It took me until I was 28 to have a truly sh*tty first date. I feel pretty lucky; I've met mostly cool people. My friends' first date horror stories include a dinner table palm reading, a date with a Trump supporter on election night, and accidentally getting drunk while trying to "keep up" with a date, only to realize he was ordering seltzers, not vodka sodas. A bad first date is like a rite of passage.
My own bad first date wasn't that long ago, and was with a dude who showed up late (I'm always late, so that's fine), told me I shouldn't apply to business school (to be fair, he's been and I haven't), and then added that if I did apply, I would get in because I'm a woman (I mean, stats). He asked me, "If you could go on a cross-country road trip with any three people dead or alive, who would you choose?" which is a fun question, except that he shamed everyone of my answers (Obama, David Bowie, and Jenny Slate... I was under pressure... pun intended). He also preferred bars in Midtown Manhattan to bars in the East Village, which, for those of you who don't live in New York, is pretty weird.
Overall, not terrible. (Again, I've been lucky.) This guy was just not a match, and seemed to have a major chip on his shoulder. I survived, we didn't text, and it's all good. But what about those sh*tty dates where you have chemistry, but something weird happens? Maybe someone leans in for a kiss too soon, or someone is just in a bad mood. Here's the thing: a crap first date does not always mean that you should ghost each other.
Sometimes You Just Don't Click Right Away
My therapist recently recommended that I should try to go on a second date with anyone I could see myself hanging out with again, even just a little bit. (So, not Mr. Road Trip.) I think this is great advice, because first dates are rarely the crazy sparks and immediately connection we hope for.
I've definitely fallen for people I've had mediocre first dates with; sometimes you can't get a feel for each other right away. Additionally, I get nervous on first dates, and sometimes that anxiety manifests in me seeming aloof. People are weird on first dates, it's a thing, so you or your date might just not be your best selves night one.
If you are expecting insane chemistry from the moment you sit down together on a first date, chances are you are going to be disappointed. By your second date, you usually have a better feel for who your date is as a person. Takeaway: Give your date more than just one shot unless something extraordinarily awful happens on date one. (Shout out to palm reading.)
Sometimes Sparks On A First Date Are Actually Too Much
We all want to feel that soulmate-fire spark moments after sitting down with someone on a date — that's a great feeling; it's like crack. (Though I have never tried crack, TBH.) Usually, though, if those sparks are fire from moment one, they burn out quickly.
Sometimes, an immediate attraction amounts to nothing more than a physical connection in the long run. It can be really hard to tell if what we are feeling for someone is coming from our nether regions or our actual hearts when we have known our date for twenty minutes.
On a first date, you don't really have all that much time to get to know the person you are out with. Yes, you can ask each other where you grew up, what you like doing on the weekends, and you can see if your senses of humor click together, but it's hard to know all that much about a person after spending two hours with them.
If you had a sh*tty first date and you're convinced that your relationship is headed nowhere, then take a minute to think about your past experiences. Think about all of the first dates you've been on that haven't been perfect, but that ended up going somewhere. Next, take a deep breath and chill out.
If you aren't entirely infatuated after date one, that could actually be a good sign. Long term relationships are the ultimate slow burn, so a slow start to a relationship is nothing to fret over. However, if you have a terrible first date, or go on a second date to continue to feel zero sparks, move on. Plenty of fish, I promise.
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