~Word by: Naomi Retman
What’s Best For Who?
Channeling Carrie Bradshaw for a minute, there has been some serious wondering going on. It seems that more often than not, following a first date, we’re left wondering whether or not we’ll engage in the act of a second. Despite how we feel about the initial encounter, all too often we’re met with friends telling us to just give it another go. But why?
Look, dating apps are mildly thrilling at the best of times, even then, what we consider to be ‘stimulating’ conversation, can feel like pulling teeth. In this virtual environment, finding a tried-and-true connection ultimately feels like mission impossible.
Let’s fast forward. Skip the swiping, both purposeful and accidental (you know, when you actually meant to go back to the last face that was on your screen but have now you’ve incorrectly swiped Jordan who is absolutely not your type.), skip the prompt reacting and dive into the date. Say it was nice. Say they were nice. Say there was a steady conversation and little to no awkward silences. The date is over, and you can comfortably turn off the live location you’ve been sharing with your friends since leaving the house. You text the group chat to let them know you’re on your way back and the barrage of questions begins!
How was it?
What were they like?
Did they look like their pictures?
God, I hope you didn’t tell them about that trip to Croatia in 2016!
Lastly, inevitably, will you see them again?
This is the time in which you shoud be reflecting on how you actually feel.
And so, how did you find it? Yes, this part is about you.
Did you feel anything? Did the ‘glass shatter’? Maybe this person is a wiz on the apps but in reality, they’re just not for you (some people have an issue with this sentiment, but if the goodness of their online presence can’t translate into reality, what you’re really setting yourself up for is a disappointment).
The biggest question you should really be looking to answer is, do you want to see this person again?
You know what – maybe the date was amazing and all you can think about is when you’d like to see this person again. However, if you found yourself searching for acceptable answers to the above, and ultimately your answer to the last question is no, then congratulations, you’re human and your feelings are valid.
Jumping back into the group chat:
You’ve concluded that it was pleasant enough, but something you only need to experience once. You inform the group that you didn’t enjoy it, didn’t think you felt anything special and actually wish you could’ve gotten out of there sooner. The crazy thing? You will still be asked if you want to see them again.
Even crazier than that, if your response sounds even remotely like ‘no’ or ‘I don’t think so’, you’ll almost always be met with ‘maybe th ey were nervous’, ‘can you really tell from a first date’, ‘what’s the harm in a second one’ and the infamous ‘your standards are too high’ or ‘you’re too picky’.
Here is where the conversation needs to change. After an experience that only you’ve had, that only you’ve experienced, that only you have the ability to comment on, you are the only one capable of making this decision for yourself. It’s well and good that the people around you want you to be happy and put yourself out there, but sometimes it may feel like projection.
For so long, people’s value has been held in their relationship status. Without a partner, people deem one another as not whole. Even looking a little deeper into the phrase ‘fix you up with someone'. Single people are not broken, and do not require ‘fixing’.
Obviously, there is no blanket rule when determining whether to accept or decline a second date, but it is clear we need to start respecting when someone decides a person is not for them. This applies both to the person making the decision, and to their surrounding group who are attempting to modify, and sway said decision.
Being the person who has just come from the date, why are you trying to make excuses as to why you think you should see this person again? Is it for their benefit? For yours? Are we really just trying to prove that we’re capable of seeing someone past the first date? Having heard it used as a snarky comment that ‘you’ve been on a lot of first dates’, there is absolutely no shame in the above. There is no superiority in making that comment to someone who is clearly not going to settle for less in the people they choose to spend time with.
Time is invaluable. If you don’t see the potential in building something more with someone, then there probably isn’t a whole lot between you, so why waste both of your time? It can be scary to not follow the timeline society has laid out before us. Sometimes it even drives us to the band-aid fix of settling, you know, with someone that’s good on paper. Though used in the context of online shopping, a friend once taught me, if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no. I feel like the same wisdom can be applied to dating. Whilst a relationship with a human requires greater commitment than an ASOS purchase with free returns, regardless of the situation, we shouldn’t be settling for being unsure.
It’s important to acknowledge that you do know exactly who you are, what you want and what you’re capable of feeling (that one is the most important). If you’re looking for the sign that tells you it’s okay to not go on that second date, then here it is.
What’s for you won’t pass you. Trust your gut and don’t surrender to society’s projections that your happily ever after lies in the hands of the person that was rude to the waiter.