Before I started dating, someone, possibly a teacher, told me that one should always go on a second date unless the first date was a really, really big disaster. The reasoning is that sometimes people are nervous on a first date, or you don’t get to know them really, or perhaps they’ll grow on you. I know plenty of people who subscribe to this philosophy as well, and I include myself in that category. I have two thoughts about this. The first is that my experience (and when I say “my experience” it’s not only my personal experience, but also when consulting others who are dating) seems to indicate that this is told a lot more to girls than it is to guys. Guys are given more leeway to end things earlier while girls are pushed to continue and try it again.
My second thought is that the line is not always clear. How does one define what qualifies as a bad enough first date that a second is not worth a shot? In a case when the date was awful, and you were miserable the whole time, there were major problems or issues that came up, and you kept waiting impatiently for it to be over, then it seems clear that it was a “one and done.” Especially if your gut reaction to the thought of spending another minute with the person is, “Noooooo!!”
That type of situation has only happened to me twice, and in both cases the hardest part was dealing with shadchan/ the person who set us up. I didn’t want to hurt their feelings by telling them that they were very off target, especially since in both cases I matched up on paper with the guys, and it was just a matter of a lack of connection in person, which they could not have foreseen in advance in either case. So then I end up explaining that the person wasn’t for me, while assuring them that it wasn’t awful or so far off. But if it wasn’t so awful or far off, then the person is curious as to why I am refusing to go on a second date. At some point, I just have to tell them to trust me on this one.
The thing is, what about when it’s not clearly awful? What about the cases where it wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t terrible? You know, where you might have had an awkward silence here and there, but overall conversation flowed and your date wasn’t completely unattractive? In some of those cases you can still just have a gut feeling that this person is not right for you. It doesn’t always need to be awful for you to feel that it is not going to work. This goes back to my post about being picky- it is as though if I don’t give a guy a second chance, even though I can tell it is going nowhere, then I am accused of not being fair and being too selective. Which is why I hope that the guy will say no so that I won’t have to, and if he does, I breathe a huge sigh of relief. No one can blame me this time. It seems to me that if a date is in the mediocre category, guys are more quickly to be done with it than girls are.
After a first date I try to think about how much the guy was really able to get to know me, and sometimes I feel they got a good gist of it, while sometimes I feel like they barely know me at all. I mean, really, how well can you know another person after a few hours? How can you be sure after a few hours that a person is definitely not the right one for you, if there were no huge outstanding issues? I ask this sometimes, yet admit that I am guilty of being quick to trust my gut. Which is not a bad thing, because it’s usually right. In both of the cases where I went on completely awful dates, I had a feeling the date would be bad within the first 3 minutes of my phone calls with the guys.
Usually, unless I can’t picture spending another minute with the person, I believe in second chances. This is because it can’t hurt to try again, whereas if I say no too quickly, the risk is losing my bashert. Some people, however, subscribe to the other philosophy; unless there was something special about the date, then it is not worth going on a second date. No need to justify it. Once was more than enough, thank you very much.
Food for thought: What is your approach? Do you believe in second chances? Do you believe it is possible for people have a gut feeling after one date, or do you think that is ridiculous since you barely got to know the person?