How to Turn a Horrible Date Around

Chances are, you’re currently on a horrible date. You may be reading this from a bathroom stall, working up the nerve to return to your restaurant table. There is a possibility that your date won’t even be there when you get back. There is a possibility that you hope your date won’t even be there when you get back.

Don’t worry; we can fix this.

Even if it’s pretty confident that you’re not interested in this person anymore, you still want to try to have a good time tonight. Or, you may like this person, but things aren’t going as planned. Either way, nobody wants a bad date, and there are plenty of ways to improve your night.

Playing a game, trying a new activity, stimulating laughter, adding adrenaline, and asking more meaningful questions are great ways to restart a bad date.

Keep reading, and we will fix this together.

Play a Game

Playing a game on a date helps improve the mood and prompt conversation. A card game or board game is always a great fallback if you can’t find the right words to say. Question games are even better for a date because they help you get to know someone on a deeper level, as you should be trying to do tonight.

Change the Setting

Maybe it’s not you. Maybe it’s not them. There can be a million uncontrollable things that go wrong. Maybe the loud music is making it hard to talk. Possibly the silence is deafening in your apartment. Perhaps your date would feel more comfortable in a public setting, or maybe they would feel more comfortable in a private setting. It couldn’t hurt to try a new activity, even if it isn’t the original plan.

This strategy doesn’t work if you switch to a new movie in the same theatre. You should try something completely different. If you are at first awkwardly sitting across from each other in a restaurant, try laser tag instead. If you are at a friend’s party, why don’t you go for a walk in the park? Scrap the frozen yogurt for roller coasters. End your hike early and go to a comedy show. Paddleboard back to shore and get a sandwich. You might be surprised by how the mood can change when you change the setting.

Watch Something Funny

Laughter is the best medicine, and that principle holds true for reviving a sour date. If you can get them laughing, it will help them to open up. You’ll learn more about their sense of humor, too. Some of my most fun dates have been to comedy shows, and there is most likely at least one in your area. If not, plenty of funny, free media is at your disposal. Any Netflix comedy is likely a safe bet, and I highly recommend anything on the YouTube channel “Dry Bar Comedy.” You can watch on your phone, go back to your house and put it on the TV, or even listen in the car on the way to your next stop.

Add Adrenaline

It is a psychological fact that an adrenaline rush increases feelings of attraction(1). If you experience something unforgettable together, it can bond you to your date. While you should never force them to do something that they are not comfortable with, you should consider offering up date ideas that get the blood flowing. Skateboarding, roller coasters, cliff jumping, and even karaoke can spark attraction and turn this date around.

Ask More Meaningful Questions

Maybe all you need is to find a way to move past the small talk. You came here to get to know them, right? So take this opportunity to figure out who they are.

The New York Times offers “36 Questions that Lead to Love”. Try these questions out on your date:

If All Else Fails…

If you put in your best effort and the date is still a dud, you can still be glad that you finally have a great story to share the next time you get together with your friends. Don’t worry; bad dates are a part of life, and now you know more about the kind of person you don’t want to be with. Keep some perspective. In the words of Lorelai Gilmore, “Honey, you just have to relax because it’s just a date, and sometimes dates don’t go well.” You’ll get them next time!



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