I hate first dates.

I hate the anxiety that comes with the first meeting, the stress to nail the first impression, and the fear of a Ted Bundy incident.

This is not to say that all first dates are the epitome of pure hell, because, for many, they are the beginning of something life long. The problem is, however, figuring out which one is worthy of date number two, or three, or four.

I have been on my fair share of first dates. Some result in a second and third date, while others end up in a cesspool of “well I tried it” moments. How do you know though when to keep it going or let it go?

Use your gut

Although it’s impossible to find out everything about a person the first time meeting, first impressions are still huge. If you get a weird vibe, have a hard time communicating, or feel no immediate connection – don’t look past it.

On the other hand, if you’re conflicted, consider giving it a second chance. Do what feels right. Your instincts will tell you whether there is a possibility of a connection or not.

It has to be mutual

I have been on first dates that I thought went splendid, but the feeling was not the same on the other side. Similarly, there have been instances where I wasn’t feeling a connection, but the other person was. It is like the old balance scales we would use in fifth-grade science class. In order for the scale to be level, both sides have to carry the same weight. If not, the scale will tip more to one side – just like feelings. If you both aren’t on the same page, it is unlikely it will work out.

Do not be afraid to say NO

Recently, I went on a date where I enjoyed the company but felt zero chemistry. There was no physical attraction on my end, and I just couldn’t see myself taking it to date two.

But when he asked if I was interested in another date, I felt bad saying no. I felt shallow and guilty that I didn’t give him enough of a chance. I have since realized how incredibly wrong that is. Everyone has different tastes and preferences. It is okay that this did not match what I was looking for. I do not have to feel guilty about that.

You owe it to yourself and the other person to be honest. Many of us are dating in hopes of finding our soul mates. If you have zero feelings after the first date, it is better to be open about that. Don’t allow anyone to make you feel guilty for being transparent. Mature adults will respect your sincerity.

Be patient

Maybe you’re getting older and want to start a family, maybe you hate the thought of being alone for another day, or maybe you want to find your “travel companion.” Regardless, do not rush into the first thing that comes your way just to fill a void. Do not say, “well, he/she is good enough” because settling is not living.

It is okay to be alone. You do not have to rush into a relationship after a mediocre first date. Patience is a virtue, and finding the right person takes a lot of time and patience. So keep dating, plan second dates if you feel called to, and a third if your heart is into it. But, do not continue something with no chemistry just to have a companion.

Life is short. So be honest and kind to yourself. Trust your gut, when you know you know.

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