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How to Handle 12 Awkward First Date Moments

Nobody ever wants to encounter an awkward situation while out on a date.  Imagine running into your ex while out with your new boyfriend. Or, you lean in for the goodnight kiss and notice your breath stinks of garlic. Perhaps you knock over your date’s glass of red wine all over their outfit. Whatever the case, these things happen, and it’s not so much the event itself that spoils the date, but your reaction to it. How should you compose yourself during an awkward situation on a first date like this one?

Sharon Schweitzer, an international etiquette expert, author, and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide, offers this advice around 12 different dating disasters.  

You’re a Modern Woman and You Asked Him Out

In today’s world, this is perfectly acceptable. 20 years ago or so this might have turned a few heads; but in 2017 women can, and should, ask men for a date.  

Who pays the bill?  

The server places the bill on the table and there’s silence; you both look at each other. Don’t let this happen. As a sophisticated host, arrive early and provide a credit card, or call the restaurant in advance. Whether you’re the man or woman, if you asked them out, be the one to call ahead with your card.

You refer to your date by the name of your ex

Imagine being out on a date and you accidentally refer to your date by the name of your ex.  There’s only one thing to do besides hope they don’t walkout on you: apologize profusely and don’t ever do it again.

Laugh at those things you can’t control

Maybe you spilled your soup all over his nice Polo shirt.  Maybe you walked into a glass door. Perhaps the comedian at the show pulled you on to the stage and had a little fun with you. Don’t let these awkward situations get the best of you. Your demeanor and how you handle it tells your date a lot about you.

Be careful with alcohol

A glass of wine or cocktail with dinner is perfectly acceptable; however, don’t drink to the point of no return. Alcohol might calm those date night jitters, but if you have to call for a cab or start dancing on the tables, you’re not going to impress your date.

Good breath equals good kiss

If you decide to go in for the goodnight kiss, make sure you have a breath mint handy to erase the memory of the garlic bread you ate with dinner.  

You momentarily forget your manners

It happens. You’re out on a date and you chew with your mouth open or put too much water in your mouth and it flies out and lands on your date.  Catch the mistake and apologize before your date says something.  When you own up and take responsibility, it speaks volumes about the kind of person you really are.

Your date has spinach in their teeth

You’re eating dinner and notice that your date has a big piece of leafy green spinach stuck between their teeth. Do you say something or let it go? It’s best to nicely say something because if they see it in a mirror, they’ll be embarrassed at first, and then upset that you didn’t tell them. Say something like, “This food is so good but the spinach keeps getting stuck between my teeth. Oh by the way, there’s a very small piece sitting right there between your teeth.  You have beautiful teeth by the way.  How do you get them so white?”    

Awkward conversations

Don’t ask your date how many kids they want to have or how much money they make. Stay away from talk about sex, politics, and religion. Stick to lighter topics likes books, food, movies, hobbies, and sports. Ask questions that help you get to know your date better.  

You run into someone of meaning

Maybe it’s your boss, your parents, or girlfriends. You’re caught off guard.  How do you handle the situation? Keep it short and make an introduction. “Hi, NAME.  Please meet Mike, my date for the evening. We have to catch the 9:00 movie. Talk to you soon.”

You run into your ex

This is one of the most awkward situations possible, but you can handle it like a pro.  You have two choices: 1. Hope they don’t notice you and say nothing at all.  2. You cross paths. Although it’s awkward, there’s a lot riding on this moment as your date will see what you’re really made of. Be polite and courteous no matter what you think of the person. Say hello. Ask how they are doing. Introduce your date. Close it out by saying, “It was nice to see you.  We really must be going.  Have a good evening.”

You are absolutely miserable on this date

Although you might not necessarily care for your date or be having the time of your life, it’s a few hours at most so try to make the best of it. Refrain from pulling out your phone and texting your friends or surfing the web. If all else fails and the date has no end in sight, simply say something like, “I apologize.  I do need to get going soon as I have a big presentation at work tomorrow morning.”



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