30 Dates That Didn’t Go Well At All, As Shared In This Twitter ThreadInterview
You’ve made a reservation at the trendiest restaurant in your neighborhood. If dinner goes well, you know of a bar around the corner where you can suggest going for drinks on the terrace. You spritz on a little perfume, brush your teeth and hope that the butterflies in your stomach start to calm down. Then you’re off, onto a first date where you could potentially meet the love of your life. Or have a new story to tell as your “worst dating experience ever”.
Dating can be painfully difficult, so almost everyone has a few horror stories in their back pocket to share at parties. 2 weeks ago, Twitter user Andie Dyer asked followers for their bad date stories, and boy, have some of these people been on awful dates. We’ve compiled a list of some of the worst down below for you to read, as well as an interview with Andie to hear what sparked this conversation in the first place and interviews with dating and relationship coaches Rachel New and Megan Weks. So if you’re in a relationship, you can be glad you’ve escaped the cesspool that is modern dating, and if you’re single and looking for love, please don’t let this list discourage you. Enjoy these stories, then if you’re interested in reading even more wild dating experiences, we’ve got the perfect Bored Panda article for you to check out next right here.
In theory, dating is so simple. Find someone you like, let them know, see if they feel the same way, and if they do, you two can be together. If they don’t, well, onto the next. But especially at this day in age, where people seem to get pickier and pickier, and online dating allows us to see infinite options of people, dating has become an extremely complex dance.
Back “in the day”, it was also usually assumed that everyone wanted the same thing. Most people wanted to be married and have a family, so it was implied that dating was heading in that direction. I’m not saying the old heteronormative dating standards were a good thing, and it’s definitely not true that everyone wants to have a family. But today, because there is a much wider range of what is acceptable for daters to be looking for (from open relationships, to never wanting to get married, to having casual flings, etc.), it can be more confusing than ever trying to navigate the dating pool.
We reached out to Andie to hear what inspired him to start this conversation, and he told us the bike date was actually eight years ago. "I had posted it on my Facebook at the time and it came up as one of those 'on this day' things a few days ago," he told us. "I'd forgotten all about it and it made me laugh, so I posted it on Twitter. I didn't expect it to be so widely responded to. I guess it resonated with people."
We also asked Andie if he thinks it's more common to have bad dates than good ones. "I wouldn't say I've had as many bad dates as dates that didn't work out, but reading back some people's responses made me laugh (well, the humorous ones that is). I'm no expert on dating, but I think a bad date comes about when two people's traits or behaviors are polar opposite. I'm sure if you throw alcohol into the mix it then that exasperates it."
Andie reassured us that there is a happy ending to his story though. "A few weeks after this happened, I met a wonderful guy who was living in Canada," he told us. "We dated long distance for about two years, and then he moved to London and we now live here happily ever after." (He did add that his bike did not have such a happy ending though, as it was stolen a few weeks ago!)
Prior to the 20th century, dating mostly involved gentleman callers and “courtship”. Essentially, relationships were formed on the foundation of being a good societal match, rather than really falling in love. But by the 1920’s, young daters began to have many more choices. As Jodi O’Brien notes in her book Encyclopedia of Gender and Society, Volume I, “Different institutions were becoming more prominent in the lives of young men and women, such as school, college, and workplaces, which exposed them to a large pool of potential dating partners. As a result, the purpose of dating was primarily to have fun, not to find a marriage partner.” But just because they had more options does not mean that they were dating in the way millennials and Gen Zers do today. “Couples would form after several dates if they were interested in having more exclusive relationships,” Jodi writes. While that can happen today, it's also common for daters to see each other for months or even years before becoming exclusive, as they may not be in any hurry to settle down.
We also reached out to Rachel New, a dating and relationship coach, to hear from an expert why dating can be such a challenge for some of us. "Some people think of dating as a fun, light-hearted adventure, others as an ordeal – it depends a lot on how you see yourself, your history of family and romantic relationships, how resilient you are, and what your purpose in dating is," Rachel says. "If you prepare yourself for dating by working on yourself first, then it can be a much more positive experience. Dating can be hard when you’ve had negative experiences that haven’t been processed properly, because you may blame yourself rather than saying, 'We weren’t compatible'."
"Two people can experience the same date differently," Rachel explained. "One may be able to laugh about it and move on quickly when a date didn’t lead to another date, and another person may be very disappointed, feel hopeless, blame themselves or want to give up."
"Dating can also be hard when you haven’t thought through what you’re looking for, so you are just dating anybody without any sense of purpose or knowing what you want the outcome to be," Rachel told Bored Panda. "This can cause us to date more people that aren’t right for us, or to go on several dates with someone when we should have decided they weren’t right after the first date."
