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Life Is Short, Stop Spending It on Terrible Dates

man with glasses

I’ve lost count of all the terrible dates I’ve had in this lifetime.

I once went out with a guy I met online. He seemed decent on his profile. I was expecting he’d be decent in real life too. Boy, I was wrong. You know how some people try to make themselves look great online, but when you meet them in real life, they turn out to be a completely different person? Well, that’s what happened with this guy.

He showed up on our date looking like a homeless person. His hair was messy, his beard untrimmed, and, worst of all, he stank of cigarettes. His attire – cargo shorts and an oversized shirt with visible stains on it – did not help his case at all. I wanted to walk the other way and leave. While I don’t like judging a person by their appearance, he could have at least made a bit of effort to look presentable.

Right then and there, I could have left and said it wasn’t going to work out between us, but I didn’t. I’m the type of person who can look past appearances since I value personality more. As long as the guy knows how to converse, makes me laugh, and treats me well, I can see myself being with him. So, I stayed, hoping he’d have some redeeming qualities. Well, that was my second mistake.

Sometimes, you need to trust your instincts.

I recently read a behavioral study about how people genuinely act in dating situations. According to its findings, it only takes us three seconds to decide if someone is attractive. In those three short seconds, we can instantly tell if a person is our type and whether or not they are worth getting to know. I wish I had read this study sooner. I would have saved myself so much time.

After reading through the research points, here’s what I realized: It’s better to be frank and cut a date short if you don’t feel a hint of attraction toward your date; otherwise, you’ll end up wasting your time and theirs.

So, when is the right time to leave?

I don’t necessarily agree that three seconds is enough. All that we get from that short period is an assessment of their physical appearance – i.e., whether or not we find them physically attractive. I find that extremely shallow.

I’d say, maybe, after a good five to ten-minute talk is enough time. If you don’t feel any connection and the date feels flat, it’s best to cut your losses. End your date politely, leave, and try your luck next time.

You don’t have to waste your time.

There’s no use in staying on a date that you know is going nowhere.

If you’re curious, here’s what I did during my date with that guy: I first asked him what he thought of me and our date. He said it was fine. In my head, fine is not the same as good or great. I assumed he felt the same as I did. We felt no connection or attraction to each other whatsoever.

Instead of letting the date go longer than necessary, I told him, “Look, we don’t have to finish this date. Why don’t we call it a night?” I wasn’t too surprised when he nodded in agreement. Good thing we hadn’t ordered anything yet; that has saved both of us our time and money.

I guess the point of this is to encourage you not to put up with bad dates. Know when to leave and know your worth. Emphasis on the title: Life is short; stop spending it on terrible dates.

This story was originally published on Medium: Life is Short, Stop Spending it on Terrible Dates


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