There are some essentials for dating that seem to be so obvious they should not need to be mentioned; however, it seems that lately there are a lot of people that have forgotten (or never learned) these basics. The result has been a lot of disappointment and frustration. It’s unfortunate that great candidates for dating have simply given up and feel that a positive dating experience is so elusive it is no longer worth the effort. I’m a firm believer in remaining optimistic in the dating arena. With just a few tweaks, it’s possible for more people to do better!
A recent viral Tik Tok video of the “green dress lady” on a first date at the Cheesecake Factory caught my attention. I am not aware of all the details of the date beyond what is shown in the short clip. I truly hope that it wasn’t typical of her usual first date experience. Not only was the date cut short, but she was also left looking foolish (in my opinion) and lost a perspective connection with a gentleman that appeared to be initially interested in her. What could have been a fun exciting time to get to know one another quickly devolved into a spectacle and fodder for the Internet. The video is a microcosm of how poor behavior, social media and inadequate dating skills can be disastrous. It’s frustrating to witness these situations. We must do better.
It’s easy to get discouraged and wonder how things can go so badly so quickly. Instead, let’s consider this a teachable moment to review some basic dating tips to improve the dating scene:
- Despite her date contacting her twice before the date and letting her know he would pick her up for their date at 4:00 p.m., Ms. Green Dress was an hour late. Her date arrived on time, yet she did not come down from her apartment to meet her date on time. She did not feel comfortable inviting her date up to her apartment to wait for her (understandably, since they did not know each other). She mentioned that her work took longer than she expected.
Be prompt: Time is a limited and valuable commodity. If someone has agreed to share some time with you, be appreciative and respectful of that time. Barring a true emergency, there is no acceptable excuse for being late. If there are extenuating circumstances that will prevent you from being on time, it is your responsibility to notify your date as soon as possible so that they may adjust their plans. If your date needs to reschedule, express your genuine understanding and be certain to apologize.
- Upon arriving at The Cheesecake Factory, the gentleman exited the car to open her car door and Ms. Green Dress locked the car doors and refused to get out of her date’s car. She began recording the moment on social media and expressed disappointment that the restaurant is a chain and not suited to her standards.
Be gracious: Keep in mind that you are never guaranteed that a date will go perfectly. This is especially the case on a first date when you are simply trying to get to know one another. In the event that you are not excited about the experience, you must remain gracious in your actions. Remember that your behavior reflects your character. If you cannot keep your attitude in check for a first date and have a mini tantrum because things aren’t going your way, can you really expect someone to want to continue spending time with you? If you are bothered by a restaurant choice, how will you manage the more difficult challenges that you might eventually face during a relationship? Consider if the issue is a true problem. If it is an actual dealbreaker, speak up and make your concerns known. If it is not that serious, make a mental note and decide if it is worth addressing or if it might prevent you from future dates. Whatever you decide, there is no reason to cause a scene or humiliate your date. Recording your criticisms of your date for public scrutiny is petty. If you are an influencer and feel the need to record your date, be courteous enough to ask your date’s permission in advance.
Side note: You do not need to record every moment of your dating life. In fact, it’s a great idea to put away your phone during your date so that you may be fully present during your date. If you absolutely must have your phone because of work or family emergencies, explain to our date in advance that you are expecting an important call. If the call happens during your date, step away and take the call but make it as brief as possible. Be sure to apologize for the interruption and keep the phone out of sight for the remainder of the date. If you have a true crisis to handle, cut the date short, sincerely apologize and ask if you can reschedule. Do not put your date in the uncomfortable position of having to compete for your attention with your phone and/ or social media audience.
- Throughout the interaction, Ms. Green Dress frequently mentioned her appearance and remained focused on her expectations on how her date should treat her. She lectured her date on his responsibility to “court” her and indicated that his plans were not to her standards.
Be Impressive: It is always important to put your best foot forward when dating. This includes your ability to be cooperative and impressive. On a first date, remaining flexible can make a difference between moving forward to a second date or never seeing each other again. If you are constantly complaining and acting self-absorbed, you are almost certainly going to turn off your date and limit your options for any potential dates in the future. Regardless of how you are dressed, how great you think you look or what your perceived status may be (a.k.a. celebrity/ social media influencer), you will never go wrong by behaving humbly and respectful. There is nothing wrong with expressing your expectations for your date, however, you should have this conversation prior to the actual date. If your date does not meet your standards, you do not have the right to be condescending. Simply make the most of the situation and determine if you would like to continue seeing this person or not. Ridiculing your date makes you seem inconsiderate and will not serve you well. It is easy to think that you are assessing your date’s qualities but don’t forget your date is also determining if you are impressive enough to continue dating.
There is no doubt that dating has its challenges. Yet, by keeping the basic principles of kindness, humility, and consideration in mind, it can be a much easier journey. It is unfortunate that there seems to be a lot of focus on bad dating behaviors. In reality, most people are just doing the best that they can in a situation that is not always intuitive for everyone. Others have become tolerant of bad dating behavior. Unfortunately, we have normalized some unacceptable extreme behaviors (for clicks, likes, and comments on social media) and suffer the consequences.
Whether you are new to dating, returning to dating after a long absence or an expert at dating, there are some basic concepts that will always make the experience worthwhile. Express your needs without being demeaning or disrespectful of others. Prioritize positivity—even the worse date has teachable moments and can offer lessons for the future. Remember who you are and what you stand for. Your behavior will determine what others think of you. The good impressions you make will not only enhance your overall experience but draw others to you.
If you have been on dates that do not meet your expectations and you feel like giving up, remember that there are lots of great people (like you!) that are looking for other great people. Some people simply have not learned the skills required to date successfully.
As the amazing Dr. Maya Angelou once said: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.”
If you recognize that you need help with your own dating skills, let’s work together. Contact me today to get started. Don’t give up.