leave without hurting feelings. Life is too short to spend time sitting through uncomfortable dates. Of course, if you hit it off straightaway, you can fess up that you don’t really have to leave by 9pm for that early start tomorrow!
- Avoid dinner do something fun instead
I remember that first time I went out for dinner on a first date and realising before the starter had even arrived that I absolutely didn’t want to be there for the rest of the night. Sitting through the rest of that meal was painful and pointless and I vowed it would be the last time I’d agree to meet someone I’d never met before in person for dinner. A quick post work drink is great for those first dates to see if you have enough in common and enough chemistry to go for a second date. Or you could choose to do something together that’s going on in your area like head to a local pub to see a live band, go to a street food festival or challenge them to a game of ping pong or snooker. This should help break the ice, making it easier to connect with someone and if the chemistry isn’t there at least you’ll have had a bit of a laugh.
- Manage your expectations
Don’t have high expectations for a first date if you haven’t met them in person before. Chemistry, as I’m sure you’ve realised, is a mysterious thing and you can’t tell if you’re going to have chemistry with someone until you meet them. A date where two people like each other (more or less) the same amount is a fantastic outcome but not always the likeliest one. Get comfortable with the fact that dates don’t always go well and that’s OK. It’s certainly not worth getting down about. Dating is meant to be fun. If the fun stops, then it’s time to move on with no regrets.
- It’s not always about you
Sometimes dates just don’t work because people have so much going on in their lives outside of the dating bubble. They might seem like the best ever fit for you but they’re not giving you much in return and you can’t understand why. Just be aware it’s probably nothing to do with you and everything to do with the horrible boss they’re facing every day or the fact that their dad is unwell or their flatmate has just moved out. Timing is a big factor in why even the best relationships don’t work and there is nothing you can do. It’s out of your control. All you can do is make sure you don’t blame yourself for things not working out and just keep moving forwards with a smile and a positive attitude.
- Act with integrity
Going on bad first dates can take its toll, after all there can be lots of rejection flying around. Maybe they don’t want to see you again, or maybe it’s your call. But as long as you act with integrity at all times, respecting other people’s feelings as well as your own, then you’re more likely to minimise the pain on all sides.
Now go out there and get some first dates in the diary. Keep them short, sweet and fun. Shake off the ones that aren’t working so you can focus on finding someone to date who is fun.
Saskia Nelson is the talent behind the award-winning and internationally acclaimed Saturday Night’s Alright, the UK’s coolest dating photography business, specialising in creating dating photos that kick ass and win dates.
She also puts her extensive online dating experiences to good use by sharing her experiences and wisdom on her blog and by organising dating workshops that focus on helping people create irresistible dating profiles.
You can find her living it up here on twitter
Photo Credit: Saskia Nelson