Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

That “Amazing” First Date We Went On Kind of Sucked for Me

Today’s guest post is written by Dennis Hong.

With all the dating advice I’ve been doling out recently, I find myself reading the same stories over and over again, which only reinforces the fact that we’re not all that different from each other. Maybe this could be a lesson for a more harmonious humanity:

We all share a common ability to fuck up — and to do so repeatedly.

One scenario I see quite a bit is the woman who goes on a fabulous first date, only to find her reality shattered when the guy never calls again. So, she’s left to wonder what happened….

The date went so well. They had so much fun together and clicked so amazingly. He would make a fabulous father to her unborn children. Why didn’t he call back?

Invariably, people chime in that the guy is obviously a douchebag. Or, if they’re being forgiving, they suggest that maybe he just got out of a serious relationship and realized that he’s not ready to date.

As difficult as these answers may be to accept, they generally drive the point across: For whatever reason, he lost interest.

I’m not sure I agree.

I think the issue might be something different. I think the issue might be a problem of perception. Because my perception is that the guy was never interested in the first place….

I’ve written before that when I’m with someone I really like, I become more difficult of a person around them. See, it’s not that I purposely try to be difficult. It’s that if I find myself developing strong feelings for someone, I want her to see the real me, idiosyncrasies and all. And I’m kind of a difficult person in many ways, not the least of which is my ability, as you are about to witness, to render judgment on people.

On the other hand, if I’m not particularly interested in her, I have no problem maintaining the façade. It’s not that hard to “go with the flow,” so to speak, and if doing so makes for smoother sailing on the dating seas, I’m all for that.

Either way, I’ve been dating for long enough to know how to maintain a pretty damned good façade. I know how to be witty and charming. I know how to plan a good time. I’ve had years and years to practice it. It’s not that hard (anymore).

So, maybe I’m on a first date. And maybe I realize I’m not all that into her.

At the same time, she’s still a nice person, and since we’ve already committed to the date, I might as well make the best of it. So, I smile and nod along, and I muster up whatever enthusiasm I can.

Unfortunately, she’s not thinking the same thing. She’s thinking, “Wow, this guy must really be into me. He’s such a good listener and truly interested in everything I have to say.”

In reality, though, I’m only smiling and nodding along because I really don’t have much I feel like adding. (Or rebutting, as it were, since that’s more often the case.)

So, I come across as way more cool and laid back than I actually am. And she loves it.

“Now, hold on a second, asshole,” you say to your computer screen. “I think you’re full of shit. How would you know these women are having a great time? Maybe they’re going through the motions, too.”

Sure, it’s possible. At the same time, I’d like to think I know the difference between a nonchalant “well, that was fun” and a glowing “I had a great time” at the end of the night.

Look, I know when I’ve put out… a great date. I know when she’s having fun. And honestly, I’d say most of the women I’ve dated know when I’m having fun, too.

It’s just that, every once in a while, I go out with someone who probably hasn’t dated all that much. Maybe she was involved in a serious long-term relationship for most of her adult life, so she hasn’t quite picked up on all the social cues that first dates demand. Or, maybe she’s incapable of picking up said cues because her head occupies its own tiny little universe that rarely intersects ours.

Either way, some people just aren’t that good on picking up those tiny little nuances that we call social cues. I’ve certainly dated some of these people, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they gushed to their friends afterwards about how amazing our first date went.

It’s really a shame that’s not how our first date went for me.

Point again, it’s all about perception. One person having a great time doesn’t necessarily mean the other person having a great time, especially if one person is of the clueless variety.

So, if you fear you might be one of these people, I have but one suggestion: The next time you go on an amazing first date, before you go gushing to your friends, do a little self-check and look for any hints that your amazing first date kind of sucked for him.

If you do, you could save yourself a lot of heartache.

Dennis Hong blogs here and doles out dating advice here. He may judge you… well, everywhere.

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11 to “That “Amazing” First Date We Went On Kind of Sucked for Me”

  1. NikkiB says:

    Oh dear. I’ve totally done this. It’s just… so easy to know *exactly* how to behave – simply common courtesy/social know-how. And… probably even easier because I’m actually not that interested/nervous so… yikes.

    More people should read this and understand that it’s not all about *us*. YES I HATE THE FADE TOO but after one-two dates? It’s kind of allowed. And, yeah, I get that the honest thing to do is not fake it so well – and the knee-jerk reaction is that it’s SO HARD to not fake it! But… how’s that compared to hurting someone who really thinks you’re into them? Perhaps we can try to be more honest too.

