I think everyone has that one person in his or her life—be it a parent, sibling, friend, or even messy next-door neighbor—that firmly believes singleness (singledom, bachelorism, or whatever you prefer to call it) is the devil incarnate or a dreaded curse. And those people have created those super awkward moments where our married friends felt it is their God-given duty to pair off all of their single friends to any other single being—be it derelict, degenerate, hologram, or creature of the night. I mean, as long as the person breathes, the person is considered a suitable candidate. Sometimes, these friends and relatives are overt and pester you into going on the date while others are quite sneaky in their fix-ups. Sometimes, these events go well. Oftentimes—and I dare guess more time than not—they skyrocket straight south, do not pass go, and do not collect two hundred dollars. And since frequently one finds himself/herself unable to avoid these blind date situations, here are some tips on how to create a successful blind date.
- Ignore what Nike says and don’t do it. Don’t go. Grab your most comfortable pair of pajamas, favorite snacks, and hop on your couch for a night of Netflix or Redbox instead. You will be doing yourself a favor.
- Don’t wait until the day of the date for the first real contact. (This only works if you have advance warning and not faced with an ambushed blind date). Call, text, or email the person several days before the date to chitchat and get a feel for the person. Doing this may alleviate some awkward moments during the date. Many times, setting up a blind date involves knowing only the time and place of the meet-up. And sometimes, not even that much. For example, although I try my darndest to be on time, I find that I’m either very early or moderately late. Rarely, am I on time. Now, there is a litany of reasons for this which I will not discuss. The point is people who know me well know this about me. However, chances are, they would not pass this information along to others who do not know me as well. This can lead to bad or erroneous first impressions. Therefore, this is something that I warn people if I’m to meet them. Now some people would argue I should just call the person and inform them that I’m running late in these instances, and sometimes, I do. But if I’m driving, I may not have hands-free calling available to me.
- If the date is a double date, be sure the couple you’re doubling with are people you want to double with. For example, some matchmakers think it’s cute or funny to spend the entire night telling embarrassing stories about one or both of the people that they have been matched up. Now, I like to convince myself that I have a petty awesome since of humor, and I most definitely can poke fun at myself. In fact, I do it better than any other person can. However, some past events or situations, I don’t find funny. For example, there was a time that an elder made what I considered quite a rude comment about me in front of a much older sibling. My sibling laughed. Being the age that I was and taught to respect elders. Therefore, I said nothing in defense. My sibling later repeated the incident to my parents who responded with a mixture of humor and approval. Externally, I appeared to roll with the flow, but in actuality, I internally imploded in a shatter of my self-esteem. It became a pivotal moment in my life, and to this day, I do not look back on the incident with a fondness. In fact, it conjures up feelings of resentment because as an adult, I’m now able to have a voice to rectify the situation. I felt powerless then, and to a certain degree, that continues to be the case. Why? Because I’m unable to address the persons who are involved as they are no longer in my life (either I’ve lost contact or deceased). As far as my sibling goes, he does not mention it, likely because it was so insignificant to him that he’s forgotten. Furthermore, I’ve moved on and do not dwell on it. That being said, there are times when something triggers the memory, and I can see my sibling mentioning sometimes like that in a trip down memory lane, not even knowing it would bother me. Now, have I ever brought it to my sibling’s attention? No, and that was my decision to let bygones be bygones. The point of this tale is when doubling be sure it is with people who have your back and not going to slash open (either on purpose or inadvertently) old wounds.
- Co-plan the date with your blind plus-one. Be an active participant in what will happen for the night. And since I seem to be on a roll using my life as personal examples, let me toss another one out there. I’m allergic to seafood. One of the worse evenings I could have is going to a seafood restaurant. I have friends who are vegetarians who have been taken to places that only have meat option entrees. Another friend told a horror story (literally) of being taken to a horror movie festival (which she detests that genre) and having nightmares for days. Sometimes, a bad date isn’t about the person but the activity.
- Plan to pay. This goes along with the previous tip. No one ever wants to talk about financials of dating. I will admit, I’m pretty old-fashioned in many things. However, when it comes to who pays for what, I do not think the man should automatically be expected to pay. I do believe that the person who asks the other person out should be the one to pay, but since in many instances women still wait for the man to do it, the cost would fall on him. Let me be blunt. Times are tough for a lot of people. The cost of living is high. Finances can be a struggle. People may want to go out and have a great date but simply can’t afford it. I dined out with friends for lunch and with only vegetable sides, my bill was close to twenty bucks. Putting things in perspective, if I went out three times in a week at twenty dollars plus the same for a date, that’s over a hundred dollars. Even if this was spread out over a month, a hundred dollars could be groceries or electric bills. But most dates would far exceed that. (And yes, I am cheap.) Yet, this is not the only reason I say plan to pay. Some dates skip out on the bill. So, if you go to that five-star restaurant and your date goes to the restroom but never returns, you could be stuck with paying for the steak and champagne dinner. In romcoms, this may be a cringy laughable scene. It’s not so funny when it’s your bank account that’s drained. Planning the evening allows you to have an estimation of how much cash you need available.
