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Do We Go Out Again After a ‘Meh’ First Date?
By Erika Ettin
I once received this all-too-common question from a client: “What is the value of spending the time and money on a second date if I wasn’t blown away on the first date?” In other words, when should you ask out or agree to a second date when the first date was just ‘meh’?
When It’s Worth It To try
I told him, as I’ll tell you, the question of whether or not to take someone on a second date if you weren't enthralled on the first really depends. Sometimes it’s very clear one way or the other — you either have a spark or there’s no way you could see this person again for one reason or another. If, however, you think there might be some connection, but you have to get to know the person better to find out, it's definitely worth the second date. Remember that people are not always themselves on the first date.
Often, people reason that they should forgo the second date for fear that they’re going to “lead the other person on”, making him or her think that this might be the beginning of a relationship when, in fact, the next date would be “just to see” if there’s any potential. Isn’t the whole point of dating to see if you’re compatible with someone? And keep in mind that a “date” means nothing more than simply meeting again.
To show an illustration, ten years ago (boy, does that make me sound old!), I went on a first date with someone I met on a sports team. He seemed like a good guy, so I agreed to meet him for dinner… perhaps my first mistake. I like to think I can talk to a broccoli stalk if I have to, but in this case, it was tough. There were silences. Many of them. Awkward ones. When the date ended, I thought to myself, “Nice enough, kind of boring. I don’t think I’m into him.” Interestingly enough, match.com actually says that boring first dates can actually be a good thing!
The Pressure Of The First Date
I thanked him the next day via email (which I do recommend — over email or text — if you’re interested, and in this case, I erred on the side of being nice). After a few quick, and surprisingly witty, emails, he asked me out again. I paused. No, I didn’t have a great time on the first date. Yes, I could have one more conversation with him, which is the question I suggest using to determine whether to go on a second date. I figured it couldn’t hurt “just to see.” Something happened on that second date. This guy was funny. And charming. And, wouldn’t you know it, cute. It turns out he was just nervous — very nervous — on that first date, which he told me much later. We ended up dating for a year and a half, all because I gave Mr. Meh another chance.
Back to my client’s original question…
Remember that you don’t have to make any real decisions after date #1, like what kind of wedding china you’re going to buy or whether you both want to have children in the next three (or ten) years. Heck, to his concern about money, you don’t even have to spend a dime on that second date if you don’t want to! There are plenty of fun activities out there — hiking, biking, going to a playground, volunteering — that don’t require large amounts (or any) financial investment.
So now, simply ask yourself this question after a ‘meh’ date: Do I want to have another conversation with this person? If the answer might be yes, you have nothing to lose (except maybe an hour or two of your time) by giving it another shot, and you have everything to gain.
If you think you still need to get some dating practice, then check out this article to read the benefits of trying your hand at online dating.