How Men “Reset” A Bad Date

Nobody’s immune to bouts of awkwardness during a date, but you don’t have to let it derail your evening. Here, men share their tips on steering things back in the right direction.

By Laura J. Schaefer

ven the most anticipated dates of your life don’t always go smoothly. In fact, nerves and high expectations can lead to all sorts of unexpected gaffes or hijinks — and they’re not always the charming kind. When a date isn’t going as planned,
She was taken aback at my bluntness, but actually agreed with me.
it can be tempting to bail in a major way and hope things go better with your next crush. Not so fast!

“We’ve all been there,” says Michael Bloomberg, The Romance CEO. “Every morning, for several months, you notice she gets her coffee at the same place and same time as you. Then one day, you both actually introduce yourselves, exchange phone numbers, and a date is set. Life cannot get any better. Unfortunately, our social lives do not always equal that which we see in the movies.”

After all, she might be late — or you could accidentally say the wrong thing. But that doesn’t mean you should just give up, right? A bad date isn’t a deal-breaker, and sometimes, it can even be saved while it’s still in progress. To get a derailed date back on track, we asked a group of clever guys for their opinions on how to configure things while you’re still in the moment. Read on for their cunning tactics below…

Date-resetting tactic #1: Acknowledge the awkwardness
Sometimes, you have to acknowledge an awkward reality in order to loosen up and have more fun with your date. “I had one date that was set with a woman whom I’d met at a themed event where we were both dressed very elegantly,” explains artist and designer Arash Afshar. “When we met for our first date, it turned out that she had a completely different style than when I’d met her. The more we spoke, the more we realized that we really did not have a whole lot in common. About halfway through, I told her point-blank that it was obvious that we didn’t share a lot common other than being physically attracted to each other. She was taken aback at my bluntness, but actually agreed with me — and the tone of our date totally changed. We became more playful.”

Date-resetting tactic #2: Move things to a different location
“When it comes to a bad date, it’s important to know what the reason is that’s behind it,” says Dylan Thrasher, life coach and author of How to Find and Create Lasting Love. “Maybe it’s the location,
It is perfectly fine to ask if everything is OK.
as in a place that’s so loud you two aren’t really getting to know one another. Go outside for a walk, do something different and get out of the bar/restaurant mentality. Walk in the park and talk.”

Jordan Harbinger, a dating coach at The Art of Charm, Inc., agrees. “Change the venue of the date, and especially change the tempo and energy of it. For example, if you’re having drinks, move to a place where you can do something more active, like play carnival games or air hockey, etc. You’d be surprised at how a change of environment, tempo and calling out the fact that you’re both a bit uncomfortable can loosen things right up and salvage a date.”

Date-resetting tactic #3: Get goofy and invite others to join in the fun
“Maybe the date is just shy — in which case, mix it up,” adds Thrasher. “Go do something silly — like an ice cream parlor or ice-skating rink where you have to interact some. Or, invite some of your friends (singles or couples) to join you for group conversation, and test out how well [your date] plays with others at the same time!” Also, there’s no harm in showing off your unique sense of humor. “Change into spare clothes in the car, then claim to be the ‘good’ twin when you return,” offers Russell Reed, a software tester living in Wisconsin.

Date-resetting tactic #4: Ask about other factors/admit you’ve got a case of nerves
“It is perfectly fine to ask if everything is OK,” adds Bloomberg. “Asking how his or her day or week was might lead to an explanation. The mere asking shows that you care and are aware of others’ feelings.” And it’s also perfectly fine to admit your own foibles, advises David Bullmore, author of Fishing for Females. “Most people are experiencing anxiety or a feeling of insecurity when on their first date with a potential partner, which can lead to all types of irrational behavior. If you find you have led the conversation in the wrong direction or you are simply not being yourself as a result of nervous anxiety, stop, take a breath, and tell the truth. I suggest making a statement something along these lines: ‘The truth is, I am seriously nervous. I don’t know why; you would think by now I would have worked this stuff out. I guess it was just really important for me to impress you.’ Most people you’re out with will be able to empathize with that approach and see you in a positive, humanitarian way.”

For the other side of this story, read: How Women “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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