Either you don’t know anything about your date yet, or you’ve just crossed into uncharted territory with an old friend. Either way, dates are weird at first. Brace yourself for long pauses, awkward laughter, and remarks about the weather.
Severity: Mild. Don’t give up, you can totally turn this around.
- Sip your coffee or eat your food slowly and deliberately. Once it’s gone, it will be exponentially more obvious that you don’t have anything to say.
- Ask basic, but secretly important questions that you can hyper-analyze later. Ideas: What’s your favorite color? Cats or dogs? M&Ms or Skittles? Which Adam Sandler movie is your favorite? (That last one will turn up some deal breakers. Anything that’s not 50 First Dates is pretty much a red flag.)
- If you’ve just met, get your date to tell you the information you already know from Googling them so you can’t slip up later.
2. FOOT, MEET MOUTH
Uh oh. You thought you were going to get a laugh and instead you got a blank stare. How were you supposed to know your date’s cousin died in a freak bear attack? What to do, what to do?
Severity: Moderate. Quick, fix it before you’re out in the cold.
- Acknowledge your oops, but don’t dwell. “But seriously, bear attacks are a real problem in our country. No laughing matter,” will do just fine. If you start to apologize profusely, your date will wonder whether you have a split personality, which is actually worse.
- Change the subject. Avoid bears and all associated topics. This means no zoos, teddy bears, sports teams named after bears, or Oatmeal comics. Try the weather or the weird haircut of the person sitting in the corner (there’s always one).
- Be patient. Wait to get a sense for your date’s sense of humor. It might not be ideal if he only tells rated-G knock-knock jokes, but at least you can avoid looking like an insensitive, bear-joking jerk for the remainder of the meal.
3. PET PEEVE
Does your date drum on the table? Does she say “expresso” instead of “espresso?” Does he refuse to address you as “Your ultimate majesty on high?” Rational or not, it bugs you. A lot.
Severity: Moderate, but escalating quickly…
- Breathe deeply. Your pet peeves are your own problem. At least until you make it Facebook official. The rules change after that.
- Re-evaluate the situation. There may be something about this person that is valuable enough to offset that gross habit of digging for fossilized rear-molar food between dinner or dessert. (If there is, consider proposing, because wow.)
- Answered “not so much” to the second bullet point? Do something equally as annoying. Try making sniffling noises and wiping your nose with the back of your hand. If that doesn’t work, reach over and taking a piece of your date’s pasta with your fingers.
4. ALONE, TOGETHER
The person is ignoring you. He/she is blatantly spacing out when you talk, checking texts and e-mails, and eyeballing your hot waiter. Was that a yawn? Wow.
Severity: It’s over. Nothing is worse than being ignored. But don’t leave yet! You may as well amuse yourself.
- Silently initiate a staring contest. If your date doesn’t notice, start meowing for attention.
- Speak only in Nicki Minaj lyrics. Example: Your date asks,”Should we get the check?” And you reply, “If you know me you know I’ve been thinkin’ Franklin. Money.” What does it mean? Who cares? You beez in the trap!
- Last-ditch effort: ask for a box, then poke eyeholes in it, put it on your head and Harlem Shake.
What’s your worst bad-date story? What did you learn from it? Tell us all about it in the comments!