How To Avoid A Bad Date (Part 2)
By Melanie Schilling, Psychologist and Dating Coach
In part 2 of ‘How to avoid a bad date’, eHarmony Dating and Relationship Expert Melanie Schilling looks at specific bad dating behaviours and how to handle them. She also explains what you should do if you’re ever faced with a serious situation on a date, drawing both from her psychological expertise and personal experience.
“Ok, let me be more specific” elaborated Jackie, “The date was going quite well until he started over-sharing the story about his childhood trauma, then answered his phone and had a 10 minute conversation with his mate in front of me, then ate his risotto with his fingers and burped without excusing himself.”
There are a number of dating behaviours and experiences that are universally considered ‘bad’. Most people would be put off by things like:
- Bad breath
- Answering the phone
- Poor hygiene
- Lack of grooming
- Bad manners
- Low eye contact
- Not listening
It’s up to you to decide if these things fall into your deal breaker or preference category.
How to handle bad date behaviours
So, what should you do if your date behaves badly?
One option is to abruptly cut the date short and make your exit stage left. After all, you don’t owe him/her anything, do you?
But what about the notion of Dating Karma? Imagine if you could do something for the next person he/she dates? Kind of like a dating pay-it-forward.
If you choose to stay and play rather than cut and run, you might find the courage to offer your date some friendly feedback. Let’s borrow a technique from the corporate world here and learn to deliver feedback in a respectful, helpful fashion.
This technique is called SBI and stands for Situation, Behaviour, Impact. If we were to apply this to Jackie’s case above, it might go something like this:
“At dinner tonight (situation), when you scooped up your risotto in your hand (behaviour), people on other tables were staring at us and I felt quite embarrassed”.
“During dessert tonight (situation), when you answered your phone and spoke loudly to your mate (behaviour), I got the impression you were not interested in talking to me and would rather be somewhere else”
Note that this approach is non-judgmental and non-confrontational, but it communications the consequences of their behaviour in a direct manner.
You might like to practice the SBI technique with a trusted friend before you try it out on a date.
What if it’s SERIOUSLY bad behaviour?
Whilst the examples in Jackie’s case are quite light hearted and would probably result in a funny story to tell your mates, there is also a serious side to bad dates.
There are certain behaviours that could be considered anti-social, immoral or even illegal, and it’s important to know what to do if faced with them. We’ve all seen examples in the news of vulnerable people being scammed or physically harmed by people they met online.
If your date is abusive, threatening or overly confronting and you feel uncomfortable, I’d advise you to:
- Leave the date immediately and find a safe place
- Contact a friend or family member and let them know where you are and where you are going
- Call the police, if necessary
- Advise eHarmony about your experience
Click here for eHarmony’s safety tips.
On a personal note
When I was actively online dating, I had a very negative experience. One night, I was at an inner city wine bar with a cute architect and while I was in the loo, he slipped something into my drink. He spiked my drink with Rohipnol or something similar, and I fell into a blur of scattered memories. I was clearly not in a position to consent to the rest of the evening’s activities and was left with a hang-over, a bruised ego and a heavy sense of regret.
I’m sharing this with you as a word of caution. Trust your gut, protect yourself and if in doubt, don’t.
Happy (and safe) Dating!
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