Some friends told me about Second Date Update, a radio feature where someone who went on a first date tries to find out why they weren’t asked on a second date. The DJ basically calls the guy (or girl) on the phone and asks if they’d like to go on another date with that person. If the answer is “no” (and the answer is almost always “no”), the DJ asks them what went wrong on the first date to cause them to lose interest. It’s usually a train wreck, which is the point of the program.
These train wrecks are all completely avoidable, though. If you want to save the embarrassment of having your dating mistakes aired on the radio, here are some first date tips that can help you not end up on Second Date Update:
Don’t over-share. Not on a first date, anyway. Yes, you want to get to know each other better, and yes, that means talking about yourself. But the first date is generally not the best time to delve into your most intimate secrets. A number of Second Date Updates have dealt with people made uncomfortable by learning too much, too soon. See also “When Should I Share My Past?”
Don’t go overboard. It’s a first date, not a marriage proposal. Guys, she’ll probably appreciate you putting some thought into it and not just going through the drive-through at McDonald’s. But taking it too extreme in the opposite direction—say, showing up in a three-piece Armani suit and singing her a love song you wrote especially for her—can seem a little weird on a first date. Save it for an anniversary; she’ll love it then.
Put in at least a little effort. This is the flip side of the above. One guy literally did take his date out for ice cream by going through the McDonald’s drive-through. If that was his plan—if he even had a plan—it wasn’t a very good one, and didn’t lead to a second date. You need to strike a balance between the two: be intentional, but not intense. If you need some examples, here are some first date ideas that are low-pressure but still count as legitimate dates.
Don’t go on a first date if there’s already no chance of a second date. If you’re not ready for a relationship, then why try to start one? There’s really no good outcome here. Even if the date goes well, it will just result in someone being disappointed or hurt (and possibly calling a radio show) because the relationship won’t go anywhere.
Don’t date your sister. You’d think this would go without saying, but apparently not. Treat them like your sister (1 Timothy 5:2), but make sure they aren’t literally your sister.
Don’t make assumptions. On the very rare occasions that someone called up on Second Date Update actually does want to go on a second date, often the reason they didn’t just ask for another date themselves is because they assumed the other person wouldn’t be interested. They’re so impressed by the person on the first date that they think he or she is simply out of their league. Guys, if you find someone who’d truly be great marriage material, ask her out. And if the date goes well, ask her out again. And eventually you might end up married to a great girl.
Be honest. If you say you’re going to call, pick up the phone and call. “I’ll call you” is not a soft “no,” or a way to let someone down easy. It’s you specifically telling someone that you’re going to call them. So follow through, even if that means calling them to explain that you’ve decided not to ask them out again. Be a man of your word. Let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no.” Really, every Second Date Update could be prevented by both parties just being open and honest with each other.
Leave each person better than you found them. Make that your goal. Think about it: when you go on a first date, you’re really hoping (or should be hoping) that eventually you might be loving this person forever. So, even if the date goes badly and that’s not going to be the case, at least you can be kind enough to leave them in a good place. That includes being gently honest with them, and not leaving them hanging.
One bonus tip: if you do end up on Second Date Update, and someone points out your dating mistakes, apologize. Most episodes end up with both sides becoming defensive and argumentative, instead of being gracious and taking the opportunity to learn from their mistakes. If they’d accept correction and strive to change, they might even be given a second chance.
In case you missed it, we’re currently going through a series about dating at The Porch called “Save the Date.” Come check it out each Tuesday evening at 7:00 in Dallas (7450 LBJ Freeway) or 7:30 in Fort Worth (6025 Camp Bowie Boulevard).
What dating mistakes have you made?