How Do I Get a Second Date if Our First Date Was Terrible?

Hi Evan. Recently I had a date with a guy in whom I was very interested... and I think I blew it! I had something shocking happen right before my date, and the stress took it's toll on my mood and my appearance, plus the lighting in the restaurant really made me look horrible. It's rare that I've been so attracted to a man so quickly, and I guess this made me doubly nervous, and I wasn't my normal self. Also, I am getting over the flu, and I gained 5 pounds and hadn't been working out for several weeks, so I felt very uncomfortable, and it showed. Nonetheless, we talked for 3 hours over dinner and for the most part, it was a lot of fun. Yet, I felt like his attention kept drifting to other people, particularly the attractive waitress, and I felt really diminished. And when the date was over it was like he couldn't wait to get out of there and he didn't walk me to my car. I was devastated. I don't think I'll ever hear from him again. So how does one handle this kind of situation? Is there any way to get another chance, or should I just let him go?

Thanks very much. –Jem

Dear Jem,

Give yourself a break, sweetie. This is par for the course in dating. It’s happened to pretty much every man and every woman out there, and we all managed to survive.

I remember a date I had in 2006 where we had great chemistry, but somewhere along the line, I lost my sense of playfulness. I remember my date teasing me about being a dating coach and I just became really serious and earnest.

I could see her attraction drain from her body, and I spent the rest of the night scrambling, to no avail.

Once you put a man up on a pedestal, he’s immediately looking down at you.

There was no convincing her that she was wrong – because she wasn’t wrong. I acted like a needy dork and I paid the price.

There would be no second date for me – the confident and irrepressible dating coach.

I wrestled with my embarrassment, beat myself up for a week, and went back to the drawing board.

I met my wife a few months later.

So instead of wondering how you can get another chance or what you can do to make him forget what he experienced, how about you change focus here?

What are you going to do to make sure that the next time you meet an attractive guy, you don’t act like a Nervous Nellie?

At this point, I only think it’s appropriate to cite Alison Armstrong, who says that when you have a “10” chemistry with a man... run in the opposite direction. For the very reason you stated, Jem. You can’t be yourself around him. You’re not comfortable. You’re not confident. You’re not relaxed or funny or even particularly likeable.

So you’re faced with two choices: either choose to date men who you can be yourself around, without losing your cool... or learn to treat hot guys the way you treat regular guys.

See, this is what I call The Pedestal Principle – which I first wrote about in Finding the One Online: “Once you put a man up on a pedestal, he’s immediately looking down at you.”

Same way YOU’D feel if some strange guy acted all weird and nervous and told you that you were the most beautiful woman in the world and that he hopes you like him and that he knows he’s being a little weird tonight, but he’s not normally like this, and are you enjoying your food, because from that look on your face, it’s kind of hard to tell, and I’m putting my foot in my mouth right now, aren’t I?

Doesn’t mean this guy isn’t the best person in the whole world. Just means that he’s not going to get a second date with you.

The next time you’re with a cute guy, try treating him like your best girlfriend. You know, the one you can say anything to? The one who loves you unconditionally and laughs at all your silly jokes? The one who never judges you and makes you feel amazing?

Around her, you’re confident. You’re not worried if she’s going to like you, or if she’s going to still be friends with you in two hours.

Men and women are both suckers for confidence. If you have it, most guys will want to see you again. If you don’t, very few men will.

It’s not much more complicated than that.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    AllenB

    his attention kept drifting to other people, particularly the attractive waitress, and I felt really diminished. And when the date was over it was like he couldn’t wait to get out of there and he didn’t walk me to my car.


    @OP Don’t forget, you are checking out him as much as he is checking out you on a date. He should have remained focused on you having a good time and making you feel cared about and safe regardless of how bad your day was! He will make a horrible partner. How will he treat you when you are low after being laid off, or if both of your parents die within six months of one another? Maybe he will have an affair.  Maybe not, but I doubt he will put much effort into being supportive.
    He failed to demonstrate compassion and integrity regardless of how his date was feeling. Maybe he was having a bad day too. You can keep rationalizing and you can stay hooked on him, or look at all the evidence and make yourself ready to let go of it.

