First dates are one of the worst parts of dating, but we romanticize them so much. How was your first date really? It’s time to get honest with yourself.
First dates get a bad reputation and for good reason. They are often terrible. So, how was your first date really? Everything about a first date sucks. The build-up, the nerves, the awkwardness, and maybe even the date can be horrendous. Really, how was the date?
Sure, you’re meeting someone new. Sometimes sparks fly, but how often does that really happen? Only about 20% of first dates lead to a second date. So, the majority of first dates really aren’t too impressive.
Yet, in my experience, first dates have been pretty good. I would often leave a first date thinking, “Wow! That went better than expected.” Is that because I always expect first dates to be duds? Or is it because the date was actually that good? Well, I can tell you it was certainly not the latter.
How was your first date really?
How many times have you come out of a first date and thought it was pretty good? Looking back you might say rarely, but immediately after a first date, unless it was horrendous, you probably thought it was good.
Out of all the first dates I’ve been on, I think only one or two was actually horrible right off the bat. When I would get home, I’d tell my best friend it was great and that I liked the person. I would eagerly wait for a text for my date to set up the next one.
Most of these dates ended with my date saying we should do this again and that was a pretty clear indication that he had a good time too. But, whether he ghosted me or it didn’t work out for other reasons, looking back, those first dates weren’t nearly as good as I originally thought.
Things I ignored at first would arise in my mind after things didn’t work out. It was like, once I knew it wasn’t right, my mind let me see all the reasons why.
A date I left feeling good about became clear in my mind. I actually left a date really liking a guy who called me by the wrong name after kissing me. Obviously, that was a red flag, but initially I let it pass.
This guy also said some things I fundamentally disagreed with about raising kids, politics, and his ex. Looking back I am beyond relieved we didn’t get past the first date, but directly afterward I was smitten.
If you recently came out of a first date looking forward to the next, I challenge you to think back about that date as objectively as you can.
What did you talk about? What did your date say? Did they tip the server? Were they saying cruel things about their ex or making fun of someone? Were there things you would call out your friend for saying but didn’t because you were being polite or hopeful?
Even as someone who was bitter for most of her dating life, I overlooked so many red flags. It would have made sense for me to take the tiniest things and blow it out of proportion, but instead, I ignored things.
Do you find yourself doing the same thing? I get the feeling you might.
The same way someone stays in a bad relationship because it is still a relationship or because they are comfortable or scared of trying again, we put pressure on a first date to lead to more.
Why do we convince ourselves first dates are better than they are?
Now that you have hopefully reexamined your first date in a brighter light, the best way to prevent ourselves from false hope and ignoring red flags in the future is to figure out why we do this in the first place.
If you asked me while I was going on these first dates what my dealbreakers were, I could give you a list. But, when those things actually came up on a date, I swept them under the rug to ignore or deal with later. If I was going through the anxiety and pressure of a first date, I wanted it to matter. I wanted it to go well and lead to something more. Even if it wasn’t.
Even if deep down I knew this person was so wrong for me, I would convince myself I was excited because I had gone through the effort to meet them and handle the nerves.
I was so nervous about my first online dating date. I was finally meeting someone from the internet after years of near misses. We went out for coffee and talked for a few hours. It ended with him saying we should go on a proper date sometime, and he’d text me.
Well, I never heard from him again. I got all worked up about it. I vented to my friends. Then, I stalked his social media. And I felt pretty bad about it all. But, looking back, that date was pretty lackluster. It wasn’t bad, but I really wasn’t all that into him. I had a decent time and would’ve gone on a second date, but honestly, there wasn’t a spark or even that good of a conversation.
So, why was I so bummed when he disappeared? For quite a few reasons actually and I’m sure they are the same for you.
When you go through the anxiety of a first date, you want it to work out. You want that effort to pay off. You convince yourself it is better than it was so you don’t feel like you wasted your time or worse, failed. Then, when it doesn’t work out, you overreact based on those false feelings of hope and expectations. In reality, you weren’t that taken with the person in the first place.
Even if you’re picky about who you date, the first date comes with a free pair of rose-colored glasses. You see the bad stuff but in a good light.
You hear your date say something offensive or off-putting but you let it go for one reason or another and then they say something funny or sweet, and you forget about your moment of doubt.
These feelings of over interest in someone we just sort of like can be caused by desperation. I know that sounds bad, but the desire to have a partner can outsmart the desire to have the right partner.
If we can realize this and act accordingly, we can be more realistic with our expectations for first dates. And when a first date doesn’t lead to another, we can move on more quickly and actually enjoy dating.
With this, I’m not saying you should write-off every not perfect date, but it couldn’t hurt to look at first dates for what they truly are, rather than what we build them up to be.
So, how was your first date really? You deserve to be truly honest with yourself… even if you’re disappointed.