Whether you need to revive or just survive, here are some useful tips to make the best of a bad date.
They’re weird, they’re awkward and they’re like a job interview with cocktails. If you’ve never been on one, you’re either really lucky or you’re lying. A bad date is like a root canal: long, painful and when it’s all over, you promise yourself you’ll never do it again. But before you surrender to the battle of the bad date, arm yourself with the survival and revival strategies to make it through.
Below are five ways to breathe life into a dating disaster, or at the very least, strategize an exit plan.
Dating Disaster #1: Totally Smashed
Nothing can lubricate an awkward social situation quite like a cocktail. It’s when your date has one too many before you even order your entrée that things can go from rad to bad. Aside from the fact that they may have a drinking problem, it could just be that your date is nervous, doesn’t know how strong the drinks are or simply has a really low tolerance for alcohol.
Provided your date isn’t a loud, obnoxious or fall-down drunk and you actually want to revive the date, consider taking an outside stroll where they can take in the fresh air, grab a coffee or kill some time at a movie. If you haven’t made it through dinner yet, you may even lightly suggest that they might want to slow down, particularly if they’re driving. While your date might be a bit offended, at the very least they know you’ve noticed that they’re slurring their words. In reality, the only thing that will sober up a drunk is time.
There comes a time in a bad date when there’s no salvaging it. You’re turned-off by your date’s behavior, they’re falling down, unbearable and you’re certain the waiter is going to refuse them any more alcohol. How do you make a smooth exit? When the check comes, mention that you have an early morning appointment with your personal trainer and need to get home. No matter how bad the date is, it’s best to ensure your inebriated date is delivered home safely.
Dating Disaster #2: You’re Totally Smashed
It happens. You didn’t eat lunch. You’re nervous, your date is really hot and you’re hoping with a few cups of courage, you’ll have the confidence you need to make it to a good night kiss. Next thing you know, you’ve slammed back four martinis and the appetizer hasn’t even been ordered yet. You’re the drunken date.
Stop drinking immediately and ask for a glass of water. While time is the only thing that will sober you up, it’s important to acknowledge to your date that you’ve had more than enough. Casually mentioning that the bartender made your drinks “really strong” is a good way to break the ice, rather than pretending that your date doesn’t notice. It’s ok to be apologetic, but don’t spend the remainder of the evening apologizing or saying “you rarely drink” and “it’s so unlike you” to go overboard. Profusely justifying your behavior can often lead to the other person concluding that this might be typical behavior for you.
The Exit Plan:
The last time you had this much to drink was college and it was even less attractive now as it was then. If you really like your date but can’t pull yourself together, you may just want to call it quits for the evening. The last impression you want to leave is puke on their lap. The best exit strategy in this situation is honesty. Mention that the drinks “went to your head” or that you’re really tired and should get home. Thank your date for a fantastic evening and call the next day to set the record straight.
Dating Disaster #3: The Un-chivalrous Night
It’s no secret that we’re not living in the 1950’s, but certain rules of chivalry still apply to dating. While it’s a topic of debate and its definition has evolved over time, women still appreciate a chivalrous guy. It’s impressive and respected when your date is a gentleman, opens doors, pulls out the chair and offers to flip the bill. However, not every date ends up being a chivalrous knight. You may find yourself wrestling to get out of the car with stilettos on, getting slammed with the door as you walk behind your date into the restaurant or excuse yourself to the ladies room only to come back to see he ordered himself another drink while yours is still empty. While chivalry isn’t necessarily dead, during this type of date it may be on life-support.
While some women insist on being strong and independent, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t want to be treated well. It’s a concept that some men may not understand and if you have high expectations, it can lead to a disastrous date. It may even be up to the woman to stress the importance of this type of treatment. If your date isn’t opening doors, pulling out your chair and turns the other way when the bill comes, you have three choices: Speak up and tell a story about your friend who went on a really bad date, outlining the poor qualities that she had to endure. You could also readjust your expectations, since he may just be clueless when it comes to dating. Finally, chivalry is a two-way street. You could offer to split the bill or if he pays for dinner, offer to pay for the movie tickets after. The bottom line is, chivalry is a mutual respect for one another.
The Exit Plan:
If you find that your knight in shining armor ends up being a total dud and “happily ever after” is you going home, it may be time to call it a night. You’ve paid for dinner, bought the movie tickets, popcorn and agreed to see the epically awful film, G.I Joe per his request. He wants to grab a drink after the movie. How do you Houdini your way out? Mention that you have just enough money for a cab ride home and you need to feed your cat. Perhaps he’ll get the hint that you’re spent in more ways than one.
