Amelia Olson
November 26, 2014 8:56 am

Most of us have more bad date stories than good date stories. It’s true the joining of two random, hopeful and nervous people can make even the best of us act like total freaks. If you’re hopelessly (and occasionally delusionally) romantic like I am, then every first date bares the potential to be life-shaking, heart-pumping, magically vibrant and illuminated. So it’s a helluva bummer when your once maybe future life partner turns out to be a total jerk. Goodbye mason jars full of crushed flowers, pillow talk and unbearable closeness to another soul. And hello OMG deep disappointment.

Even if monogamy isn’t your thing, and you’re just hoping to meet someone somewhat normal to spend time with, it’s still a stab at the heart when your date reveals him or herself to be the worst match for you.

A bad date can leave you feeling skeptical of humanity, and wary of future dates to come. And while there’s no guarantee your date won’t be icky, never forget that you’re the captain of your own ship and you deserve respect, even if you’re not having a great time. So if you find yourself on an awful date, and god I hope you don’t, but if you do, remember these five things:

THE DATE ENDS WHEN YOU WANT IT TO

It’s true that we ought to be kind to the people around us, even weird dates. But being kind does not entail jeopardizing your safety or suffering through someone’s meanness. You have the absolute right to end a date, at any point, for any reason, you feel necessary. You do not owe your date your company if you’re uncomfortable or feel unsafe.

EVERYONE ACTS A LITTLE GOOFY WHEN THEY’RE NERVOUS

When we are nervous we act like real freaks sometimes. When I am nervous I am uncharacteristically sarcastic and my left hand shakes. IRL I’m not that sarcastic and my left hand generally doesn’t shake, but my first date has no way of knowing that. Remind yourself before you meet your date that both of you are probably nervous. Take a deep breath and be yourself. People are critical of the advice to “be yourself” but being yourself is all you have. You are you, and anyone who dates you and cares for you should care for you and who you are.

NO ONE SHOULD MAKE YOU FEEL SMALL

I dated a guy briefly who always patronized me. In his mind, I think, he thought he was being flirtatious or cute. Really he was just demeaning and uncomfortable with being around powerful women. He would always refer to my writing as “cute” or make little jabs at “blogging” as though it was a silly hobby, instead of an actual career path. Um, ew, no. No one should ever belittle your goals or your interests. If they don’t like the same thing, no big deal. But if they continue to find ways to degrade your interests or career, they’re jerks and you’re better off leaving that date ASAP. You do you, girl.

YOU DON’T OWE ANYONE ANYTHING

Going on a date with someone only means you’ve agreed to go on a date with someone. It does not mean you are consenting to feeling bad, feeling pressured, or obligated to do anything at all that makes you feel uncomfortable. Did she/he pay? Doesn’t matter. Dinner does not mean obligation, in any context, and you reserve the right to participate in your date in whatever way you feel comfortable. I’ve been guilted on dates before. Pressured into doing things I didn’t want to do, because someone bought me a $10 dinner. Don’t fall for that. You’re the boss of you.

YOU ARE WONDERFUL

Really. The world’s always, like, “WHAT!? YOU’RE NOT MARRIED?!” Yeah whatever, world. First of all, not everyone want’s to get married. Secondly, not everyone is legally able to get married (WTF, WORLD?) and lastly, it’s really admirable to take your time and make sure you are with a partner that honors you and loves you in the ways you wish to be loved and honored. Don’t ever lose sight of how wonderful you are, even if cuddles seem more important in the moment. You deserve the best. Period.

Now go out on that date, enjoy yourself and be brave! And these reminders apply to so many aspect of your life, not just dates!

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