    1. 1.1
      Shawn

      Dude, it’s not a marriage… It’s a first date. A meet up to decide if you enjoy the person’s company and could be friends, potentially more. If she didn’t want to be there then he could probably sense it. So why would he make more of an attempt to focus on her than he already has? She already knew the guy so she probably felt safe the entire time.

  2. 2
    Christina

    Evan’s right- this has probably happened to just about everyone. After beating up on yourself a bit, it’s best just to move on. Even if he gave you another chance, you’d probably be even more nervous. 

    In future, it’s probably best to remember that even great initial attraction or chemistry doesn’t mean a whole lot in the long run. And as Evan says, if this really gets in the way of you being yourself and having a good time, avoid these guys until you can not lose your cool around them. Even super-hot guys are just people- they’re not better than you. They’re just hot. 🙂 

  3. 3
    Jen

    Jen, while it’s understandable to want to beat yourself up, it only serves to make you feel all the more devastated and rejected. Things happen in life that are sometimes beyond our control, and you did your best to make the most of your date. So hold your head high and quietly let him go. Do not judge yourself or your dating life based on this incident, as that will only serve to compound any negativity you may feel. And BTW, a true gentleman would have escorted you to your car, regardless of his attraction level toward you, and wished you a safe ride home and a good night. Something tells me that all that glitters was not gold with the guy.

  4. 4
    DinaStrange

    I had a similar experience. I met someone and the chemistry was crazy. He also had some of the qualities i was looking for and guess what. I made a major mistake. I put him on a pedestal. It was me who should have been there, not him. Well, the result was expected. He actually did think he deserved something better. What is even worse, than person is going to come back, but considering how he behaved when i was at my weakest, i doubt i will take him back.

    Lesson learned, never let anyone to think they are better than you are. 

  5. 5
    moe

    You guys talked for 3 hours! on the first date, 3 HOURS? I think he must have liked you enough to let it go on for that long. Hey, it doesnt hurt to wait and see if he contacts you again of course.

    Never contact him first, but definitely dont write him off just yet. Maybe he’ll contact you on his own terms.

  6. 6
    Ruby

    moe #5

    I once spent 3 hours chatting with a man over coffee on a first date. I also assumed he was interested, but at the end of the date, he let me know that he had no romantic interest. He was attractive, but not hot, btw. He also checked out the waitress, as well as other women. It didn’t bother him to blow an afternoon having a pleasant chat; obviously, he had nothing better to do.  

    An important aspect of dating is being able to read the other person’s signals. Whether the guy was a “10” or a “5” is immaterial; he just wasn’t into Jem, and a man who makes you feel “diminished” right off the bat isn’t the right one for you. I doubt all the external factors she’s concerned about made any real difference.

  7. 7
    Nicole

    @Moe (and Ruby),
    I agree…someone can enjoy your conversation even if they know they never want to see you naked…not everyone is going to run away from a date even if they don’t want another one.  And I think some people have said that they’ve wound up being friends with people with whom they shared to spark.  So there is that incentive if you are so inclined.

    I wouldn’t read too much into a good conversation other than that it was a good conversation.

    I’m not sure why people think that is a sign of anything other than perhaps two talkative people who have a lot to say.   

  8. 8
    kdr

    “. . . some strange guy acted all weird and nervous and told you that you were the most beautiful woman in the world and that he hopes you like him and that he knows he’s being a little weird tonight, but he’s not normally like this, and are you enjoying your food, because from that look on your face, it’s kind of hard to tell, and I’m putting my foot in my mouth right now, aren’t I?”
    Ha! I immediately thought of that scene in the movie “Swingers” where the Jon Favreau character leaves a series of voice messages on the answering machine of a girl he’d met that night in a bar; the messages gradually increasing in their cringe-inducing-ness until  . . . well, you have to rent the movie.


