Society expects a lot out of us when we’re in our 20s. We’re expected to continue or start living on our own, get and maintain a good job and start planning for a family (the last item is not necessarily applicable in all cases, but it's a pressure many Gen-Y individuals feel).
“Figuring it all out,” so to speak, is a pretty difficult goal to achieve while we're still in our 20s and it’s safe to say that most of us have had our fair share of bumps along the road of trying to do so.
For example, establishing both successful and lasting careers and relationships requires that we nail the whole job interview/impressing prospective employers thing, as well as the whole dating/impressing prospective boyfriends or girlfriends thing.
While this often goes well, it’s safe to say that if Millennials had a nickel for every bad date and job interview they’ve experienced and we pooled together our money, we’d probably be the richest group of people on the planet (wait, aren't we already? I’m looking at you, Mark Zuckerberg).
In other words, navigating the world of careers and relationships is easier said than done and, sadly, often as discouraging as it is uplifting.
Interestingly enough, it seems that bad dates and bad job interviews often take on a similar form and dynamic and have a lot in common.
In the interest of celebrating shared experiences, here are five things that bad dates and bad job interviews have in common:
1. The atmosphere is tense and awkward
Excuse me if I’m stating the obvious here, but awful dates nearly top the list when it comes to tense or awkward experiences and the same can probably be said for unpleasant job interviews.
There’s a chance that in both situations, you’ve taken a gradual or what seems to be immediate disliking to the person sitting across from you, possibly because you were turned off by something he or she said.
Maybe it's the atmosphere in which you’ve found yourself or any other aspect of him or her or the situation at hand.
Maybe your date said something unappealing or rude or the interviewer revealed something about your prospective job duties or the company itself that didn’t sit well with you.
You might not go so far as to say you took a disliking to the person, but nonetheless, if a bad date or job interview isn’t going well for whatever reason, some degree of tension and awkwardness is bound to ensue.
2. Communication is lacking
As clichéd as it sounds, there’s undeniable truth to the statement, “communication is key.”
Nine out of 10 situations would probably be more difficult if effective communication was lacking and this is certainly applicable when it comes to both dating and job interviews.
As such, bad dates and bad job interviews are definitely marked by a lack of communication. In both situations, the questions and answers don’t flow well.
The conversation doesn’t come easily because you or the other person can’t seem to say the “right” thing.
What's the right thing, you may ask? Questions that result in easy exchanges or responses that seem appealing or of interest to the person sitting across from you.
In this way, a certain type of “chemistry,” is lacking. When it comes to dating, what I mean by this is obvious and when it comes to job interviews, I mean that a type of “chemistry” is missing in the sense that you’re left feeling unsure about the interviewer and/or your chances of getting the job because the exchange between the two of you didn’t flow well.
Bottom line: Poor communication = no job or second date. At least without jobs, we have more time to update our OkCupid profiles?
3. You might wish you had a second chance to make a first impression
Okay, so if a job interview or date is really bad, you might not have any desire to see that person or place again because you’re able to feel at peace with the fact that things just weren’t a match.
However, plenty of us coming out of bad dates and job interviews wish we could in fact have a do over. Sometimes, we can’t help but wish we said, acted or did something differently, as things might have turned out differently.
In short, we often wish we had a second chance to make a first impression, especially when feeling as though we blew a date or important job interview.
The important thing to remember, though, is that you’re obviously not alone in these experiences.
They were even touched upon in a Death Cab for Cutie song: “I’ll sit and wonder of every love that could have been if I’d only thought of something charming to say.” (And yeah, some of us will sit and wonder how much faster we could have paid off our student loans if only we had nailed that job interview.)
4. You leave expecting not to hear back
When job interviews and dates go poorly, it’s not likely that you anticipate hearing from your interviewer or date again (obviously).
That said, sometimes the person in question will take us by surprise and contact us again, which may or may not be what we were hoping for.
Generally speaking, though, when it comes to both job searches and dating, it’s important to strike a balance between being overly pessimistic and simply practical.
If you wished things had gone differently and are hoping to hear from the other person in question again, it’s okay to maintain a positive attitude in this regard to some extent.
But, for the most part, you should remain levelheaded and realistic about whether or not things will progress any further.
It’s okay to expect that you won’t hear back, just learn from the experience and move on.
5. You’ll have more of them
This may seem like a depressing note to end on, but the fact of the matter is that you’re likely to have a whole slew of both bad dates and job interviews in the course of your lifetime, or at least throughout a large part of your 20s.
It would be nice to think that terrible dates and job interviews would be a one-time experience, but they’re pretty darn common, and just a harsh reality we face when trying to navigate the realm of careers and lasting relationships.
What makes this reality a little less upsetting, though, is believing that whatever ends up happening is meant to be, making all of those bad or failed dates and job interviews relatively insignificant.
Happy dating and job searching — now or in the future —, from one 20-something to another.