How Women “Reset” A Bad Date

Sure, some dates turn out to be duds. But before you write this one off as another waste of your time, why not try to salvage it in a positive way — like these six ladies did. Read on…

By Laura J. Schaefer

ave you ever wished for a trusty DVR remote for controlling how bad dates play out in real time? If so, you’re not alone. It would be pretty convenient to hit pause right after you spill red wine down your dress (or reset if your date shows up late).

When a date isn’t going quite as you’d hoped or imagined it would, you don’t have to just bow out early or call it a wash if you can’t quite figure out how to rewind it. These lovely ladies have lots
In order to change a situation, you need some sort of spontaneous stimulus.
of ideas for getting things back on track, sans remote. Read on…

Date-resetting tactic #1: Laugh it off
“When things get awkward or uncomfortable during a date, the only cure is comic relief,” says Angela Lutin, a lifestyle and dating blogger based in Boca Raton, FL. “Take a deep breath and crack your best go-to joke to lighten the mood. In fact, I like to stop everything in a very dramatic fashion and present a grand pseudo-persona with an outlandish backstory and accent to match. Taking my cue, the guy will (hopefully) also come up with his own crazy alter ego.” Sure, it might feel like a bit of a risk, says Lutin, but “once one of you breaks into laughter, the mood’s been lifted and you can go back to your real date. It works every time.”

Still, you don’t have to be an Oscar-worthy actor to make the humor card work for you. “Too often, dating is filled with high expectations and pressure to perform,” says Angela Wilkinson, a dating and relationship expert based in New York City. “If your date is going downhill or something isn’t quite right, throw down the honesty card. Pick up the mood with a light-hearted joke about what you’re experiencing. If your date’s feeling the same, it’ll take the pressure off, leaving you both relaxed so you can start having fun.”

Date-resetting tactic #2: Mention a truly epic bad date for perspective
“In order to change a situation, you need some sort of spontaneous stimulus,” explains Yue Xu, a dating coach in Los Angeles. “Pretend you saw a friend you know leaving the bar/restaurant (or wherever you may be). Excuse yourself to go say hi. Come back and talk about how your friend was on a bad date and was just parting ways. A couple bonds over innocent gossip — and most importantly, everything is relative.”

If you’d rather not pull something out of thin air, bring up a funny story about a real bad date from your own history. “Encourage the other person to share his/her story, and you should do so in kind,” says Christan Marashio, owner of advice and events website “Now you’re establishing a commonality between the two of you.”

Date-resetting tactic #3: Lighten the mood with an innocent prank
“I went on a third dinner date with a guy that I really enjoyed, yet it
Many topics big and small will become areas of conflict on a date.
felt a bit boring, and his frustration with a work project and team spilled over into our time,” relates Dr. Stacy Mobley, NMD, MPH, a neuropathic doctor, speaker and medical consultant in Phoenix, AZ. “So I told the waitress that it was his birthday when it really wasn’t… and loved the smile and sheer sweet surprise on his face when the crew came around to sing. Hey, we got a lovely slice of chocolate cake to share!”

Date-resetting tactic #4: Catch your date off-guard
“One time I was having breakfast with Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins and something went awry during the meal,” relates Veronica Grey, a media personality and lifestyle expert. “I excused myself to go to the bathroom. He didn’t realize I was wearing a wig, so I returned a couple of minutes later with the wig off and my natural hair (which is a drastically different color and cut than the wig) showing. I was like a brand new woman, and he was shocked. Talk about a reset! Men are visual creatures, and we all know the effect hair has on them.”

Date-resetting tactic #5: Agree to disagree, and then move on
“Many topics big and small will become areas of conflict on a date,” says Julie Melillo, a life coach from Manhattan. “I’ve had clients get into verbal fights about whether or not vitamins work, whether being a vegetarian is a good idea, or even what the best restaurant in town is. There are many topics where you simply won’t agree on with others. Agreeing to disagree means that you respect your date’s opinion, even if you see things differently.”

Date-resetting tactic #6: Give your date a second chance
“Let your date make a second impression,” counsels Dianne Burnett, author of The Road to Reality. “Sometimes nervousness can contribute to a date starting off bumpy, but give your date an opportunity to redeem himself/herself. If it doesn’t seem to be turning around within a half hour and someone just isn’t making the best impression on you, try to find the good in your date, try to understand the other person, and then go home, relax, and reflect with a nice bath!”

For the other side of this story, read: How Men “Reset” A Bad Date.

Laura Schaefer is the author of Why We Fall Out of Love. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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