How To Not Let A Bad First Date Get To You
Almost everyone has had at least one bad first date. You see them in movies, you hear about them in songs, and how many times has a friend called or texted you only to start with, "You're not going to believe how bad this date went?" I have texted those words dozens of times, but to this day, the date that will always get the "bad" label in bold, will be the guy who got so drunk on our date he asked, "Do you want to see me smash my head into that brick wall?" My friends still bring that up.
But while bad first dates can definitely be entertaining, make for fantastic brunch-time fodder, and you're likely to never forget them, either because it was that bad or because your friends won't let you, in the moment — and in the moments after the fact — it's important to not let a bad first date get to you.
"When you’ve been in one bad relationship after another, it’s easy to think that the whole thing just isn’t worth your time and energy," New York–based relationship and etiquette expert of Relationship Advice Forum, April Masini, tells Bustle. "But when you break your own pattern of dating the wrong people and choose someone who treats you right, you’ll learn that relationships are worth the time and energy. You just have to be with the right person."
Unfortunately, you may need to go on a lot of dates — some of them bad — to find the right person. So here are seven tips for not letting a bad first date get to you.
1. Look At The Big Picture
"When you’re hyper-focused on a bad date, you tend to lose sight of the big picture," Masini says. "Anyone and everyone who dates, will have a bad date now and again. It’s a numbers game, and if you date enough, you’ll have good ones and bad ones."
If your dating memories only recall bad dates, and far more than most people you know, then it's time to make a change.
"If you’ve got too many bad ones," Masini says, "change your choosing habits."
2. Look For The Humor In It
When things start to go south, find that sense of humor of yours.
"There are successful comedians who make entire careers off of bad dates," Masini says. "Call your best friends and laugh about how bad the date was. ... You can all share and laugh about the worst dates ever, [then] the actual dates don’t seem so bad. They seem funny."
Besides, as Masini points out, while you may not want to have a similar date again, that doesn't mean you're going to die from bad dates either. If anything, they're an experience and even something to make you laugh when you're having a bad day and need a proper giggle.
3. Look On The Positive Side
Not all "bad" things mean bad things.
"Lots of grand romance comes out of a bad first date," Masini says. "There are so many reasons that first dates can go south, that if you think there is a chance this was a fluke, and that there are some good qualities in this person you’d like to get a second chance at learning about, write off the bad date."
If the bad date isn't the result of the person being, well, the worst, it might be worth giving them a second chance. External forces can wreck havoc on someone and they shouldn't be punished for it.
"For instance, if you know your first date had a bad cold and was full of cold medicine and was lagging, give them a second chance," Masini says. "If you know your first date had a fender bender on the way over, and was preoccupied with that, give them a second chance."
4. Use It As Motivation To Set Up More Dates
Although a bad date might have you wanting to throw in the towel and give up, don't do it. Don't give up.
"If you have a doozy of a bad first date, don’t stop dating," Masini says. "Get back out there — to a great party on the weekend, or a get together with lots of single friends, or back onto your favorite dating apps and websites. Don’t give yourself time to sulk or feel sorry for yourself because you had a bad date... fill up your calendar with dates and fun parties with other singles. Up and at ‘em!"
5. Get Some Perspective
If you can pinpoint what made the date so bad, then hopefully you can avoid such a situation in the future. If you were in a bad mood when you arrived, then you learn the lesson that it's best to cancel instead of actually going on the date. If your date was stressed about an early morning deadline, then you learn to reschedule.
"This process should give you a brighter outlook on that bad first date — because hopefully, with this change, it will be the last one like it," Masini says.
As long as you continue to date, you will have the occasional bad date. That's just science and the power of deduction. But as long as you don't let those bad dates get to you and you continue to forge on, you'll eventually find what you're looking for.