I’ve been in the dating app trenches and had an… experience… or two, and I’m happy to share these mishaps with you, so that you can avoid the awkwardness of some awful dates. I can’t save you from them all, but I can tell you what I’ve learned does not work for dating a new person.
One Man Show
When you’re planning your first date with someone new, make sure that it’s not too one-sided. For example – make it a venue equidistant from both of your houses, and somewhere you’d both enjoy. I once thought I was being taken to a bar which had karaoke, and that my date was going to get up and sing a song. That’s really what the plan sounded like. I stressed that I did not want to do karaoke or sing anything myself. All good – right? Until we get there and the venue is Karaoke Box, and I sit for the entire date whilst he sings a whole playlist at me. It just wasn’t ideal for getting to know anything about each other, but the drinks button on the wall was incredibly useful! (Press it and the server brings you another round!)
The Rebound Date
I was never the person who asked “So, when was your last serious relationship?” and that really bit me in the butt when I got myself into this situation. Ask questions. Know things about the human you’re meeting. Things that might be important later. So that you don’t end up on date three, riding around the park on his ex-fiancee’s bike listening to him recount the tale of cancelling his wedding last month. Being the rebound almost never leads to anything serious – after all, when a guy gets out of a NINE YEAR relationship (yup) he probably wants to play the field a little.
A Dating Itinerary
When someone seems perfect on paper and you can’t wait to meet them, that may lead you to schedule a whole bunch of plans for your first date – cute, right? No. Don’t do it. Until you have actually met face to face, there’s no way you know if you’re even attracted to each other. I signed up for a session at a climbing wall place, followed by dinner reservations and literally immediately regretted it the second I met this guy. Sure, he was attractive and we’d been talking on the app, but my gut told me straight away that this wasn’t going anywhere. Still, we had this whole evening of awkwardness planned and I didn’t want to be rude – I tried to give it a chance. It was awkward. Pick something that’s easy to abandon if you’re not feeling it. Thank me later.
A Night At The Movies
Never never ever ever go to the cinema/movies/theatre for the first date. There is no way that you can learn anything new about this stranger if you’re sat in the dark, in silence, staring at a screen. You may as well be at home, still talking on the app. You want to be able to ask questions, laugh, and have some fun. Save the movie for further down the line.
Look At The Menu
Maybe it’s just me, but if I go to a new restaurant I can get a bit overwhelmed with the choices on the menu. This was made even worse when I was taken to a fancy restaurant that little old me would’ve never chosen. I barely even understood the menu. I just stared aimlessly, looking for something not-too-offensive-sounding, until my date ordered for me. Super awkward. I don’t want someone ordering vegetables for me; I want to order my own… burger. Either take a peek at the menu online beforehand, or choose somewhere you already know you like.
Not My Cup Of Tea
Someone once took me to a tea shop and we drank a cup of tea. That’s it – that was the date. Now, I love tea as much as the next person, but for a first date – you want some excitement and fun. We were in a crowded tea room in the middle of the day, as he berated me for how much milk I had in my tea. There was nothing special about it, and it just didn’t feel like a date – I felt like I was just catching up with a friend. There’s no need to spend a fortune, but at least go somewhere fun! (I’m such a fan of activities for dates – mini golf, arcades, board game cafe – you know.)
Square Peg In A Round Hole
That sounds a bit dodgy, but hear me out. This is the most important thing I’m going to tell you. Sure, it matters where you go and what you do, but the most important part of dating is the person you’re meeting. You’re trying to find someone you’re compatible with, and you want someone to like you for you.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to fit into what a guy wants or what they like. I know – it sounds stupid, but I tried very hard to like several TV shows just because the guy I was dating was a big fan. I never said “I hate this show” – I just tried my best to like it. I wasn’t trying to be someone I’m not but it was this weird mentality of “He’s a great guy and he loves it, and I need to make an effort.” Crazy – right? And it’s not just TV shows – we subconsciously think that we need to like sports, or cooking, or even stuff in the bedroom, because we want to make an effort for this new person. But here’s the thing, never try to change yourself or force yourself to like something you don’t like. The happiest you will ever be is when you’re with that person you can be yourself around, and tell them that you hate their stupid TV shows (and that’s okay).
It’s a No-Brainer, Really
Cooking at home? This is a cute date idea once you’re into your relationship, but it is not a good idea to meet a random Tinder guy at his house while he cooks. Have you never seen CSI? C’mon, now. It’s so important to keep yourself safe and let friends know your plans. Sure, meeting strangers online is the norm now, but it hasn’t lost any of the risks. Be smart and careful.
There we have it – I survived through those bad dates so you don’t have to. Dating should be fun and exciting – not awkward and a waste of time. Sure, you’re not going to get it right every time, but these tips can help you avoid some cringe-worthy evenings. The worst part is, that’s not even all of them – maybe I’ll have to write a book with the amount of weird dates I’ve been on. Good luck out there! And hey, if you do have a bad date, it’ll be a funny story later.