Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ending on a Positive Note

Your job, when your date isn’t dazzled by you, is to listen gracefully and nondefensively and smile sweetly and make a swift exit as soon as the coast is clear. No need to prolong a bad date.
One of the biggest pitfalls to a date that feels like it’s heading downhill is the “snowball effect” — you sense something’s wrong, you panic, you clam up, you overreact, and it just makes matters worse. Suddenly, a not-great date is on its way to disasterville. If things are really awful, it makes more sense to call a polite and gentle halt rather than hurt someone’s feelings for hours or waste your time or your date’s time. It really is okay to say, “You don’t seem to be having a good time. Shall we just chalk this up to experience?” Be honest. ’Fess up. Stop the snowball before it becomes an avalanche and buries you both. Ignoring an overwhelming feeling; trying to hide, squash, cover up, or pretend it isn’t there; or wishing it weren’t there isn’t going to change the reality. You’re not responsible for your feelings, just your behavior. If you can gently acknowledge your feelings, you can deal with them. A lousy date isn’t a reason to inflict pain on either of you. It isn’t necessary to hang in there and finish what you started. It’s okay to say, “I think we should call it a night.” It’s also okay to use that universal come-down line almost all daters have heard at least once, “I think we should just be friends.” Not every couple has chemistry. That’s what dates are for — to find out. Hey, chemistry happens, or it doesn’t. It can’t be faked or manufactured. The feeling is out of your hands. If your date says he or she just doesn’t feel any chemistry between the two of you, don’t take it personally, but also don’t assume a few more hours will make a whole lot of difference. While it’s true that a deep love can develop slowly over time, this is a date, not an arranged marriage. Chemistry up-front is helpful on both sides for future promise; it gives you both motivation to explore further — unless it’s so overwhelming that you both ignore every other part of what might be going on between the two of you. Overwhelming initial passion can move you both at the speed of light past things you ought to be assessing slowly and carefully (see Chapter 21 on taking things slow). Don’t worry too much if you’re not turned on as long as you’re not turned off.

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