"Dating can be hard when we haven’t learnt how to tolerate a low level of discomfort that we get from a date with someone that turns out not to be right for you. We can get overwhelmed by feelings and thoughts afterwards, when others may just laugh and brush off the experience."
We also asked Rachel if she thinks bad dates are more common than good ones. "About one in ten first dates leads to a second date," she said. "But that doesn’t mean the other nine have to be bad. I work with people to help them learn to spot warning signs earlier and filter out some of those by asking more intentional questions while messaging, having a video-date first or a chat on the phone. And even if you discover on the date that you’re not compatible, you can still have fun and enjoy getting to know a new person and finding out about their world."
As far as her suggestions for those of us who are really struggling with dating, Rachel gave some great tips. First, she recommends keeping the first date short. "An hour for a coffee or an early evening drink is enough. Then you will have invested less and feel less disappointed if it doesn’t work out. Ideally have a video-date first. A terrible video-date can be ended more quickly!"
"Work out what you want from the date: are you looking for a long-term relationship, some short-term light-hearted dating, just a one-off evening out, a hook-up or something else. Decide what you want from the date and what constitutes success or satisfaction in advance."
"Don’t just date anyone: work out what you want from your date. If your date was terrible because the other person was a bad listener, next time find out beforehand if they have that skill, by having a video-date first or a chat on the phone."
Lastly, when a date hasn't gone well, Rachel says to, "Think or talk through with someone exactly what was terrible about the date. Was it how you felt, how they treated you, the lack of connection or something else? Occasionally there may be good reason to feel angry or hurt – for example, if you experienced prejudice or insensitivity."
"But otherwise you may need to work out why this affected you so much. Do you need to get validation from yourself rather than your date? If they had poor manners or a lack of empathy, can you imagine someone else being less affected by these experiences and if so why? Do you need to have more social connection and emotional support from others so you are more resilient to dating? It’s important to prepare for dating by building up resources and support so you are not relying on your dates for your emotional needs."
If you're interested in getting even more tips and expertise from Rachel, be sure to check out her website right here.
We also got in touch with dating and relationship coach and author Megan Weks to hear why she thinks dating is so hard. "Dating is hard because people are validating themselves by external stimuli, which causes them to take perceived dating feedback very personally." She went on to explain, "When someone ghosts for example, the person on the receiving end reads a lot into this and editorializes more meaning from the event than they ought to. The painful highs and lows of dating are caused by taking meaning from such events rather than simply moving forward through the rejections as part of the journey on the path to find the one. Usually when a rejection happens a person will lick their wounds from the event, and they may tell their friends they are 'taking a break' from dating altogether. These breaks cause a severe loss of time and even leave us vulnerable to missing the mark of our love goals, especially if there is a biological timeline in the mix."
Megan is the creator of The Manfunnel® Method, which has helped countless people find love. She explains it as "a method of dating complete with guidelines to follow like 'The Exploratory Phase', 'The Brownie', and the 'Oxytocin Cloud' to name a few, which remind us to avoid common pitfalls that most people are making out there in the dating stratosphere. Within the Manfunnel® Method of dating, there are mindsets we strive toward, which are daily reminders of the true abundance of the Universe. One of those reminders is that there is 'always another chance at love'."
We asked Megan for any tips she has for people who want to find love but have become discouraged. "It’s important to acknowledge that those who dare to continually put themselves out of their comfort zones in healthy ways are the ones who will find their pot of gold at the end of the rainbow," she told us. "If you’re experiencing a pattern of bad dates, it’s truly a sign you can deepen your dating skills. I’m such a highly skilled online dater, my team and I can guide you through a customized qualification process ensuring you’ll have much higher correlated matches online and in person. When you have more options and have better experiences by using the tools of The Manfunnel®, the good experiences fuel your excitement to keep on keeping on. At the end of the day life is better with options; we help you cultivate these with grace and integrity, all while having way more fun in your dating life."
Lastly, Megan wanted to add that, "It doesn’t have to be so hard out there. There are many tools and strategies that can be considered to improve not only your dating processes but that will prime your future relationship for success to stand the test of time. People are unskilled in relationships yet our relationships are the most important aspect of our lives. Reach out and get the support you need to grow in this area and watch each area of your life expand in ways you cannot imagine. My processes are only exactly the lessons and tools I used to expand my relationship knowledge in order to create and maintain the healthy eight year marriage I have today with my husband Josh and now thousands of other people."
If you're interested in learning more about The Manfunnel® Method, be sure to check out Megan's website right here.
