Lessons learned from bad dating etiquette
February 14, 2008
Imagine yourself having dinner with a new acquaintance or a significant other. You order the chicken fried steak smothered in gravy with mash potatoes, which you promptly demolish. Your date orders a burger with fries. You make the comment that maybe he or she should have a salad instead, then wonder why he or she doesn’t call you back for another date.
After making many such blunders myself on dates and in relationships I thought I would share a few mistakes I’ve made that didn’t turn out so well, in the hopes that you can avoid them.
– Asked date to split the check on the first date.
– During dinner, talked about how stupid credit cards are and that they are only for stupid people.
– Made reference via MySpace about how she looked like Pat, the ambiguous gender character on Saturday Night Live as a joke. She didn’t think it was funny.
– Made comment that her not wearing a helmet while dirtbiking explained a few things.
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– Didn’t offer thanks after getting a cooking tip.
– Drank a lot of alcohol one night and wrote disparaging things on a dorm wall next to a romantic interest’s room because I was mad about a concert ticket exchange.
– Suggested she run around the block a few times after a large dinner.
– Paid to have my romantic interest thrown in “jail” several times during a high school fundraiser, from which she couldn’t be released until people donated money on her behalf.
– Made a girlfriend push my pickup to help jump-start it while on a date.
– Didn’t pay attention to my date all evening and let my guy friend hang out with her all night. They ended up hooking up that night.
– Didn’t call back after hooking up one night while on a ski trip at Mt. Bachelor.
– Made plans to hang out one evening but stayed at Beaver Creek for shopping and dinner with ski friends.
– Got drunk and passed out while girlfriend was awake and restless on multiple occasions.
– Left girlfriend outside of bar for half an hour at Oktoberfest after bar maxed out capacity.
– Yelled at girlfriend for having dessert too close to the broiler after it caught fire in the oven.
– Continued to play video games at a coworkers LAN party well hours after I told girlfriend I’d be home.
– Stole girlfriend’s cigarettes to try and help her quit smoking.
I still offend my girlfriend on occasion. Sometimes I know it might be offensive, sometimes I don’t. Here’s a second list that seems to alleviate the painful moments:
– Express my sincere apology at off-handed comments and keep negative ones to myself.
– Call ahead if I’m going to be late.
– Buy small gifts for her.
– Listen to her when she’s venting.
– Tell her how well she looks/smells.
– Pay attention to her when we’re together.
– Call her back in a reasonable amount of time.
– Take her out to dinner on occasion.
– Give her a massage, something I don’t do often enough.
– Open doors for her, also something I don’t do often enough.
One last thing to keep in mind is that everyone’s different. Even with these suggestions some people may not want to stay in contact. In these scenarios it’s best to cut your losses and keep looking for that Mr. or Ms. Right.
If you’re in a committed relationship and if it’s worth it to both of you to stay together then I recommend a couple’s counseling session. Many companies offer employee assistance programs to full-time employees that cover multiple free counseling sessions. Having gone, singly, to a few sessions, I can say that they’ve helped me reduce the amount of stress in my life and improved my relationships.
Mark Pearson searches for the meaning of life as a single man in the Rocky Mountains