It’s bound to happen if you’re single. Some well intentioned friend or acquaintance will come to you full of excitement and want to set you up with the perfect person.
You may balk at first, but then you think, “Oh why not? What have I got to lose?” and you agree to meet Mr. or Ms. Perfect.
As the big night approaches, keep an open mind and follow these ten tips to make it an enjoyable experience.
Enter the date with a blank slate approach
It is best to apply the pinch of salt rule here – Whatever information you think you know about them or how much they’ve been bigged up by your friends, don’t get carried away.
People LOVE to exaggerate and they tend to tell you about qualities that the person fails to exhibit on the date but leave out crucial nuggets of information.
Always remember: people have their ‘date version’ and their ‘friend version’ so unless these people have actually dated your date, they really just don’t know half the time! Which brings me to…
Don’t be toooooo familiar
I know you’ve been set up and may know a little info where some of it can be used for conversation fodder…but proceed with caution. You may get carried away and repeat something that wasn’t intended for consumption…
Manage your expectations
This is a dating opportunity. You don’t have to get married, you don’t have to see them again after this date if you don’t want to, and you certainly don’t have to like or sleep with them. It’s a date like any other date except for that you got set up…and they know your friend.
I know, I know, awkward sometimes! It is a good idea to draw a line in the sand before the date with your friend so that they manage their expectations too. This way you can find out if they’re the sort that will take offense if you don’t come back with glowing praise.
Remember that your friend is the introducer not the facilitator of your date
Think of it like using a free dating agency. Would you phone them up and cuss them because your date wasn’t what was expected? Would you expect the agency to run interference between you both? From the moment that you arrange the date, three is a crowd.
You also don’t want to get into high school territory with the whole getting your mate to find out what the score is. Do your own dirty work! Oh and obviously if things go sour, the last thing that your friend will want to be accused of is having any part in it!
There is a reason why I mention positivity a lot when it comes to dating and it’s purely because your attitude and mind-frame have a lot to do with how much you will enjoy the date.
Be negative and you’ll find something negative to say about them. Avoid being hyper-critical – you are not Simon Cowell and try not to start mentally comparing them against your checklist and focus on engaging with your date.
Get over the fact that it’s a set-up
Some people really struggle with the whole ‘I’ve been set up by my friends’ thing – It’s not always ideal…but it’s an opportunity to have some fun.
Worse case scenerio, you have Another Bad Date Story to laugh at and stone cold proof that the person responsible for the set-up should stick to their day job.
Best case scenario – you meet someone you really like, have a few dates, or even end up starting a relationship.
Choose an open, neutral spot
I don’t care if your date knows your brother who knows your friend who knows your Aunt May - don’t use the fact that your date has been referred to you to jump a few stages and invite them to your place. For totally blind dates, make sure you let people know where you’re going.
Don’t knee-jerk out of the date too soon..but have a back-up plan
There is many a date of mine who has been victim to the emergency phone call that I just have to take. You can however take the pressure off both of you by being up front and honest.
Tell them that you know that set-ups/blind dates can be awkward and agree that if you’re still uncomfortable in an hour, you can go your separate ways. But, make an effort for the whole time you’re there and give the person a chance.
People will find any ‘ole excuse to leapfrog the formalities on first dates but remember when Carrie shagged the best man at Charlotte’s wedding to Harry in Sex and the City? Aside from him committing the cardinal sin of shagging like a teenage jackhammer on crack, he couldn’t handle being ‘used’ and blabbed to everyone.
Now this is an extreme, fictional, situation but my point is that normally when you shag around, your friends are unlikely to know about it unless you tell them. Do you want to be discussed in this way? Aside from that, let’s say you don’t end up seeing each other again, you’ll feel really awkward around the set-up friend because you’ll be wondering if they know. That and if you’re not happy about the outcome, you’ll be tempted to grill them.
Standard fare you may say but I know a lot of people who treat dates like routine, annoying, trips to the dentist. You might as well have fun otherwise what is the point in going unless somebody held a gun to your head and forced you…then that’s a whole other problem!