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How to Bounce Back from Bad Dates

A woman who used to have a lot of bad dates, kissing her date across the table.

At best, having a terrible dating experience can make you feel less excited for the next date. At worst, it can make you want to swear off dating altogether. But rest assured, most bad dates just mean the two of you weren’t a good fit for each other.

After all, meeting someone new can have unpredictable outcomes. If you had a great time, it’s disappointing to not hear back after a date. If you had a terrible time, you might be the one doing the disappointing.

If you’ve had a bad date (or a string of bad dates) you’re having a hard time bouncing back from, here are a few tips to get over it and move on stronger:

1. Remember, every date will not end the same.
Even though we start off almost every date hoping for a happy ending, the majority of them don’t end that way. Sometimes having a bad date can be a reality check that you’re putting too much pressure on your dates to be amazing. Being nonchalant isn’t the worst attitude to have, but you don’t want to anticipate the date being bad either.

It’s hard to be positive and hope for the best when you feel like you’ve been let down before. But saying that all dates are the same is like saying all men and women are the same. Recognizing that there are different people out there with good intentions can help you be more open to future dates.

2. Try not to compare dates.
Imagine having a great conversation at a restaurant and your date says, “Yeah, my last date said the same thing,” or, “The last guy I went out with was a Pisces like you.” What type of impression would you get from your date?

It’s important to move on from the bad dates and to not get into a lengthy comparison discussion about past experiences. It’s human nature to want to compare people, but you wouldn’t want someone constantly comparing you to their ex. Resist the urge to categorize everyone you meet so that you can experience everything with a fresh pair of eyes.

3. New scenery can make a big difference.
Eating lunch in the park or going to a comedy club may be better than your typical drinks or drink and dinner date. Trying a new place out of your comfort zone can lighten up your mood and ease the memories you’ve had from your previous dates.

4. Take a break from in-person dates.
If you’re chronically dating with bad experiences, taking a break from meeting someone in-person could be a great alternative. Talking on the phone, texting, and even video chatting are common ways people warm up to an in-person date. For most long-distant relationships, these virtual connections become the greatest bonding moments. And they can for you too.

There’s no getting around it—bad dates suck. But you can and will come back from them to have some good, and even great dates.

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