    Working towards better relationship and communication takes work from everyone – and no excuses, whether they’re of the “he’s a douche!” OR the “but… it’s so easy to just pretend over be honest” variety.
    NikkiB recently posted..The Most Important Topic of Conversation. Duh.My Profile

  2. Dazediva says:

    I’ve gone out with guys where they tell me they’ve had a great time and the whole time I’m thinking ‘how ??? cos it was not so fun for me !’ And it makes me wonder if we were on the same date !

    I’m good at picking up social clues; and can definitely give them off but alas sometimes you meet someone who can’t / doesn’t clock on to the clues and the only thing you can do is sort of go along with the date short of rudely saying that you are f*king bored out of your mind ! (been there; had to bite my tongue not to do that)
    Dazediva recently posted..People You Should Never Invite To Your WeddingMy Profile

  3. Ariel says:

    I agree with my girl Nikki-I had numerous first dates in which we both played “nice” and gave great first impressions…but neither of us were interested in a second date. Kinda funny. At first, my ego was all, hey dude! I’m hawt, aintchoo at least gonna chase me?!? But of course, more of a relief that he didn’t!
    Ariel recently posted..Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Wrong, But Nonetheless EncouragedMy Profile

  4. Mimi Stein says:

    We have all been there, but I think we know in the first 5 minutes if the date will go well and if we ever want to see that person again. I just make the best of it and very sincerely let the man know this will not work out. I would not lead a man on by going on that second date if you have any doubts whatsoever about this man on that first date.

  5. Henry Simms says:

    I had a trouble with a girl once when I thought she was giving me signs to make out with her. So embarassing.

  6. AS says:

    Thank you for sharing some home truths and a male perspective on this! You are absolutely spot on about perception – just because one person thought it was a great date it does not mean it is reciprocated by the other!

  7. Two of Us says:

    People just need to be themselves. If the other person isn’t interested, they’re not for you. Simple as that.
    Two of Us recently posted..Major Signs He Isn’t the OneMy Profile

  8. I hear what you’re saying, the guy really isn’t interested but plays the date out anyway out of politeness. The girl who doesn’t neccesarily pick up any hints that this is the case thinks the date is going well, almost as if they’re becoming good mates.

    It’s a bit like meeting up as mates as opposed to a guy going out with a girl way out of his league and doing his utmost to impress her, maybe feeling a little nervy at the same time.

    The scenario you speak of is completely opposite, the guy comes across as relaxed (as he’s not interested) and in her eyes enjoying himself.
    However I don’t think it’s fair to tarnish everyone with the same brush as it were, everyone will have their different reasons as you state in the beginning of your article (eg. the guy may have just come out of a relationship and not be ready for dating just yet).

    Good, thought provoking article thank you.

  9. I think it would be best to be honest with your date. That is the least you can do for her just so she won’t wonder why you fail to call.”Whatever happened to that amazing first date?” Just don’t leave her hanging.Being pretentious will only do harm than good to her.Remember some people are not that sensitive to cues,better spew it out for them.
    Charmaine Day recently posted..How to Make Long Distance Relationship WorkMy Profile

  10. Samantha says:

    That’s so weird to think about but I totally understand what you mean. I never really considered that the person I was on a date with would feel that way, but I’ve definitely felt that way also. It’s interesting to think about.. (check it out please, much appreciated!)
    Samantha recently posted..Favorite thing to do with a significant otherMy Profile

  11. MBE says:

    Hi Dennis – I like your directness! You suggest that ‘the guy was never interested in the first place’, but surely, if that were true, he wouldn’t be on the date? I agree though that in the course of the date, you might realise you’re not interested, and so start faking it for the sake of politeness: a definite point in favour of not committing to dinner for a first date!

    On the subject of communication/honesty… I dated a guy before Christmas. End of third date (which I thought had gone pretty well, shows what I know, ha), he turns to me and says he had a really nice time, but doesn’t see it going anywhere. (See ‘Good Date Gone Bad’ on MBE!) I was pretty stunned, not so much by what he said, rather by the fact that he was saying it to me face-to-face, on the street. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned ‘not texting back’?! I suppose I was oddly flattered that he’d come out with it in person, rather than just left me hanging. I concluded that he had probably had that little speech in mind since the start of the evening, would you agree? Why we had to have drinks AND dinner (at his suggestion) beforehand, I do not know! From a psychological perspective, I found it quite interesting. Happy New Year! MBE
    MBE recently posted..Mugging OffenceMy Profile

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