Saturday, July 31, 2010

All the right moves

The day after a so-so date can be confusing. Do you call? Do you sit tight? Apologize? Swear you’ll never wear that puce pantsuit again? Knowing precisely when to be passive and when to charge is hard. My general rule is this:
If your date derailed because of something you said or did, call and apologize. Everyone makes dumb mistakes. Everyone understands. It’s saying nothing that leaves a bad taste with everyone.
If, on the other hand, your date just didn’t sizzle like you hoped it would for some reason you can’t pin down, let time shed a little light on the situation. Don’t call the next day (or that night). In fact, don’t call at all until you’re sure of these three things:

_ You want a second date because you like the person, not just because you want to make sure they like you.
_ You’ve identified what you may do differently next time, like relax, go to a place where you can talk, not bring your mother, and so on.
_ You’re not feeling so guilty and responsible that your second date becomes a “make-up” date instead of a second chance to get to know one another.

Valium for the soul

Often, when things don’t quite go as well as they could on a date, the reason is nerves. Nerves make you laugh too hard or too little, pre-judge every word you utter, or beat yourself up for every little faux pas. Your date was likely nervous, too. It’s hard to be charming when your date is tense. It’s also hard to put someone else at ease when you’re stiff and uncomfortable.
When you get home from a so-so date:
1. Sit down in a comfy chair.
2. Shut your eyes.
3. Take five deep breaths in through your nose, out through your mouth.
4. Visualize your date floating up and out of your consciousness like a soft, fluffy cloud.
5. Repeat after me:

I am not perfect.
I don’t need to be perfect to be loved.
This was only one date.
There will be another date.
Next time I will feel safe enough to reveal more of myself.

Restoring your confidence

The worst side effect of a rotten date is the potential for ego devastation. How can you hop back on the horse when your date said you looked, acted, and brayed like one? What you may need the day after the date from hell is a real confidence booster. Even if you have to work the next day, set aside at least a teeny bit of time to do something you know you do well. Some possibilities are (this is also a good list to keep in mind if your date was so-so or even fabulous — or even if you’ve just resigned from dating forever):

  • Get outside and take a walk or go golfing (even if it’s miniature) or hiking or climb a mountain (even if it’s a molehill).
  • Get some exercise — you’ll liberate endorphins, the feel-good chemicals.
  • Make a gourmet meal.
  • Make your mom laugh.
  • Teach your old dog a new trick.
  • Impress your boss.
  • Eat chocolate.
  • Call a friend.
  • Splurge on a magazine, CD, or book.

Whatever you do, make sure it’s life-affirming, fun, and filling — as in filling you up with pride. Then forget all about your lousy date and look forward to the next great one.