We've all been there. There are blogs dedicated to the sole purpose of venting about a horrible date. But just because they happen, doesn't mean they should, or that there's nothing you can do to save it before it's too late! Consider the following tips to avoid falling into bad first date pitfalls.
One of the biggest buzz kills of any date is finding yourself on the date and realizing you have little to nothing to talk about. Maybe they're not very talkative. Maybe you're not very talkative. Maybe one or both of you are feeling nervous or shy. Instead of sitting in uncomfortable silence or fumbling through a halted verbal exchange, have some thought-provoking, open-ended questions top of mind and ready to get conversation flowing again. Here are some examples of some great questions you could ask:
If you could have dinner with anyone alive or dead, who would it be and why?
What would you say has been the biggest accomplishment of your life thus far?
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be and why?
Tell me about one of your happiest memories.
What are the 5 things you are the best at?
Aside from awkward silences, few things are more uncomfortable than listening to your date tell you WAY too much information about past relationships, family drama, health or financial issues, etc.
If your date is on a roll with a topic that is clearly not appropriate for a first date, find an opening in the conversation, interject a validating comment such as, "I can imagine how that would be a difficult situation." and then either casually change the subject to something more lighthearted or kindly state something such as “thank you for being willing to trust me with such sensitive information – I like to focus on lighter topics in the beginning stages of dating – if we end up being a match, I’d love to hear more details about _____”.
And make sure that you're not the guilty culprit here either. It's always wise to save more serious information for a date further along down the road. The first date should be fun and casual. Not a therapy session.
TELL ME MORE!
If you realize you're feeling zero chemistry with your date, instead of dwelling on the fact that you're not enjoying yourself as much as you'd like, just think of it as a real opportunity to practice good dating techniques. Smile. Ask genuine, open-ended questions. Try to make them feel great. If you can do this successfully with someone you aren't excited about, you'll be able to do it with someone you are. As in all things, practice makes perfect – not to mention you’ll get a reputation for being a great date!
AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION…
To avoid inadvertently finding yourself on a bad date in the first place, always do some information gathering before the date. Sometimes in this digital age, we'll find ourselves agreeing to meet up with people who've done little more than exchange a few email or text messages with us. Many bad dates are with people who have never spoke on the phone prior to the date.
A simple phone call can tell you if you'll be able to have an enjoyable time with this person, if they have good manners, and if they seem as great as you imagined them to be from their emails. If your conversation struggles on the phone, or you find they say things that raise little red flags or rub you the wrong way, chances are, it won't be much better when you're face to face with them. Schedule a phone call before meeting up with your potential date, and listen to your gut.
GET ME OUT OF HERE.
If you've tried your best to save the date from ruins and are not having success, it's ok to accept defeat and call it quits. Don't be afraid to politely end the date when you've reached a good stopping point. If the original plan was to do dinner and then an activity like mini golf, don't hesitate to let your date know when you've finished your meal that you should probably head home now and thank them for their time. Be gracious, but firm. You don't need to waste anyone's time or suffer in silence.
Remember that a first date requires being on one's best behavior. To make sure that you're not the one sabotaging the date, consider the following common sense tips:
Silence your phone and resist any urge to check it. Emergencies excepting, your phone should never make an appearance on the date.
Remember your manners: Say please and thank you. Gentlemen, open doors and pick up the check. Give compliments where appropriate. Remember to use your best table manners. Watch your language and avoid saying things that could be misinterpreted as rude, offensive, or insulting.
Look your best. The very first thing your date will have to judge you on is your clothing. Always dress to impress. Avoid overly-casual clothing and ask a friend, family member, or roommate for their opinion about your outfit choice before heading out the door.
Make sure you brush your teeth before the date and have gum or breath mints with you. Many a date has been sabotaged by bad breath!
Lastly, keep first dates short and sweet. It's better that way.
The LDS Matchmaker specializes in assisting marriage-minded singles with their dating strategy, matchmaking, coaching and more. Our team of experts have successfully cracked the code for thousands of singles throughout the world and would LOVE to have you be our next success story! If you’re ready to make it happen - schedule a Dating Strategy Session HERE or contact us at info@LDSMatchmaker.org or 801-495-1000.