How to handle dating curveballs
Even on the best dates there are bound to be a couple of awkward moments, where someone spills a drink or the conversation dries up. Occasionally you might get a date which has been going really well and you are feeling a real connection with them, when bang, they suddenly drop a curveball into the conversation. You may be momentarily thrown off track and unsure about how to respond. Here are some suggestions on how to handle those awkward moments.
Sense of humour
It is important on any date to try and keep the mood light so if your date drops a big clanger into the conversation e.g. they are still living with their ex or they have a mountains of debt – the best thing to do is let it pass without too much comment. You don’t want to open up a whole Q&A on the subject – there will be time for that once you have decided how you feel about it, and them. The best thing you can do in the face of confusion on a date is take it in your stride and even if inside you are freaking out, smile and work at continuing the date in as comfortable a way as possible.
Even if what your date has told you makes you jump to a conclusion about what kind of person they must be – e.g. if a date tells you that they have been married five times you might naturally assume that it means they have issues with commitment – try not to make a decision about whether you want to see your date again immediately. Go home and think about it, talk it over with a trusted friend if it helps. You won’t really know what something means until you know the whole story and that can take time to be revealed – more time than you will have on one date. Unless what they reveal is something that you are sure you can never accept no matter what the circumstances are then try, as far as possible, to put it to one side and continue getting to know them.
Judge them on today
As it says in the first line of the novel The Go-Between, ‘The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there’ – we all have a past and have made mistakes in our youth that we wouldn’t repeat now we are older and wiser. The thing about mistakes is that most people learn from them. Even a term in jail doesn’t mean that someone is a bad person, just that they did a bad thing and were appropriately punished for it.
If your date reveals something about their past they are probably doing so because they want to start the relationship in an open and honest way without any secrets. Keeping things back about your past is a bad strategy even if you think the information will stop the date in its tracks – secrets have a way of coming out and if you aren’t open from the beginning any relationship you do succeed in developing will be on dodgy foundations.
Listen to your instincts
If your date reveals something, or behaves in a way that makes you really uncomfortable – like if they take drugs while out with you or if they become abusive to a waiter – make your excuses and leave. You don’t have to confront the behaviour or challenge them to see reason, just keep yourself safe and go home putting it down to experience. It is perfectly legitimate to block communication with them and report them to eHarmony if you are very concerned. Trying to make socially unacceptable behaviour socially acceptable because you think they have the potential to be a great partner is a recipe for disaster.
Learn to hit the ball
The more dates you go on the more comfortable you will become at hitting those curveballs and you will come to see that when it comes to human beings it is always best to expect the unexpected. Everyone has a unique experience of life and are often made richer and more rounded by all of the things they have been through, both good and bad.
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