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How to Act on a First Date When Things Aren’t Going Well

Recently I showed up to a first date to be greeted with somewhat of a lacklustre response.

I met her in a public place (as specified in my first date blueprint), near the bar I’d chosen as our date venue.

She was standing waiting, absentmindedly glancing at her phone.

I approached, touched her arm, and introduced myself.

I like to think I’m good at reading body language. I’ve read several books on the subject, including Alan and Barbara Pease’s classic The Definitive Book of Body Language and practised the techniques extensively in both business and social settings.

Doomed from the start

The signals this woman were giving off as I led her the short distance from our rendezvous point to the bar were not positive.

  • She didn’t say ‘pleased to meet you’ or similar when we met
  • She didn’t hold eye contact.
  • She didn’t smile.
  • Her arms were crossed as we walked.
  • She didn’t work to fill in the silences I deliberately left in the conversation to gauge her interest.
  • When I told her which bar we were going to she questioned it.
  • She responded to my questions with short, often one word, answers.

My heart sank a little. Negative thoughts began popping into my mind.

  • She’s not attracted to me.
  • She doesn’t want to be on this date.
  • I’ve already been rejected once this week, I don’t want to go through it again.
  • I hope she puts some effort into communicating with me or this is going to be awkward.

I let these thoughts drift across and out of my mind, without grabbing on to any of them, realising it was simply my no-good ego attempting to de-rail me.

I was determined to plough on despite the lack of attraction.

We arrived at the bar, I ordered the first round, and we got chatting. The initial interactions were stiff. The conversation felt forced. It didn’t flow naturally like dates should.

And then, about 30 minutes in, something wonderful happened.

I said something and she laughed.

Not an I’m-being-polite chuckle, but a hand covering mouth, I-can’t-believe-you-just-said-that, genuine roar. Her eyes lit up and she beamed at me.

‘You’re funny!’ she exclaimed.

At that moment I knew it was on.

A while later I told her she gave me the impression she wasn’t in to me when we first met.

‘Oh no!’, she exclaimed. ‘I was just nervous.’

Maintain state no matter what

Her nervousness at the start of the date made her act aloof, which I wrongly interpreted as disinterest.

Had I let the negative thoughts this brought up in me take hold, my confidence would have dropped, my attitude worsen, and my body language close off.

This cocktail of negative energy would have made her feel MORE nervous and the date would have quickly spiralled downwards.

However, by maintaining my inner state, continuing to lead, and doing everything I do on all dates, I was able to help her feel less nervous. And when her nervousness fell away, I was able to see her true personality, and realise she was attracted to me.

Maintain your state regardless of how you feel the date is going. Because sometimes you will get it wrong.

By being present, authentic, and not worrying too much about how it’s going you give her the space to relax and let go of her own negative emotions. This makes her feel better, which makes you feel better, which is more likely to result in the two of you making a meaningful, human connection.

Only then will you get to know the real her, and begin to get a sense of whether she is someone you want in your life, how you can benefit hers, and what type of relationship you want.

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