Here’s Why It Feels So Hard To Get Past The First Date

Elite Daily/Jenny Garbutt

Dating is more complicated than ever right now: you can be benched, breadcrumbed, and ghosted by your Tinder match... all in the same week. And even when a great first date gives you butterflies, knowing what to do next can be confusing AF. Luckily, in Elite Daily's new series, We Need To Talk, our Dating editors break down the latest terms, trends, and issues affecting your life with their own hot takes to figure out how to navigate finding love in a world that changes faster than you can swipe left.

Consider how much energy a first date takes. Sorry, do you need a nap yet? It's hard enough to brainstorm a funny dating app bio, match with someone cute who shares your love of Stranger Things and pineapple pizza, and actually find a time to meet up for drinks or coffee. And that's not even counting picking out an outfit you actually like or analyzing your date's texts with your friends. So, when the date turns out to be kind of a dud — or, worse, they ghost you — it can be infuriating. And exhausting. And just such a massive bummer. To get to the bottom of this all-too-common plague, Elite Daily's Dating editors opened a bottle of rosé, turned on Lizzo's album, fired up our group chat, and tried to hash this all out. (Hi, it's us! Iman, Veronica, and Hannah!) Here’s what we had to say about why getting past the first date can be so hard.

Elite Daily/Jenny Garbutt

Veronica [5:39 p.m.]

i feel like i've been on so many great first dates that ultimately don't end in anything exciting

Iman [5:39 p.m.]

my best friend from college has literally gone on so many dates lately and hasn't seen any of them since

she thinks it's because they aren't looking for anything serious

Veronica [5:40 p.m.]

the worst part is that when you're ON the date, it feels fine? and promising even? and then all of a sudden you say good night, maybe you kiss, and then.... they disappear

Hannah [5:41 p.m.]

there was this one time i met a guy at my friend's NYE party and he was adorable and raised chickens and was studying law and i swooned

and we got drinks at zablozki's and i was literally falling in love

we kissed in the snow outside the bar under these glowing christmas lights


and i was left wondering.... WTF? did he not also know we had to raise 3 children together on a chicken farm?

it was just deeply confusing to see this fizzle

Iman [5:42 p.m.]

i'm deeply impressed by how many real dates you guys have been on

Hannah [5:42 p.m.]

hahaha why do you think i was hired as a dating editor

Veronica [5:42 p.m.]

in the words of charlotte york

i've been dating since i was 15


Iman [5:42 p.m.]

do you feel like maybe it’s because everyone feels like they have unlimited options now because of dating apps? classic “the grass is always greener?”

Veronica [5:43 p.m.]

i feel like there are so many people on apps that if the first date isn't like, BOOM, best thing ever, i'm going to marry this person...

you are so easily replaceable

and it's like, “thank u next” IRL

Hannah [5:44 p.m.]

yeah, when i was single, so many dudes just... blended together... because they were not spectacular standouts

Iman [5:44 p.m.]

maybe it fizzles because everyone is so busy, stressed, burned out, etc.

Hannah [5:44 p.m.]

isn't that an excuse though? if you REALLY like someone, you'll make time?

like, we all have jobs and friends and lives... and yet... we date

Veronica [5:44 p.m.]

do you think that maybe people have really big expectations for dates, and if they're not met, then they just don't feel like trying again with a second date?

Hannah [5:45 p.m.]

yeah! def

but chemistry can sometimes take time to develop

and it's probably really normal to not have an instant soulmate connection with someone on your first date

but who wants to slog through 10 dates with someone who seems like a dud just to double-check that they aren't your soulmate?


Iman [5:45 p.m.]

ok, so, what’s the disconnect here?

how can one person think the date was fantastic and the other winds up ghosting?

Veronica [5:46 p.m.]


is it just more about sex than i think it is?

Hannah [5:46 p.m.]

as in one person expects a date, and the other expects a date that turns into sex?

Veronica [5:46 p.m.]

right! like, if you’re really just looking for a hookup, that can be so easily communicated upon first matching, right? you can even put it in your bio.

it’s understandable that someone who only wants to hook up wouldn’t want to go on a second date if they realize that you’re not interested in hooking up right away (which is also OK and fair)

but then, why not

make that clear

right away

instead of

wasting everyone's time

Hannah [5:47 p.m.]


i remember going on so many first dates where guys were like "wanna come up for a drink?" after hanging out for an hour or two

and then i would be so caught off guard when they tried to hook up with me

when i was like, omg, no, where is the wine we talked about??

because it can be HARD to talk about these things? idk. it shouldn't be

if you just want to hook up instead of date, make that clear

and then this whole headache can be avoided for everyone

Iman [5:47 p.m.]

i think communicating about expectations is much more difficult in practice than it is in theory

Hannah [5:48 p.m.]

and that's even more impossible when you're dealing with a stranger

Iman [5:48 p.m.]

yeah, both parties are nervous


Veronica [5:48 p.m.]

you know what else can alleviate this

communicating AFTER the date, too

and being like, "hey, you know what, you're super nice, but i just wasn't feeling this"

because then it's not like, "WHAT HAPPENED, EVERYTHING WAS SO GREAT"

because for them it might not have been that great



Iman [5:49 p.m.]

that's exactly how i feel

like, if i had a choice about being let down directly vs. wondering "why" or "what if" forever, i'd pick the former every time

even if it totally sucked

which it would

but it’d suck less than being insecure, confused, annoyed, discouraged, etc.

Hannah [5:49 p.m.]

ok, so, what we’ve figured out, essentially, is that the reason it's so hard to get past the first date is because

(1) real chemistry is rare

(2) communication is hard

Iman [5:50 p.m.]

i think it's because despite what people say about millennials killing romance with our acronyms and technological advances and high-waisted pants

we've been raised with this deeply ingrained notion of finding "the one" or a "soulmate"

so basically, even if we do hit it off with someone, we're always looking for our PERFECT PERSON, or our OTHER HALF, etc.

it's an impossibly high standard to put on a stranger

plus, we always consume these stories that are like

“i knew the second i saw them!”

“love at first sight!”

so, even if the date is good or great, we’re tempted to keep looking

Hannah [5:51 p.m.]

if we expect to develop instant chemistry, that’s a lot of pressure to put on a stranger!

and on yourself!

Veronica [5:51 p.m.]

i think the answer for me personally is

i am priyanka chopra, meaning:

the man for me has not yet been born

and that is ok

but also, in general, we need to communicate, explain expectations, and make sure both people are on the same page

Iman [5:52 p.m.]

so, what’s the solution here, you guys?

Veronica [5:53 p.m.]


before, during, and after

about what you want out of the date

and how you honestly feel about the date afterward

Hannah [5:53 p.m.]

i agree!

and if a second date doesn’t materialize, that’s when you text your friends

we’ll bring the wine, it’ll be just like a date

Iman [5:53 p.m.]

but even better

Elite Daily/Jenny Garbutt