- If you’re going to go, be into it. Don’t drag yourself out if you’re dog-tired and won’t be able to enjoy yourself. Even if the blind date is someone who you could be interested in, your mind may be too slow to appreciate him/her, or he/she may get vibes that you’re not into him/her. Even if you tell the person you’re tired, they may think you’re being polite in blowing them off.
- Wear comfortable shoes and underwear. There is nothing that can sour a date faster than wearing shoes that pinch your toes or drawers that give you wedgies. It’s not going to be a fun night (unless you’re into pain).
- If you’ve never laid eyes on each other, be sure to give unmistakable indications of how to identify each other. I knew someone who intentionally would give a slightly wrong description of self and then arrive early to scope out his date. If he didn’t like her appearance, he’d casually stroll past her and into the sunset. Personally, I view that as a crappy and cowardly thing to do and told him so. A few ways to address this issue is to share a picture.
Here’s an aside. When I was younger and dating, men would ask me why I wouldn’t send them photos. Well, because I know how some people are with making memes, sharing it with their friends for commentary, and possibly other illicit things. Okay, buckle up for a grown person ditty. So, I knew this guy who constantly badgered me for a photo (not dirty ones). Now, this was someone who knew what I looked like.
Selfies in a mirror have never been a thing. And I’m not fool enough to believe the majority of photos on Instagram haven’t been photoshopped, edited, or taken a gazillion times before posted. But this person was insistent—if not daily, then weekly. And my response was always the same: I’ll take a photo when I get ready. Finally, I was at some event, and my friends and I snapped a few photos and I sent him one. Then, it began. He claimed not to have gotten it. I resent. He claimed not to have gotten it again. This continued for a while until I gave up. I told him since he apparently couldn’t receive them, I wasn’t going to waste any more time trying. He stopped asking for a while but soon began again. I thought, well if he didn’t get the first one, I’d make another attempt. So, I sent another. He got it this time. (I later realized why.) Then, sometime later, he claimed something happened to his phone, and he lost all his photos and wanted more pictures. In the meantime, he’d complained that the lighting was too dark or the distance was too far or that it was facial shot or there were too many other people in the photo. That’s when he slipped.
He mentioned that I had resent him the “same photo—” one that he previously had claimed he didn’t receive. And then it all made sense. He was racking up photos. To me, this made him creepy and a liar. He’d stopped lying about not receiving them because he realized I would refuse to send any. Of course, busted him about the like this, and he tried to do some back-peddling until finally, he couldn’t. I pointed out that I’d never asked him to send photos of himself (although he sometimes did) and I never once claimed I didn’t get them or that they were out of focus (which they often were).
Now, I don’t know what he was doing with all those photos, and frankly, I don’t think I want to know. The moral of this story is to be cautious when texting out photos (even to people who you know) as a mean of clearly identifying each other. As I mentioned, none of the pictures I sent were remotely provocative and easily be used for a DMV photo.
- Don’t kill the date before it happens. Keep an open mind. The person may surprise you. Even if you don’t’ find a love connection, you may find a great new friend.
- Keep your bestie (if this isn’t the person who set you up) on standby to provide you an excuse to exit. Personally, I think this is a bit chicken. The best approach is to admit politely that you’re not enjoying yourself and would like to end the date early. And you don’t have to make up a reason as to why you’re ending the date (unless it truly is trivial and you’re being a jerk). You can inform the person that the two of you don’t seem to have enough in common or that his/her views on some matters are in conflict with yours and it’s not something that the two of you will be able to overcome.
- Prepare a list of topics to discuss but don’t present them as a job interview. Having a list will keep the conversation going, especially if you find not to share many common interests.
- Avoid politics, religion, and exes. This goes without saying but so many people do it anyway. It may lead to disagreement from the start. Some people will argue it is better to discuss it on the first date and get it out of the way before investing in that person. Unless these things are super important, they can wait. I have friends and coworkers that we disagree on many of these issues. We don’t discuss them, and our relationships work fine.
- Brush your teeth before going on a date. Having bad breath is a mood killer. If there’s no time to brush because you’re going straight from work to the date, invest in breath mints.
- Don’t get lit at the bar before your date arrives. This may be tempting, but don’t do it.
- Keep your eyes in your head. This is likely mostly a tip for the men but women are guilty, too. Respect the person you are with for the time you are with him/her and don’t look at other men or women.
- Leave your vicious pets at home. If you are the pet owner whose animal is likely to maul a person, do not suggest having your animals having a play date in the park as your date. This is not going to end well and could lead to a lawsuit. Keep your sanity and your money and avoid doing this.
- Go to a sporting event. If your date turns out to be a dud, you can turn your attention to the game and not the date.
- Carry a bottle of gas relief. Don’t get stuck having the first leg of the date eating at a place that the food disagrees with him/her (or you). The remainder of the date may not smell so good.
- Have a backup plan if the initial date arrangements fall through. For example, if the date is to see view an outside concert but thunderstorms roll into the area, have an alternative location that the date can take place.
- And if all else fails, get better friends and avoid family, and you won’t have to worry or experience any anxiety about blind dates at all.
And that’s all the tips I have. I hope they’ve been helpful or, at least, provided some comic relief. But I’m interested in knowing what tips you may have to make a blind date successful. Leave a comment below.
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