After hitting it off by email, text, and phone, you and your would-be partner were excited about meeting in person. Unfortunately, your first date seemed to go south from the start. Now that you’re home again—and your inbox is empty and your phone is quiet—you wish you’d handled things differently. Have you blown your chance at getting to know this person better? Or is it still possible to save this potential relationship?
First dates can seem like you’re tiptoeing through a minefield. Expectations and nervousness run high, making it easy to misstep and create the wrong impression.
Here are four common first date blunders, along with ideas for minimizing the damage:
Showing up late.
Perhaps you couldn’t decide what to wear, forgot to print out directions, or got stuck in traffic. Whatever the reason, your tardiness definitely put a damper on the evening. Your lack of punctuality left the clock-watching person wondering, Do I really matter? Is this date important? Your best chance at being forgiven is sincere contrition. Offer a genuine apology without groveling (which usually makes things worse). If you can admit the gravity of your crime, you may win yourself a second chance. A dash of humor doesn’t hurt either: Create a poem or limerick declaring your guilt and vowing to do better next time. Anytime you need to admit a mistake and seek a second chance, humor can be your ally. 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 could hardly get a word in, and you fear you came across egotistical and self-absorbed. If you can convince your love interest that your verbosity was due to jitters and that you’d appreciate a do-over, you may get a second chance. Admit that you monopolized the conversation and vow that next time the focus will be reversed. 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 still stuck in the past and unprepared to move on to something new.
To remedy this common slip-up, send a thank you note 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.”
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 at your date’s jokes, or pay excessive compliments, or flirt beyond what’s reasonable, or flatter to the point of being cloying.
The solution? First of all, 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.
You’ve probably detected a theme running through these suggestions: Fess up, take responsibility, and offer a heartfelt apology for less-than-sterling behavior. Usually, with humility, humor, and honesty, you can overcome a first-date fiasco and get a second chance to explore the relationship. Last but not least, 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.