Ashley Batz / Bustle

5 Women On The Biggest Lesson They Learned From A Bad Date

There comes a time (or two, or three) in every woman's life when she encounters the dreaded ~bad date~. But even when your date spills an entire drink down your white shirt 10 minutes in (DEF not speaking from experience here...), we still believe that bad dates are ultimately rites of passage, providing entertaining stories to spill to your friends over eggs Florentine and mimosas at brunch the next morning.

Regardless of what your mindset is when it comes to bad dates, there's one thing we can all agree on: they help us learn some pretty important life lessons when it comes to knowing ourselves, the people around us, and the kind of relationship we want.

In the spirit of finding the silver lining in these disastrous dates, we teamed up with Cupcake Vineyards to ask 5 women to get real about the biggest lessons they learned from what originally felt like an evening straight out of a slapstick network sitcom.

Read on for all the inspo you need to transform that bad date disappointment into some serious enlightenment.

1. Trust your gut

"I was talking to a guy online who seemed cool, but also made some strange comments and weird references that I didn't really get. Against my better judgement, I went out with him, hoping his in-person persona was better than his online one. Spoiler alert: It wasn't. And the reason I hadn't initially gotten his jokes? He turned out to be a good 10 years older than what his profile said. YIKES!" —Sarah

2. Sometimes giving a second (or third) chance isn't the answer

"My date and I met up at a bar, and the first thing I noticed was that he was wearing sandals that made him look like he was playing Jesus in a stage production. I tried to be open, but the next strike was that he didn't have a credit card, so we weren't able to open a tab at the bar. Still, I didn't give up on him. Hey, no one's perfect! The third and final strike came at the end of the date when he commented on how muscular my arms looked and challenged me to an arm wrestle. Needless to say, I cut it short pretty quickly after that." —Jenny

3. Learn to identify red flags

"I met a guy online who seemed super smart and worldly. Then he suggested we take a hot yoga class as our first date. Um, no. So he went to hot yoga alone and afterwards, he asked me to meet him at a sushi restaurant because he said he was getting 'hangry' (red flag #1: any dude who uses the term 'hangry'). I wasn't hungry but he guilted me into ordering a seaweed salad so he didn't have to eat alone (red flag #2), after which he made me pay him in cash for the $6 salad. Safe to say, there was no second date (and I still avoid the seaweed salad when I'm ordering sushi)." —Emma

4. A little planning goes a long way

"Don't get me wrong: Quick and easy first date ideas can be cute. But when your date takes you to an empty doughnut shop at 7PM on a Friday night because every other place has an hour-long wait, things can get really awkward, really fast. So make a reservation, choose a spot with good ambiance, and for the love of God, make sure there's background music and other people present. The doughnuts were delicious, though!" —Sam

5. Keep an open mind

"I went on a date and immediately deemed it 'bad' when the guy told me his favorite film was the second movie in a popular superhero franchise (seriously?! Not even the original?). Since I had already written him off in my head, I rebuffed his advances when he attempted to give me a goodnight kiss. Later, I ended up regretting it because he was actually cool and pretty cute, too.

To make matters worse? In a cruel twist of fate, I ended up seeing said superhero movie months later, and honestly? It was actually really good. UGH lol." —Althea

This post is sponsored by Cupcake Vineyards.