February 28, 2022

No "Bad" Dates

As a Jewish matchmaker, my life revolves around singles and dating. No joke. I’m truly a workaholic and rarely give myself time off of any kind. Always focused on making matches and encouraging my clients to be open-minded and adventurous, I get very frustrated when I see self-sabotaging behaviors.

One of the most glaring of these behaviors is the reluctance of singles to take the crucial step of meeting in person - otherwise known as “a date”. I wrote my perspective on why singles are not dating in my previous post and I encourage you to read it. This post could be considered a follow-up to that one, though the main focus is different.

The singles who are going out on dates, frequently express their disappointment and frustration at what they consider to be the low quality of the people they are meeting. For many, a handful of “bad” dates is enough to turn them off of dating entirely. I get that it’s not fun to start the evening all gussied up and optimistic about this new person only to be turned off by bad grooming, bad manners, negative energy, or otherwise poor behavior. And it’s easy to get discouraged and down when your social life seems to be one bad date after another with no prince or princess charming in sight. Regardless, I’m claiming there is no such thing as a “bad” date. (I’m not talking about the minority of dates that lead to sexual abuse. That happens, but that is not the norm or the topic of this post. I’m talking about the standard disappointing date that gets labeled as “bad”.)

Many singles approach dating like they are interviewing a candidate for a job opening, and the position they are seeking to fill is the “job” of being their partner. Could there be a more boring way to think of dating? And how about the one being interviewed? I’m sure you’ve been on dates like that - do you leave feeling invigorated, stimulated, connected? More likely you leave feeling like the person you’ve spent the past few hours with was sizing you up, evaluating, and judging you.

No wonder everyone is bored to tears with dating!

Instead of seeing dating as the tedious, time consuming, and inevitable chore that one has to endure to find “the one”, let dating be your classroom. Let this stranger sitting across from you be the teacher. Every person is a brand new subject, every date is a brand new lesson; no two are the same. 

Right now you are going on dates like someone who is hungry - hungry for love, hungry for attention, hungry for togetherness. It’s a very needy scenario. You date with a needy mindset. It’s not very attractive. Stop with the neediness, stop with the interviews, stop with the long list of must-haves. Lead with the enthusiasm of a student on the first day of school in a class of their favorite subject. Embrace dating! Embrace the entire experience - even the inevitable disappointments!

Have fun with dating. Dare to be your boldest, most authentic self on a date. Leave your fears and baggage at home.

You meet the date and right away know that you’re not interested? Great! Now you don’t have to try to impress anyone - you can just be yourself - or be someone else, if you want. Try on a different persona for the night. If you’re usually quiet and a good listener - dominate the conversation for a change. Did your date choose an activity you have no interest in? Well, get interested! At least this one time. Does your date have a different political stance? Don’t get confrontational and push your perspective, get curious and find out what appeals to your date about that party/candidate. Is your date talking about his ex all night? Meet the challenge by sharing the worst qualities of your ex.

What I’m saying is, experiment a bit, be playful. Come out of your comfort zone. You might end the evening with a different perspective, a new hobby, or a character trait that you didn’t realize you had. The more you experiment with yourself on dates, the more you will learn about yourself and the more comfortable you will become with yourself.

Even “bad” dates can be positive. They can even be fun. It all depends on your attitude. You can choose to be offended, or disappointed, or appalled by your date - or you can choose to have fun with what otherwise might be a lousy evening.

You might actually start looking forward to them.