You met someone for coffee. Your date didn’t make you run screaming from The Coffee Bean, but he or she didn’t totally wow you, either. Perhaps you spent the evening a bit bored. Or put off by the way she laughed. Or you couldn’t stop wondering if he’d look better without that mustache.
Should you give this person a second chance? Is it worth a second date? Those dates in the mediocre zone can be confusing. How important are first impressions, anyway? Can someone give a poor first impression, and yet turn out to be the perfect person for you?
Here are some things to consider as you evaluate whether or not to follow up your vanilla latte with dinner:
1. Did you feel safe?
Let’s get this one dealt with right away. If at any point during your date, you felt intimidated, put down or at risk, don’t even think about a second date. Trust your intuition when it comes to safety. Other no brainers? Don’t go out a second time with someone who has an addiction (and is not in recovery), or anyone you catch in a lie. Similarly, someone who led you to believe they were divorced when, in fact, they are separated from a spouse is also a poor candidate for a second date.
2. What about bored?
Dating is supposed to be interesting. So finding yourself bored the first time you meet someone can definitely be a turn-off. What boredom isn’t, however, is proof-positive that your date is actually boring. A less-than-thrilling evening can be the result of lots of things. The same can be said for an evening in which things felt awkward or disconnected. Boredom, awkwardness, and disconnection can be attributed to first-meeting-jitters, tiredness or even plain ol’ unfamiliarity. For that matter, feelings like those can stem from something going on entirely in your world or head-space and not reflect anything at all about the person you just met.
If the worst thing you can say about your time together is that it didn’t inspire feelings of interest, excitement or connection, you might be surprised to find yourself singing a different tune after getting to know each other better.
3. Did your interest-ometer budge at all during your time together?
On an interest level of 1 to 10, perhaps you walked away from the evening at a 3. That’s not very impressive … unless you began your date at a 1 or 2. If you felt yourself warming even the teensiest bit toward your date after an hour or two, would the trend continue through a second, third or fourth date? It may well be worth the time to find out. After all, if your goal is to arrive at true love, you don’t need to get there an hour after you leave your garage. Enjoy the journey.
4. Check your list.
What’s on the short list of things you’re looking for in a partner? If there are, say, five things you’re really drawn to in a person, did your date impress you with one of them? Even if the other four items on your list seemed AWOL, even one “must-have” element could signal that a second date is in order. Remember, a second date is not a lifetime commitment. It’s not even a relationship yet. A second date simply means you’re still figuring out who this person is.
The other list to check is your deal-breakers. And if you haven’t thought about what items you would put on a list like that, you should. While there are good reasons to give yourself time — and that means more than a quick coffee date — to get to know someone, there’s no need to explore possibilities with someone you already know won’t be the right partner for you.
5. Chemistry is in the brain of someone in love.
It’s possible that you’re not sure about a second date because of a lack of chemistry. Without suggesting that chemistry is possible with just anyone, there’s no reason to limit second-date-candidates to people with whom you feel instant chemistry. For one thing, chemistry isn’t always immediate. It can develop over time, or even kick in unexpectedly as emotional intimacy is established. Plus, chemistry has its pros and cons. Once it kicks in (especially in the early stages) it can be all consuming, to the point of making “thinking clearly” more difficult.
And while everyone loves that “love at first sight” feeling, delayed chemistry isn’t a bad thing. It may allow you to take time getting to know someone, establishing a more solid foundation for true love — and, yes, chemistry — down the line.