Whether you finally agreed to get drinks with Steve from advertising (and, after hearing about CrossFit for 30 minutes, are now regretting the moment you flirtatiously asked him if he worked out) or dinner with Maggie turned into a buffet of human oatmeal, it's natural to wonder how to make a boring date fun. If you really like your date and know that there's a connection there or you're just dedicated to having a fun night — salvaging a boring date can be easier than you may think.
Though people may tell you that dating is "supposed to be fun," going out with new people can be totally nerve-racking. It's OK to need time to warm up to somebody new or to feel a little awkward as you're getting to know someone better. Don't be fooled by rom-coms: Sometimes, it takes a lot of slow and steady to eventually get to the hot and heavy. Feeling bored on a date doesn't mean that you or your date are boring, but it could mean it's time to mix it up.
When you're feeling totally bored on a date, here are 12 ways to make your own fun.
1. Go Off Book
If you've been waiting for your table for 20 minutes and have already ran out of things to say or you thought a trip to that free contemporary art museum would be quirky and cute and now you're standing in silence looking at at a dozen broken televisions' flashing green lights (literally me) — changing the plan mid-date can provide an instant boost of fun.
Maybe you ditch the sit-down dinner and grab street cart hotdogs or perhaps you go to a 24/7 diner and eat pancakes for dinner. If you're feeling stuck on a date — take it somewhere else.
2. Order Something You've Never Had Before
If your date is feeling like a total dud, use it as an excuse to try a new drink or food. Whether you order the spiciest thing on the menu or ask the bartender to surprise you, trying something new can add some excitement to a boring date.
3. Try On A Bunch Of Sunglasses (I'm 100% Serious)
Window shopping can be the perfect way to salvage a boring date. Hit up a cheap sunglasses store or a cheesy accessory place, and have a movie montage moment trying on different hats and shades. Getting silly can make you and your date both laugh, and can shake off any lingering nerves.
4. Do Some IRL Yelping
Rather than checking your phones for a cute place to grab a drink or snack, walk around until you find a place that looks interesting. Finding somewhere neither of you have gone before can get you both out of your comfort zones and into fun date territory.
5. Go Do Something Silly
When you simply can't keep moving your kale pesto gnocchi around on your plate while pretending to be listening, it may be time to go do something silly. Hit up a karaoke joint, find a kitschy dive bar, go go-carting, see a comedy show, or stop by an arcade. Try an activity that will let you move your bones, let go, and actually laugh at something actually funny.
6. Get Fast Food
It's always time for ice cream. If you date is feeling a little dry, hit up a good fast food spot for a sweet treat. Whether you get donuts or churros, or hit up a convince store for Slurpees and Flamin' Hot Cheetos, getting some fast food will surely give you a sugar rush.
7. Be Honest
OK, flat-out telling someone that they're boring or that you're bored hanging out with them isn't always honest — it's mean. If you're getting the sense that the date is tanking because you're both super nervous or introverted, expressing that in a kind way can be a game changer.
A simple "I haven't been on a date in a while, and honestly, I'm a little nervous" or "I'm sorry if I'm not super chatty, I get a little shy on dates" addresses the awkward elephant in the room, without putting anyone on the spot. Your date will probably be super relieved you made space for them to admit that they're nervous too.
8. Hit Up *Your* Favorite Place
If your bestie works at a bar down the street or you literally live at the shaved ice placed around the corner, going somewhere you feel comfortable will at least help you loosen up. Snagging free drinks or showing your date the best things to order on the menu will help you feel confident, it can also open up conversation about what you both like to do for fun.
9. See What Your Friends Are Doing
Honestly, if you're super into someone and you thought you were going on a one-on-one romantic date night, and you put on a whole outfit ,but when you got there, and it turned out to be a group hang with no romantic vibe — that blows.
However, if your night is already feeling a little stale, adding your fun friends into the mix may actually be the saving grace. If you secretly texted your friends during the date that the date was a little boring (me), they may come through with enough energy and fun to turn the night around. If your date is on the shyer side or they're super nervous, having other people around may help them get out of their shell.
10. Befriend Your Waiter
Consider your waitstaff a guest star making a cameo on your boring date. Whether you literally tell them that you're on a date or ask them stories about the worst costumers they've ever had, getting friendly with the waitstaff can relieve any tension on a date.
Pro tip: One time my date and I sent shots to people at the bar that were clearly also on a bad date and the four of us ended up talking for a while. If you're feeling really spicy (and wealthy, LOL), consider sending over drinks or a snack to other patrons. If you're feeling spicy and not wealthy (me), you also can send water in wine glasses (literally have done this). This is both a little sneaky and a lot silly, and can help you and your date bond.
11. Invent Stories For The People Around You
Inventing stories about the other people around you at the bar or restaurant can be a fun way to energize your date. Whether you go on for five minutes about how the lady behind you may be a spy or you try to imagine what the bartender's secret identity is — getting the creative juices flowing can take the pressure off of talking about yourself.
12. Honestly, It's OK To (Politely) Leave And Have Fun By Yourself
If a date isn't going well and you're not into it, you don't have to feel solely responsible for saving it. Excusing yourself politely, by saying, "Thank you so much for the drink, but I'm going to be heading home now," can get you off the hook without IRL ghosting your date. (A date sneaking out of the restaurant in the middle of dinner is out of my nightmares.) If your date was a total dud but you're all dressed up and out on the town, it's always OK to say goodnight, then go meet up with your friends or take yourself out for a fancy drink.
When you're about to fall asleep in your kale salad, knowing some ways to spice up a bland date can really come in handy. Dates can be nerve-racking! Sometimes, ordering a new drink or going somewhere unexpected can turn the night around. Of course, if you can't think of anything else to say or you would rather be out with your friends (or in bed with your dog), it's always OK to politely excuse yourself from a boring date. Dating can be exciting and when you put yourself out there, the fun is sure to follow.