If you have years of online dating experience, then you know that bad dates are part of the experience. You will also know that these dates fall on a spectrum, ranging from I need to flee this date immediately to I’m just not that into her.
For this post, “bad date” refers to the latter, a first date wherein the chemistry just isn’t there. In my twenties, there were friends who tried to convince me that chemistry can grow and to always go on that second and even third date if the first wasn’t disastrous.
I followed this advice many times, but for me that first-date chemistry always did matter. That said, immediate struck-by-lightening chemistry isn’t always a good omen either—sometimes it’s a sign of unhealthy relationship potential.
Ahhh… dating. There are no hard-and-fast rules. What I do know is that there is something to learn from every date, even the so-called bad dates.
4 Things to Learn from a Bad Date
- What you don’t want. This is really important. When you mentally cross out what you don’t want, you begin to narrow your focus. Maybe you’ve been dating trans women who are too young, and you find the conversations boring. Or maybe you choose women whose interests are identical to your own, but you’d like a woman to introduce you to something new and exciting.
- Unique date ideas. A fun date experience or location can be used again. I had a first date take me to a wildlife park where we had a picnic and fed the ducks. I never saw him again, but I brought a different fellow to the same park years later, and we’re still together! A good idea is a good idea, especially with the right person.
- What you can do different next time. Reflecting on dates that don’t work out is mandatory when you’re seeking a relationship, especially something long lasting. We all make plenty of mistakes on dates, but hopefully we’re self-aware, and try to do better the next time.
- Knowledge. Every interaction with another human being is a chance to gain information and knowledge. I think we can learn something from everyone we meet. Maybe your date is an avid mountain climber and teaches you the basics on a hike, or maybe she’s a high school teacher who shares her views on the politics within the school system.
Maybe you don’t learn much from a bad date, but that doesn’t mean you can’t just enjoy it for what it is, a connection with another human being. I’ve had plenty of good bad dates with men who I knew five minutes into a date were not my cup of tea (for many a reason). Some of these dates lasted for hours, because the conversation was stimulating or the activity was fun.
Just be clear at the end of the night if you don’t think she’s a good match for what you’re looking for.