What To Do After A Bad Date & How To Keep It From Getting You Down

The comforting thing about dating is that no matter how hopeless things seem, your luck can turn around in an instant. But before that happens, you have to go on a bad date (or a hundred). While they definitely suck, they’re a part of the process. Here’s how to get through the crappy parts:

  1. Call that one friend. Or text them since no one really calls these days. The number one cure for a bad date is heading out for some beers with your best friend. You know the friend you should be calling – they’re non-judgmental, absolutely hilarious and always make you feel better. That’s what you need right now.
  2. Categorize the date. There are all kinds of bad dates, from dates with awkward silences to ones that seem fun but you never hear from the other person ever again. Then there are the dates that involve one really awful moment (a racist or sexist comment, a direct insult, etc.). Once you realize what category this date falls into, you can move on and stop thinking about it.
  3. Indulge and treat yourself. This means something different to everyone. It’s binging something mindless and a night off from thinking about annoying life stuff like how tough the dating game is. It’s an entire pepperoni pizza and watching the game. It’s not leaving your apartment for an entire weekend. It’s going to two yoga classes in a row. Whatever you feel like doing, go ahead and give yourself permission.
  4. Let yourself off the hook. It’s so easy to play the blame game and think that if you had just said something else or acted differently, the date would have gone well. But there are so many factors and you never know how your personality is going to mesh with someone else’s. Tell yourself it’s not your fault and believe it.
  5. Go down memory lane. It’s never great to live in the past but if you can think about some of the good dates you’ve had, that’s going to help your mental state. It’s a friendly reminder that yes, good dates are possible, and you’ve experienced them. It will happen again.
  6. Change your strategy. Sometimes you try to be super nice and end up staying for three hours when you know the date is a total bust. Maybe next time, stay for an hour and then politely make your exit. Nothing wrong with that.
  7. Follow a dream. The best thing you can do when dating gets you down is make steps toward a goal or dream that you have. Being productive will cheer you up and make you realize there’s more to life than dates. Following your dreams can literally change your life.
  8. Break a sweat. Whether or not you love the gym, it’s just a fact that working out improves your mood. You definitely need to sweat it out when you’re getting over a lackluster night out.
  9. Laugh a lot. Find a comedy show in your area or watch a funny dating-focused sitcom like Master Of None. They say laughter is the best medicine, after all.
  10. Go on another date. A rebound date, if you will. The only way to truly forget about your last bad dating experience is to put yourself out there yet again and just keep at it. It sucks, but the longer you keep worrying about how your bad luck, the longer you’re going to stay single. So try again.

How not to let disappointing datings experiences get you down

  1. Remember your Worst Date Ever. We all have one. That guy insulted you for an entire two hours straight. The one who rescheduled a bunch of times and then had the nerve to be late. The one who straight-up requested a hookup ASAP or talked about himself non-stop. Whenever you go on a bad date, just think about the fact that it’s probably not your Worst Date Ever, and you’ll instantly feel a thousand times better. It can always be worse, right? Somehow that’s super comforting.
  2. Share your stories. Our BFFs make our worlds go round and they can make the process of searching for love a lot more tolerable. Text your girlfriends and head to a bar to swap your worst dating tales. Or write about your less than amazing dates, whether for a website or your own personal blog (or even your own personal diary if you’re old-school). Tell one person or a million, just make sure you tell someone. You always feel better when you talk about something instead of just letting it slowly eat you alive.
  3. Indulge in some pop culture therapy. Whether you swear by T-Swift’s love-advice-in-song or are still mourning the end of Friends, the first thing you need to do after a bad date is take your mind off it. Watch a sitcom or a silly reality show or read a juicy mystery novel. You’ll be reminded that fun still exists in the world, no matter how dull your date was.
  4. Take a break or jump right back in. Sure, these two things are total opposites, but that’s kind of the point. Sometimes you need a serious break from dating and other times you want to go on another date pretty soon so you can definitely forget about your most recent one. Listen to yourself and be kind. You’re not a loser if you need a month to just chill out, focus on work and see your friends. And you’re not desperate if you want to line up a few dates because you’re so focused on finding The One. It’s all good.
  5. Break a sweat. Exercise gives you endorphins, and happy people don’t kill their husbands. Remember the fabulous pink world of Legally Blonde? Follow Elle’s super sage advice and check out that barre class you’ve been dying to try. You know that you don’t exactly feel your best after living on junk food and not moving from your bed or couch, so working out can only make things much better. You want to not dwell on your date so anything that can take your mind off it is a good idea.
  6. Judge yourself. In a good way, of course. Analyze the date and think about your performance. A date can feel like a job interview, which unfortunately can’t always be avoided, so consider it the same as if you were trying to land your dream job. Did you try too hard to be funny and it didn’t come off all that natural? Or were your jokes totally on point and he was just humorless? Did you ramble and cut him off mid-sentence or were you a perfect listener? We can always grow and learn and change, so think of your bad dates as learning experiences, and you’ll always be glad you went, no matter how bad the outcome.
  7. Judge him. Think about what qualities you want in a partner and whether this guy had any of them. Maybe he seemed pretty awesome but there were one or two things that were total turn-offs (like he’s a frequent smoker and/or has zero career motivation). This is always a good idea because then you will be way more prepared the next time you venture out to a bar in your fave date outfit (you know you have one).
  8. Feel like the pro that you are. You’ve gone on so many dates you should totally have a degree in it by now, so why not act like you do? You’re a pro by now and you know what makes a good date and what makes you want to run away screaming. You should be proud of all your bad dates because a) you don’t act like a damsel in distress who will accept any behavior from the men and b) you’re willing to hold out for the right person. Those are all huge pluses.
  9. Fill up your calendar. Take yourself on dates or spend time with your friends and family. The busier you are, the less you’ll worry about still being single or whether you’re ever going to meet a nice guy. Don’t save all your free evenings for dates that might be fun but might go nowhere at all. If you have a clear head about the whole thing, you’ll end up with what you want.
Aya Tsintziras is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor from Toronto, Canada. In addition to writing about dating and relationships for Bolde, she also writes about movies, TV, and video games for ScreenRant and GameRant. She has a Political Science degree from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Journalism from Ryerson University. You can find her on Twitter @ayatsintziras and on Instagram @aya.tsintziras.