First dates, you either love them or you hate them. I must admit, I’m on the hate side. First dates are awkward, and most of the time I feel more like I’m being interviewed than I am truly getting to know someone. So how about some ideas on how to avoid bad first dates? OK!
Showing up late. Maybe you can’t decide what to wear, or you forgot to print directions, or heck, maybe you’re even stuck in traffic. Whatever the reason, tardiness will put a definite damper on the evening. Your lack of punctuality makes the other person wonder, Do I really matter? Is this date important? So what do you do if you’re late? Your best chance at being forgiven is sincere regret. Offer a genuine apology without groveling (which tends to make things worse). If you can admit the gravity of your crime you may win yourself a second date. And a dash of humor doesn’t hurt either. After all, sometimes the best way to someone’s heart is through a smile.
Talking too much about yourself. You dominated the conversation and hogged the limelight. Your date can hardly get a word in, and you fear you came across egotistical and self-absorbed. If you can convince your interest that your verbosity was due to jitters and that you’d appreciate a do-over, you may get a second chance. You might say, “Please give me the chance to prove that I’m an equal-opportunity communicator. I can listen as well as I can talk – really!” And then make good on your promise.
Revealing too much about your ex or a former partner. If this describes what occurred during your date, no wonder you’re feeling like you got off on the wrong foot. By talking in detail about a former relationship, you may have sent the message that you’re stuck in the past and unprepared to move on to something new. To remedy this common slip-up, send a thank you note (seriously?!?) to your date acknowledging the enjoyable time together and add something along these lines: “Thanks for listening as I rehashed my history. It’s nice to learn more about each others backgrounds, but next time we’re together I promise to leave the baggage at home. I’m looking forward to sharing with you who I am today – and even more excited about discovering who you are today as well.”
Obvious over-eagerness. Sometimes two people connect so well via email and phone that they approach their first face-to-face meeting with sky-high expectations. It’s easy to go overboard in your enthusiasm to make a good impression and signal your interest. You may laugh too heartily, or pay excessive compliments, or flirt beyond what’s reasonable, or flatter to the point of being cloying. The solution? First off, stop it! Redouble your resolve to be genuine and authentic from here on out. Second, if it’s appropriate, mention in subsequent communication that you were feeling out of sorts and you look forward to the next get-together, when you’ll be more at ease. Leave it at that. You’ll only compound the problem with excessive explanations and excuse-making.
So, the bottom line: Fess up, take responsibility, and offer a heartfelt apology for less-than-sterling behavior. Humility, humor, and honest can help you overcome a first-date fiasco. And cut yourself some slack; nearly everyone who has been on more than a few dates has endured an embarrassing faux pas – including the person you’re interested in.