I’m an avid NPR listener. I love Morning Edition and I look forward to the short humor feature they do at the half-hour. Just recently they featured a new mobile phone app from eHarmony.com: Bad Date Rescue. It’s easy to guess what the app does from the name: in a nutshell you can set it up to call or message you while you’re on a date and then you can make your excuses and graciously leave. There’s an ignore option just in case the date is going well and you don’t want to leave.
Sounds entertaining and fun, yes? Well, maybe. I will freely admit that I do not have much experience in the dating arena and even less with bad dates but I do know that if I have to rely on a phone app to “rescue” me then I’m dishonoring one of the top ten values I’m looking for in a partner. That value is open communication.
I wasn’t very good at that in my marriage and through all my interviews on marriage and divorce I’ve come to believe that one of the secrets to lasting partnerships is talking openly and honestly. Open communication comes with practice—the more practice you get talking about stuff you feel awkward about, the easier it gets. And practicing on a bad date seems like a perfect opportunity to hone those skills. After all, what do you have to lose?
Then I got to thinking, what date could be so bad that you need a phone app? I thought back to the lessons I learned from the dating coaching program I’d done and how these three key dating strategies can keep you out of trouble in the first place:
- Be discerning – knowing your values, the lifestyle you enjoy and your favorite activities will help you screen out the potential dates with whom you have little in common. That right there reduces the risk of an awful experience. For example, I am not a dog lover and nor do I hunt or fish. Why would I want to go on a date with a man who’s pictured with his two dogs holding up a large fish by the side of his truck? Yes, you do need to be open to new experiences but that doesn’t mean dating anyone who asks or finding a date for Saturday night simply because you want to go out.
- Choose your dating location/activity carefully – for the first few dates choose something that has a manageable duration, say forty-five minutes to an hour and doesn’t lock you in. That makes coffee or cocktails a perfect choice. If you hit if off you can stay for two drinks or better yet, make plans for another date. And seriously, it’s a rare individual that is so obnoxious you can’t make conversation for thirty minutes.
- Have your own transportation – as I was thinking about this post, I remembered a date from way back before I was married. It’s so long ago I can’t remember the details. Anyway, it may have been a second or third date but we went to a party together. We were both chatting to other people and he disappeared. When it came time to leave, lo and behold, said date had already left the party (and not alone). He was my transport home. Now, that’s not the way I’d recommend ending a bad date, but having your own transportation and being able to leave when you want without having to beg a ride home is a major advantage.
We all know there are no guarantees in life so even these three rules can’t rule out the possibility of a bad date. You could fall back on the Bad Date Rescue app or better yet while you’re primping for your date, you can practice your own escape lines. Then should it be necessary you’ll be able to deliver them with confidence, grace and dignity.
Have you had a bad date? Where there red flags before the date? How do you avoid bad dates? What do you think of the Bad Date Rescue app?