What makes a date a bad date?
If you ask my friend and neighbor, Jennifer Kelton, she’ll point you to her terrific site Bad Online Dates. On her site, you can post those dates you had hoped would go well, that ended in the category of a dating disaster. At Cyber-Dating Expert, we feature the Peril of the Week. This time, I thought I’d add in a personal story of my own, along with some dating advice to prevent you from ending up with a date gone bad.
Forgive my bad manners, but during my last bad online date, I sent a text message to Jen saying, ‘Help! I’m on a bad date, but don’t tell anyone.” I received an immediate supportive response from Jen, which said, “I just laughed so hard out loud right now! Are you ok? Other than the fact that you’re on a “bad date.” She offered to help me with the “family emergency” call and she let me know that she was there for me. There’s nothing more powerful than your girlfriend network while you are going on a blind date.
Jen coined the phrase bad dates she directs and produces Bad Date TV. I have a history of writing about my dates, both the good and the bad. So what exactly defines a bad date and how do you prevent one from happening?
Let’s look at some ways to prevent yourself from a dating disaster so you don’t end up as the Peril of the Week.
1. Trust Your Intuition.
Don’t accept a date when the phone conversation doesn’t feel right. If you don’t have any phone chemistry at all or find yourself in an argument with your date before you even meet them, don’t schedule a date. You don’t need a free meal. If you put a date on the calendar, don’t feel badly about canceling. Why waste each other’s time?
My first conversation with my date was awful. We had two weeks of fantastic instant messaging chemistry. On the phone, he kept interrupting me, arguing with me, and kept telling me how to run my business life, disagreeing with everything I was doing. He was right. I was wrong about everything, so it appeared. I couldn’t get off the phone fast enough. I should have canceled our upcoming date, but felt I was a woman of my word and should follow through. I needed to give him the benefit of the doubt. A woman’s intuition is very powerful. You should trust it. I ended up going for sushi with a man who attacked every statement I made. From arguing with me because I didn’t like to eat eel, to ridiculing me because I ordered hot sake. He insisted that cold sake was better. When I said I liked living near the beach, he complained about the fog layer. It went downhill fast. I wondered, “ Why did I subject myself to this?”
2. Take your date from online to offline as soon as possible.
In my case, I had great “instant message” chemistry with the date in question. Since I had communicated with him mostly online, I broke several of my own rules of netiquette for online daters. I had a good excuse. I had laryngitis.
My date made several attempts to call and get together. I was unable to, but as he was supportive of my voiceless condition, including suggesting a Dr. who could help me, I began to feel more comfortable with this man whom I never met.
If you spend too much time online sending instant messages, text messages, and emails to someone, you can end up with a false illusion that you are in a relationship. You start to get attached. You are not in a relationship. You are talking to a computer with a photo, that’s all.
3. Never ever text message others while on a date (unless you want your date to end.)
I always say, keep the BlackBerry and iPhone off the table. It’s not an accessory. It’s rude and sends a message that you are more interested in someone else other than your date. In this case, I didn’t care that I sent Jen a text. She needed to know. I knew I’d get sympathy from a friend who understood. I believe you should always check in with a friend when you are meeting a date for the first time. I call it the buddy system. If I was really that into him, I wouldn’t notice my cell phone, even if it rang.
4. Always meet your date in a public place and don’t drive together.
When my date suggested picking me up at my home and driving for 45 minutes together on what he called a “real date,” I knew enough to say no. I sent him a text that said I always meet someone on a first date and take my own car. If I had been stuck in a car with a controlling argumentative guy, it could have been a problem. I might have ended up on a street corner alone, looking for a cab back home. Better safe, than sorry.
5. Do your homework and study for the quiz.
Online dating is a numbers game. However, the more organized you are, the more successful your date will be. In this case, my date thought I had never been married, forgot that I was from the east coast, didn’t remember what I did for a living, and didn’t really seem to care. If you are on a date, make it personal and keep it light. Take the time to remember something your date wrote in their profile. Think of it like preparing for a job interview for your dream job. Would know the name of the parent company you are interviewing with? Would you know the name of the CEO or city of their headquarters? Did you find out how man years they were in business? Recognize their logo?
Add it all up, and it was a recipe for disaster, before I even arrived at the sushi bar to meet a 50-year old man who was wearing a dangling earring. It was destined to be a bad date.
So before you go on your next date, make sure you are looking forward to it, be on good behavior, do your homework, ask questions about the other person, take time to listen, and perhaps you’ll make a new friend, even if you don’t end up meeting “the one.”
Julie Spira is a dating advice columnist and online dating expert. She is the author of the bestseller, The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Visit her at CyberDatingExpert.com