By Diana Pearl published
If women everywhere can agree on one thing, it's that dating isn't easy. However, a bad date doesn't have to mean a wasted evening! Wesat down with dating experts and real-life bride and groom-to-be Lindsay Chrisler and Daniel Packard to get the scoop on all the silver linings that can be found on even the worst dates.
1. Get a Wake-Up Call
You've been on bad date after bad date. Instead of sulking around and complaining that "no one good is out there," take time to reevaluate what's been going wrong. "A bad date can be a wake-up call for you to take responsibility and realize why that connection isn't happening," Packard said. Look at your dating pattern and actually write down what you feel isn't working. Maybe it's time to try something new: stray from the guy that is your usual 'type'. Are your expectations unrealistic? Let it be about you building a connection, rather than checking off a list.
Lesson Learned: Change your pattern
2. Learn to Empathize
"When a date is going downhill, it's usually because the guy is struggling," Chrisler says. Men are nervous too, maybe even more than you. While it may not be easy to cut him some slack when he's stumbling through a conversation, Chrisler says it'll make the date more fulfilling for the both of you in the end. "You don't have to marry him, but you can be nice to him and end the date on a great note." Remember, he's going through the same thing as you. Try to not put the responsibility of making the date a 'success' on his shoulders, a common habit of women, Chrisler said. Being open and empathetic will translate towards your future relationships as well. "Treat each date not really as good or bad dates, but as stepping stones towards what you want," Packard said. Dating is a two person game!
Lesson Learned: Don't forget to think about how he's feeling.
3. Get Confident
Nothing is sexier than confidence. If you're ticked off because your date won't give you a chance to speak, don't get quiet and moody about it, a behavior Chrisler dubbed 'resentful niceness'. Rather than stewing silently, change the subject and bring the conversation back to you, so you have an opportunity to share. Chances are, he's just nervous and is blubbering away in order to fill any potential awkward silences. Having the confidence to turn the conversation around won't just make you happier, but it will make him more comfortable, too.
Lesson Learned: Ask for what you want.
4. Think to the Past
Sometimes, it takes breaking up with someone special to make you realize how good you had it with that person. Chrisler recalls a client who reached out to a former flame after recognizing how rare their connection had been. Turns out, he had been feeling the same way. Going on a string of dates where any sort of relationship seems to fizzle quickly can make you identify with what was so special about a past romance—and give you the confidence to reconnect.
Lesson Learned: Sometimes what you've been looking for is there all along.
5. Practice Makes Perfect
As with most things in life, dating doesn't always come easy. So even if your date was a real dud, and it seemed there was truly no way to turn it around, don't think of the evening as wasted. Every date is a chance to learn something new and to hone your conversation (and flirting!) skills for the next time. If you really want to make some headway in your dating life, keep dating—and often! Don't be afraid to fill your calendar with drinks, dinners, and coffee dates: the more you date, the more you'll become conscious of what you like and what you don't.
Lesson Learned: If at first you don't succeed, try, try (and keep trying!) again.
Diana is a producer at ELLE.com. She previously wrote for MarieClaire.com. Diana is a Syracuse grad and a Chicago native, and therefore a pro at dealing with cold weather. She's also an Anglophile, which means she love all things British—especially Downton Abbey, London, and Will and Kate (and Prince George!)
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