Dating Disaster # 3: Call me crazy: All Text, no Talk
Technology has changed the way we communicate, making us more “connected” than ever. On the flip side, during a date, technology can make us less connected as ever. There’s nothing worse than being on a date and the other person is constantly taking calls at the bar or at dinner. Every time you spark up a conversation, they’re pounding away at their “crackberry” sending texts and you begin to feel like a third wheel. The BlackBerry or iphone obsessed date is nearly impossible to connect with, especially if they can’t bring themselves to disconnect during your date. Are they trying to seem “important”? Make you jealous? Or just plain obnoxious?
While it’s completely rude to text or accept calls during a date, sometimes people have something important they need to take care of, in which case they should be up-front about it. If your date is expecting an important call or email, it is common courtesy to reveal this information prior to the date. However, not everyone is aware of the rules of common courtesy. In this instance, you may want to ask your date if they have something important going on? Or if it’s work-related? This might hint to them that it’s inappropriate. If you’re less into “beating around the bush,” you could always be straight and mention that it bothers you. Perhaps then, your date will turn off the phone and turn on the charm.
The Exit Plan:
Some people just don’t get it. When your date is more turned on by their gadgets than by you, it may be time to shut them down. Your date has been looking down at their phone through two courses and dessert, while still managing to carry on a sporadic conversation with you. You’ve had enough. How do you make your exit? Excuse yourself to the bathroom and send them a text saying, “Since this was the best way to reach you, thanks for dinner. XOXO”
Dating Disaster #4: The Ex Factor
When it comes to dating, cardinal rule number one: don’t carry on about your ex. You’re subjected to hearing how they met, what they used to do together, their favorite restaurant, yatta yatta yatta. When you meet at your date’s apartment for a pre-date drink, you mention that you like their place. They respond, “My ex decorated it.” Looking around, you notice there are still pictures of them together scattered around the house and the screensaver on the computer is a picture of the two of them. This can be a bad date of epic proportions. It’s an unsolvable equation: Ex plus date equals disaster.
When someone clearly isn’t over their ex boyfriend or girlfriend, it can be tricky to salvage the date. Too much self-disclosure can be a mess and the “ex” conversation should really be postponed until after you’ve gone out a few times. While your date might think it’s an acceptable topic of conversation, chances are, hearing about their ex non-stop will make you feel like your ears are about to bleed. Perhaps ask if your date is ready to move on? Or what they’re looking for now? At the very least, if you’re interested in your date, find out if you even fit into the equation.
The Exit Plan:
You can’t squeeze a coat into an overstuffed suitcase. If your date is clearly not over their ex, there’s really nothing you can do to change their situation. The best way to exit this date is to mention that while you really like them, it seems they have some feelings to iron out and perhaps they need to try to work things out with their ex. The last thing you want to do is date someone with their ex still in the picture.
Dating Disaster #5: The Un Fabulous Date
Whoever said “looks aren’t everything” wasn’t necessarily ugly. Chances are, they’ve been on a date with someone “un fabulous.” Sometimes looks just don’t cut it. You’re on a date with someone so attractive that you can barely process a thought into a sentence….until they ruin it by opening their mouth. The un fabulous date is one heck of a looker, but obsessed with their appearance. They spend the entire evening talking about their how great they are, their gym routine, workout schedule and how they’d rather jump in front of a moving bus than eat a carbohydrate. You can feel the air reeking of judgment, as you take a bite of your chicken parmesan.
What do you say when your date pats your midsection and says, “You should really work out with me sometime?” While your instinct is to force feed them lard, you may want to try to change the subject, asking them what they do for fun, where they work and what other interests they have. Changing the subject may be the catalyst to a better conversation. If they continue to press on about cardio, how they stay in such stellar shape and suggest you opt for tofu over steak because it has fewer calories, despite their good looks, perhaps it’s a dating disaster that can’t be revived.
The Exit Plan:
While you just want to tell your date to take their protein shake and shove it, it’s always good practice to be polite on a date. Excuse yourself to the restroom, call a friend and have them call your mobile phone in a half hour. Act like something bad happened and unfortunately, you’ll have to cut the date short. It may be a tad dishonest, but it’s better than telling your date they’re as bland as a celery stick.
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