    1. 8.1
      andrew

      I just had a bad first date, and I saw this post, so I went to watch the movie Swingers, and had a blast.  Felt better.  So funny when you know exactly how the characters in the movie feel.  I was that guy who left vomit-inducing texts to a girl, and realized what I’d done only too late.  I won’t get a second date.  But hey, live and learn, and move on.

  9. 9
    Zann

    I agree with Nicole and Ruby about 3 hours of conversation not being an indicator of anything. Some people just really like to engage. And some people just really, REALLY like to hear themselves talk.

    From your description of his behavior, I’m thinking you dodged a bullet with this one. There are always exceptions, of course, but I continue to believe that any guy who cannot restrain himself from overtly ogling other woman when he’s supposed to be focusing on getting to know me is a guy I don’t want a second date with. The same goes for not walking you to your car. I mean, really? He can’t take an extra 3 minutes to accompany you to your car? He’s either arrogant and assumes his time is way too valuable to waste on being considerate, or he’s clueless. Or both. Either way, and his hotness notwithstanding, there are better men out there waiting to meet you have yet to meet.  Don’t waste another minute fretting over this one. Best of luck.

  10. 10
    henriette

    Who’s Alison Armstrong and why should I care what she thinks?  Whoever she is, I happen to agree with her…

  11. 11
    sarahrahrah!

    I, too, have been in this position and have felt that a first date with match with potential  was ended because I was not at my best.
    My new strategy is to postpone a date with a promising guy if I’m “off.”  My rationale for doing this is that if a guy is interested in you, he is likely to be understanding if you have to postpone plans (with an adequate warning and explanation).  However, I only have one chance to make a first impression.  Therefore, he may be a little put off with me having to reschedule a date, but may be more than willing to overlook this if we have a great time and he finds me attractive.  On the other hand, if I rush over to meet him for a lunch hour date when I’m in the middle of an office remodel and I’m covered in dirt and look atrocious, it won’t matter if I was on time or not. 
    Like it or not, first impressions matter and I’m starting to realize the importance of making a good one when dating.  Hopefully Jem will give herself permission to take a rain check in the future if the timing of the date doesn’t allow her to put her best foot forward.

  12. 12
    SalsaQ

    The degree to which first impressions matter speaks to the quality of the man in question. It is naive to assume they don’t matter at all, but if you are dismissed solely because you were in a somewhat bad mood or you couldn’t get the top up on your convertible, what are the chances of a relationship with that man surviving the long haul?

    1. 12.1
      EthanFairview

      And if the circumstances were reversed in the story you’d be advising she never see that slob again

  13. 13
    Still-Looking

    SalsaQ @12 – your hair is a mess, your clothes are soaking wet, and you have a broken heel b/c your car broke down 3 blocks from the restaurant — I’m going to be impressed that you still showed up and very impressed if you are able to laugh it off.  It would show some very admirable traits.

    If, on the other hand, you show up with perfect make-up and impeccably dressed but in a foul mood, for reasons unknown to me, then I’m going to be turned off.  A person is judged, like it or not, on primarily two criteria during a first date — appearance and personality.  Regardless of attractiveness, if a woman’s personality isn’t appealing then why in the world would I ask her out again on a hope and a hunch that she was just having a bad day?  If I’m rude to the waiter 3 times during the evening are you going to give me a second chance?  Most people I know are polite and pleasant regardless of what else might be going on in their lives. 

  14. 14
    SalsaQ

    @Still-looking  When I am rude for reasons unknown to you you don’t ask me out again. It is on me to make it known why I am quiet, or terse, and can be apologetic about it.  If I don’t explain that is on me, and you can discount me. When I do explain, a compassionate and understanding man is supportive and maybe I will ease up.  I have dated men who spent time with me anyway when I was in an awful mood, and they listened, and were sympathetic, maybe brought a little fun into the outing anyway, won gold stars, and asked me out again.
     
