Three years later, I still remember the worst date that I ever went on. I know, what a way to start a blog post about dating, right?
At this point, I don’t remember all of the nitty gritty details. But I do remember the generally awkward conversation, and being upset after it was over.
(I also remember that I ate a really great burger… still think about it sometimes).
But instead of letting myself wallow, I tried to learn some lessons from it so that I could look back with laughter instead of regret. I think it worked, so now I’ll share what I learned in the hopes that you can avoid making the same mistakes.
It’s harder than you think when one’s in college and one’s not.
My date and I were in totally different places in life: I was in undergrad and he was in his first year of working postgrad. My schedule was varied, but it usually consisted of waking up at 10 for my 10:30 class, with lots of socializing time during the day. His consisted of waking up at 6 to get on a train from a different state to get to work in the city by 9. So no, I didn’t fully understand when he told me that he had a long day.
Sometimes, being in different places in life isn’t a big deal. But this time, it drew a divide between us. I should have thought about that before I sat down across a table from someone that I had almost nothing in common with.
If you’re not a drinker, don’t go to a bar. If you have to wake up at 5a.m. the next day, don’t go to a movie that starts at 11p.m. It sounds simple, but sometimes we will ignore ourselves or our intuition in the hopes of making a love connection.
Don’t settle for vagueness. Make solid plans.
Our plan consisted of “I’ll meet you in *this area* when I get off of work.” AKA, I walked around semi aimlessly waiting for him, and then we walked around semi aimlessly together, looking for a place that wasn’t too crowded. And, if you’ve never done it, just know that roaming around an area you don’t know well with someone you don’t know well is usually awkward. If it’s not, maybe consider putting a ring on it?
If we’d had a plan, it would have started the date off on a better note. Not a frustrated “fine, let’s eat here.”
Now, I’m a generally old-fashioned girl who would appreciate if a guy planned the date, but if someone’s not committing, either: a) make the plans yourself or b) drop it. Anyone above the age of, I don’t know, 16, should be able to choose a time and a place to meet.
Don’t take things too personally.
THIS IS THE BIGGIE. Like I said earlier, totally different places in life. So, yes, I thought that the work that I was doing as an RA was ~*groundbreaking*~ and I got upset when he poked fun at that. I was taking myself way too seriously.
Don’t set high expectations.
For me, taking things too personally was a result of expectations I had made. But when you’re going on a first date, especially when you barely know each other, your expectations shouldn’t be too high. Obviously, have expectations, and don’t stand for being walked all over, but maybe don’t expect someone who will take care of your cat when you’re out of town. Or whatever people in relationships do.
But as my friends reminded me after the date, the whole thing just… wasn’t that serious.
They were there to remind me that there are worse things in life than a bad date. So I’m sharing that reminder with all of you.