Since online dating and dating apps came onto the scene, finding a partner has never been the same. It’s not necessarily easier to fall in love, but it’s definitely easier to see the dating pool and schedule more dates. Sociologist Dr. Marie Bergström told the Guardian that online dating has changed relationships in many ways, one of which being that we no longer imagine “random encounters” leading us to fall in love. She notes that this idea used to be very strong, as Hollywood often portrays love as something you just bump into one day, but now, people are more likely to be actively searching for their “soulmate”. “[Online dating] pushes you to be proactive – to go and search for this person. You shouldn’t just sit at home and wait,” Dr. Bergström says.
The idea of dating your best friend has also been around for generations, but online dating might have made that less attractive. Before we could hop on the internet to meet people, our social lives tended to be more intermingled with our dating lives, as a great way to meet people was by being set up on a blind date through mutual friends. However, one 22-year-old student interviewed in Dr. Bergström’s book, The New Laws of Love, said she likes to keep her dating life private. “There are people I could have matched with but when I saw we had so many mutual acquaintances, I said no. It immediately deters me, because I know that whatever happens between us might not stay between us. And even at the relationship level, I don’t know if it’s healthy to have so many friends in common.”
Online dating has also become so popular that the stigma around it has nearly vanished. As of 2021, there were over 234 million people using online dating apps or services around the world. And why not try them out? You can open your phone and scroll through hundreds or thousands of potential partners, depending on where you live, and easily contact them with the click of a finger. Dating apps also allow nervous users to avoid the fear of an in-person rejection, and users don’t have to wonder whether the person they’re messaging is in a relationship already. But there are downsides too. Having so much choice can be overwhelming, and daters can become fixated on finding the “perfect” match. It’s also easy for these apps to focus heavily on physical appearances, as many people will swipe left or right after only seeing a few photos. I think most of us are a lot less judgmental when we meet someone in person, but without hearing their voice, seeing their body language or knowing much about them, online daters often scrutinize others for their appearances.
Regardless of how someone met their partner, staying in a long-lasting relationship can be challenging. In fact, about 41% of all first marriages end in divorce. These rates only increase when it comes to second and third marriages as well, with about 60% and 73% ending in divorce respectively. Certain countries have it worse than others though, with about 50% of marriages in the United States failing. The country where divorce is most common is Russia, with poverty being cited as the leading cause of failed marriages. There are many factors that affect how likely a marriage is to last, including how old each partner was at the time of the marriage, their education levels, their religious affiliations, whether or not their parents divorced and whether or not they’ve been married before. At the end of the day, a successful marriage takes hard work from both parties, but when a relationship really isn't working out, there's no shame in opting for a divorce.
If you’re really having a difficult time in your dating life, you might have considered reaching out to a dating expert or matchmaker. To hear some insight from experts, Elite Daily spoke to a few professionals to see just why dating today is so challenging. Susan Winter, a New York based relationship expert noted that hookup culture isn’t making anyone’s dating life easier. “It's made it hard to define what we're doing with a person. We find ourselves asking, 'Is this a date?', 'Are we a couple?', 'What are the rules?' 'What are the expectations?' 'Am I one of many?' 'Dare I text them first?' 'Is it OK to let them know I like them?' 'If I express a concern, will they dump me?' There's no need for a 'committed relationship' if a person is primarily seeking sex. Hookups are effortless, therefore the rigors of being a 'boyfriend' or 'girlfriend' have been eliminated.”
Nicole Richardson, a licensed marriage and family therapist, notes technology for making dating more difficult. She mentions how we can easily hide behind screens and avoid any real vulnerability and intimacy. “Like social media, online dating has allowed us to invent the person we would like to be, even if that person is not truly who we are. This is often subconsciously done (I'm not talking about intentional catfishing here). By creating a profile of who you think you are or perhaps wish you were, you are potentially attracting the wrong person and setting yourself up for failure without even intending to.”
According to Logan Ury, Director of Relationship Science for the dating app Hinge, fear is another hindrance for daters. After having a few bad experiences, it’s common for people to develop FODA, or Fear of Dating Again. “Here’s how to overcome FODA,” Logan says. “First of all, understand that it’s normal to feel nervous on a date. It’s likely the other person is feeling the same way. You can break the ice by mentioning that you feel a bit out of practice. This confession will help you relax, and may even create a point of connection if your date expresses feeling the same nerves. I also recommend focusing on the other person by asking thoughtful questions and follow-ups. That’s one of the best ways to relax and get out of your own head! Finally, take your time, getting to know someone. Many of the best connections come from the slow burn, not instant chemistry or fireworks.”
We hope you're enjoying reading these horrible dating stories, but we also hope that you've never experienced anything along the same lines. When you're with the right person, dating should feel natural and easy, but it can take a long time to get to that point. Remember to upvote your favorite responses, and let us know in the comments if you have any dating horror stories you'd like to share. And if you're single and ready to mingle, please don't judge your potential suitors if they want to ride a bike to the date. Maybe they just want to limit their carbon footprint to give your future children the best planet possible!