    That is the kind of man I want to be with. Not one that puts up with me being nasty all the time, but one who understands and sympathizes when it has been a tough day/week/month and supports me like I will do to him.

  15. 15
    Nicole

    Whether it is a date or an interview, sometimes the first impression is the only one that matters, and if you blow it, you don’t get a second chance at bat.  
    Maybe they would have liked you/hired you on your best day, but there is no way to get past the bad first meeting. 

  16. 16
    SalsaQ

    Suppose you are at your best for every first, second and third and fourth date.  Suppose he never sees you down or angry or less than your best until date five?  Would you rather find out then he will not put up with anything besides your most cheerful and together self, or would you rather find out on date one?
     
    Be real
    to thyself be true
    to learn
    if he loves
    the real you.

  17. 17
    Michael17

    Sarahrahrah! #11: I would say that you need to be careful with the rescheduling option. There is a chance that the guy might think you are blowing him off, and even if he completely understands, there is always a chance that the date might not  happen. I mean, you both might not be free until a week out, and well, a lot can happen in a week. He might go on a great date with someone in the meanwhile.

    I agree with Still-Looking #13. If a date had car trouble or some other obstacle but she still found a way to make the date nonetheless–both physically and mentally, I would be truly impressed. Even if he looked a tad disheveled. You see, this is your chance to really make the effort for us and stand out without coming across as smothering.

     

  18. 18
    JB

    Well I think this may be pertinent in this thread  but it’s actually a sequel to my story in the thread “Falling In Love: It Happens Faster You Think” where I met the woman from Match had what was in my mind an amazing 3 hr date. We made a follow up date but she canceled because she met someone else on the site she had a “connection” with (and took down her profile for btw) but she said we could still hang out if I wanted. Where upon I politely thanked her and declined and told her to concentrate on her new guy and if it didn’t work out to let me know….yadda yadda yadda…..
    Well the next day I thought about it and I emailed her to just call her bluff and see if she WAS just saying it etc….. I thanked her for being honest and said sure I’d like to hang out if she wanted because I loved talking with her because it really was effortless and enjoyable. Never thinking she actually would because I thought she was “just saying it to be nice”. Low and behold 3 days later I get a text asking me if I want to hang out. To make a long story short she canceled that one but we met a week later (after I initiated) for a burger and she insisted on picking up the check. After another hour of what I consider great conversation she said she was going home to “watch TV”??? She gave me the “friend hug” goodbye before I walked her to her car. Niether of us has contacted each other since then 11 days ago. I’m still trying to figure out why a woman who just met someone she liked enough to take her profile down for would need or want to hang out with me one more time (4 weeks later) AND pick up the check?? No, I didn’t ask her…lol I felt like saying “what are we doing here?” But really I don’t have to be Greg Behrendt (or you Evan) to know “She’s just not that into me”….lol

  19. 19
    kenley

    @18 JB

    I think she hung out with you because she likes you — as a friend.  She paid because she wanted to make it clear to you that the two of you weren’t on a date, you were just spending time with a friend.   

    She also may have hung out with you because she wanted to enjoy the company of a man without the pressure of dating.  Things may not have worked out with the other guy but she probably didn’t want to tell you that because she doesn’t see a romantic future with you and letting you know that she’s back on the market might get your hopes up. 

     

  20. 20
    K

    I agree with Kenley.  If I could have hung out as friends with the last several guys I ended things with I would have (and paid).  I enjoyed their company, but didn’t want to date them.  I didn’t though raise that issue with them.  And who knows maybe something could have developed in a non-pressure hanging out environment.  Unfortunately after a few dates if I can’t get the right vibe I don’t like to lead people on.

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