What You Can Learn from a Bad Date

Nope. Swipe left. Nope. Swipe left. Absolutely not. Swipe left.

After frustratingly swiping left on what seemed like the entire population of my city, I came across a man who seemed . . . okay. Nothing about him really stood out to me, but I didn’t have any red flags either, so in a fit of the blues I decided to go with it. Swipe right. We matched.

We made plans to meet up the following week at a coffee shop down the street from my house. I went through my usual ritual of getting ready for a date, but I wasn’t feeling too excited. Was I leading him on? Was I leading myself on? I thought as I drove down the street and sat waiting for him by the front window of the coffee shop.

When he showed up we greeted each other cordially. I can remember what he looked like and what he was wearing, but after that everything is a blur. Here’s why: He did nothing but complain for the entirety of our time together. We began with small talk, but he quickly transitioned into what was happening in politics at the time.  He then proceeded to tell me everything that he disagreed about with the administration: the president, his policies, popular movements, and on and on. Once he finished with politics, he started on religion. After briefly inquiring about my thoughts on some religious topics, he went into a rant about religious leaders and what mistakes they are making.

I finally began to zone out. I started thinking about all the other things I could be doing with my day. I was barely able to get a word in edgewise, and when I did, I felt like he just used my answers as a soapbox platform. Maybe my date was nervous, or going through a rough time in his life. Whatever the cause, he was so negative that it didn’t allow me to see the real him or for him to see me.

It became cemented in my mind as the worst date I have ever been on. Those two hours seemed to last forever. Once it was over, I was completely relieved. I remember saying goodbye in the parking lot and vowing that I would not be going out with him again (he called, and I told him no thank you).

But rather than viewing that failed date as reason to throw up my hands and give up, I decided to learn from it. I settled on one important takeaway from that date: When it comes to love, you need to keep it positive. We all have our own opinions, life experiences, and topics we’re passionate about, but we have to resist the urge to constantly complain about them, especially on a first date. A conversation like this is draining and can cover the whole date with a cloud of pessimism.

Even though I didn’t find true love, I learned something about love and about myself: A positive outlook is definitely more attractive, and one of the most effective things you can do to ensure you’re starting off on the best foot possible. Nobody wants to be around a pessimist, or to get to know a pessimist, or to ask a pessimist on a date. That experience proved to be a wake-up call for my own life, and a reminder to stay positive in my day-to-day interactions. Keeping that positive outlook on life will not only make you a more joyful person, it may also improve your chances in the dating field. I, for one, am all about that.

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