If Your First Date Is Mediocre, Should You Go On A Second One? Here’s What Experts Say
There's so much anticipation prior to a first date you're excited about. What if it goes really well and this person turns out to be "the one"? Or what if it goes really badly and they turn out to be a total nightmare? But really, fret not, because what you probably should be anticipating is that neither of these scenarios plays out, because honestly, most first dates fall somewhere in the middle. So, what do you do if your first date is mediocre? The path forward is a lot less clear. If the connection is strong, of course you're going to want to see them again, and the opposite is true if the date goes terribly. Where it gets complicated is when the date was just... OK. In that case, should you give it a second shot and go out again? Or are you better off just cutting your losses?
Since the answer is so unclear, I reached out to the experts: Eric Resnick, dating expert and profile writer, and Julie Spira, online dating expert and author of Love in the Age of Trump: How Politics Is Polarizing Relationships, for their advice on how to handle whether or not to go out with someone again if the first time was just so-so. Here's what they had to say.
A mediocre first date is not a deal killer.
Both of the experts agree: A mediocre first date is far from automatic dealbreaker. “Mediocre is different than bad,” Resnick tells Elite Daily. If you have a bad date, there's no reason to go out on a second, but if you feel like maybe the two of you have some potential, but the date didn't get off to a good start, you might want to consider a do-over.”
There a plenty of reasons why the first date might not have gone well that have little to do with actual compatibility. “There’s just too much pressure on a first date to have instant chemistry [and] think they could be ‘the one.’ Projecting to the future is natural, but keep your thoughts to yourself and try to enjoy getting to know someone new,” Spira tells Elite Daily. “If your first date was less than perfect, or mediocre, but you realize you have a variety of interests in common, I believe it’s worth scheduling a second date, where you can dig deeper to get to know someone.”
Instant chemistry is not always essential.
If the reason you think the date was only so-so was due to a lack of instant chemistry, you may want to consider giving them a second chance, because that spark doesn’t always happen right away — and even when it does, it can be misleading. “There’s the magic of that physical ‘instant chemistry,’ but don’t let it fool you into thinking you’ve met your dream [date]. I believe there are several forms of chemistry; physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Often the stars don’t align instantly, and chemistry does takes time to grow,” says Spira. “The best relationships also involve having a deep friendship, something more than a superficial decision based on instant chemistry or looks. Even if you have a ‘type’ it doesn’t guarantee your values are in alignment. It’s time to kick the one-and-done dates to the curb, and give someone a second chance when they’re more relaxed,” she adds.
While its a good idea to be more patient about the chemistry forming, Resnick adds that if something just doesn’t feel right, you should definitely honor those feelings. “It might take you the whole date to tell if you really have chemistry with person you are seeing, but you can usually tell in the first 20 seconds if you definitely do not. Compatibility isn't simple. If it was, no one would be single,” he says.
When to cut your losses and not go on another date.
Keeping an open mind about a date that is just OK is one thing, but if the date goes badly, both the experts say there is absolutely no need to go out with that person again. “If someone is rude or insults you on a date, the best thing you can do is cut the date short,” says Spira. If a little voice is telling you this person is not right for you, don't ignore it, says Resnick. “There is a big difference between not being sure about someone and feeling like you've made a horrible mistake. Trust your gut,” he concludes.
You also shouldn’t feel the need to force yourself to go out with someone. If you gave it a good shot and there's nothing there, that's OK. “If the conversation starts out awkward on date one, and continues to be unnatural by date two or three, it’s time to let the person know you don’t think you’re a match,” says Spira. “I know it’s easier to ghost, but it’s time to take the high road and buck the trend, instead of leaving someone hanging with the hope they’ll realize you’re the prize. Be gracious and thank them for their time.”
The takeaway here is that mediocre dates happen, but that doesn’t have to be discouraging. In fact, oftentimes, the second date will be a lot better when there is less pressure. So, keep that in mind, but always trust your gut. You don't owe anyone a second date, but should you decide you want to go for it, you may even be surprised by how much more chemistry you have the second time around.