If you’re out there in the dating world, chances are you’ve been on a bad (or lukewarm) date. If you’re living the swipe life, you’ve probably been on quite a few.
I know how you feel. You let yourself get excited. You get out your cologne, put on that sexy dress, and grab a swig of peppermint mouthwash before you leave the house. You let yourself feel hopeful momentarily. This could be the one. She looks great in her pictures, he has a cute dog, and meets all of your criteria, etc. You get to the date, and you’re suddenly confronted with the reality of the other person. Nothing is matching your expectations—sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. You leave disappointed or semi-interested or worse—you like them and they ghost you.
I know this harsh reality makes dating seem daunting. But, let me be the first to tell you that bad dates are actually a great thing. Bad dates give you an opportunity to learn more about yourself and what you are looking for in a partner. This allows you to then adjust your intention and choices moving forward.
At the end of a bad date, there are two things you can do. First, you can take the easy way out and blame all men/women in the world for being lame and/or unavailable. Or second, you can do it the smart way and use your dating experience to help gain more clarity about what you are looking for in a partner.
The Easy Way
It’s easy to take these bad experiences and turn them into false self-defeating assumptions. For example, you could leave a bad date and decide “dating sucks,” “I’m never going to meet anyone good,” “There are no good men/women out there.” Think about how much worse feel once you start thinking like this? I bet you give up on dating for a bit or get back online with a more hopeless and pessimistic attitude than you had before. Your spirits start to dwindle, as does the quality of your interactions with potential mates. Thus the quality of your dates goes down and the whole thing becomes a vicious cycle. You decide you’re doomed to be alone forever.
The Smart Way
If you’re ready for a way out of this cycle, you can choose to date the smart way. That means that at the end of a “bad date,” instead of making assumptions about the world, like “all men my age are boring,” you use the experience to help you gain awareness about what you are looking for and what you value.
On every date you go on, there are likely to be things that you like and dislike about the interaction. For example: “I loved that she was affectionate,” “I really liked that we had similar schedules,” “I didn’t like how disorganized the date was,” or “I’d prefer someone more masculine,” etc. This information is gold. It allows you to readjust what you are looking for. This kind of self-responsibility gives you power and motivation. When start talking your next potential partner you’ll be doing it from a place of clarity instead of diminished hope. Thus increasing your chances of success long-term.
At the end of my weekend of bad dates chose the smart way. I take a moment to ask yourself “what is missing?” Use this information to readjust your criteria and intentions. Then, try again. You’ll find what you are looking for faster if you do it this way. Who knows—the next one might be the one.
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