When it comes to stranger dates, there are only a few ways the knife will fall. You like the guy (the good), you don’t like the guy (the bad), or the guy just isn’t who you thought he’d be (the ugly).
You’re on an incredible date? Good for you! Smile a lot (oh, you’re already beaming, dannnnng!) and have some fun (you’re having a blast? well color me jealous! Soak it up.) Date on, exchange cute text messages afterwards, and get excited for date #2.
One of the most common questions I get is what do you do on a really horrible/awkward date? and let me tell you, there are more than a handful of coping strategies to make it through a less than ideal date.
- Just talk. It doesn’t even matter what you’re talking about. You could probably talk about the stink of your socks because if he’s not too interested in chatting, you’re probably not going to go out with him again so who really cares what you say? (The stinky socks bit, that is bad advice. Talk about whatever you want but keep your crazy in. There’s no sense in burning bridges, even if you don’t think you’ll ever cross them again. You never know.)
- Ask Questions. Play 20 (or 100) questions by yourself. Ask your date: Are you bigger than a bread box? Are you a living being? Do you sleep at night or are you nocturnal? Even if you only get one word answers, start to compile those answers in your brain and try to stitch them into at least a semi-interesting image of that person, whatever you come up with, that’s the answer to your 20 (100) questions and you’ve won the game!
- Sip Slowly. As painful as carrying the conversation may be, downing a drink to “loosen the nerves”, probably isn’t your best bet. Make your drink last an appropriate amount of time (more than 20 minutes, less than 50) and then when it comes time to decide if you’re going to order another round, say you’re really trying to cut back and should probably get going. Saves you time/energy, saves him money. Win-Win. (Important to note: this also saves you from the most unfortunate of beer goggles- the kind that fool you into thinking your date is fun/funny when really, you’re just drunk.)
- Be Patient. Probably the most important thing to recognize is that dating is dumb and a lot of people don’t like it. They know that it’s an often-obligatory step on the path to happily ever after, but view it as a somewhat painful practice. So if you’re not experiencing fireworks and whole body chills within the first 30 seconds, THAT’S OK. It might take more than five minutes for your date (or you) to become comfortable and to open up. I read an interesting article posted by Virginia Clark with eHarmony Advice called Why You Should Consider that Second Date that really nails this point home. 75% of married women said that their spouce wasn’t initially viewed as their “type” but after giving them a chance to show their true colors, things worked out. Not saying you should go on a second date with every dodo who can’t hold a conversation, but sometimes you’ve got to look past the awkwardness (or do some of the heavy lifting yourself) to see if there’s a solid foundation you could actually build on.
I hate to discount an entire group of human beings for silly shallow reasons, but if a man is posting some false advertising (pictures from more than a few years ago, photoshopped images, whatever) well, sorry, but my advice is to run for the hills. Falsities on a profile is a whole can of worms (worms being insecurities) that you probably really don’t want to open. The only times it is acceptable for a person’s image to deviate from their real life appearance include:
- If a person has recently noticeably changed their appearance (such as cut their hair in a much different style or, you know, went on vacation and got a tan or something) and has yet to accumulate a handful of new pictures.
I’m trying to think of others but really, that’s about it. I think most people would prefer an honest selfie to a group shot that shows how many friends thought you were fun 10 years ago (just keep your shirt on). No excuses. Be honest.