Julie had an awful day yesterday and, in turn, it possibly ruined her promising
date last night. It started off with a bang, literally. Someone began
setting off illegal fireworks in the street at 3 a.m., waking Julie up. After
finally falling back to sleep an hour later, she slept through her alarm and was
late running out the door. After driving 45 minutes in rush-hour traffic Julie,
who is a junior attorney at a medium-sized law firm, arrived in court to
discover that the case she had been working on until 10 every night for the past
month was being continued.
When she finally got to her office, there was
a message waiting for her from one of the law firm partners asking her to come
and see him. Since there was no reference to what the meeting was about, Julie
became very nervous and started biting her freshly manicured nails.
she met with him, the partner told Julie that they needed her to start taking on
What!? She was already swamped at work with files
stacked over her head, and she worked longer hours than anyone else – even newer
associates. The week before, at the last minute, one of the partners had
asked to her take a flight with him across the state to attend court with him
because he wasn’t prepared, and she had done all the work for him. And
this was after receiving less of a bonus than expected due to the economy.
Needless to say, she was irritated and chewed her way through 10 nails’ worth of
Back to her bad day yesterday, the restaurant that delivered her
lunch got her order wrong, but she didn’t discover the error until it was too
late. And then she got a text from her mother telling her that a close relative
was in the hospital. Whew! What a day! And it wasn’t over yet – she still had to
show up for her date.
By the time Julie left work, the office was empty.
She had to rush home to freshen up for the date she had been extremely excited
about but was now dreading. She had thought about canceling but ran out of time
during the day to call, so now she was stuck going on the date in a terrible
mood, with no energy and barely enough time to roll on some more
She called me on her way to the encounter, and I gave her a
pep talk. I reminded her how excited she was about this prospect – his
qualities, hobbies and looks, all of which she was attracted to. I told her to
start with faking a smile while she was talking to me, since smiling sends a
message to your brain that you’re happy, and that will cause a negative mind-set
to turn positive. It’s all about the serotonin.
By the time she arrived
at the restaurant, I think she was in a better mood, but it still wasn’t going
to be the best representation of who she was.
So what can you do when
you’re having a bad day and are supposed to be going on a date? You have a few
options: (1) you can try to reschedule. Call early enough in the day (before 2
p.m.), explain that your day is not going well and that you want to be at your
best for the date and see if he or she is available later that week. (1a) If you
can’t reschedule for anytime soon, let the person know you’d rather see him or
her sooner rather than later and you’ll try to turn your day around and that you
look forward to the date ending your day on a better note.
Julie, it’s too late to reschedule, then go to option (2). Try to see if you can
push back the time of the date so you can go home and freshen up, maybe take a
quick soak in the tub to decompress, definitely reapply deodorant and makeup,
run a brush through your hair and change your clothes. If your date can’t meet
you so late, then go to 2a). Try to separate business from pleasure by getting
out of that suit (always have a change of shoes and a top at the office just in
case) and remember: Your life partner is going to have to support you through
thick and thin, so there’s no reason to pretend your life is perfect. Try to
keep the description of your bad day to a minimum and concentrate on getting to
know each other by discussing fun, positive topics.
You don’t want to
seem too high maintenance by calling to reschedule too often with the same
person. And you don’t want to reschedule a date too late or with too many
demands (different time, different place, different activity, different
transportation). Just ask for an extra hour to freshen up before meeting so that
you can be at your best. And if you have to reschedule, make sure you’re as
flexible as possible with your calendar, since you’re the one changing
Once you arrive at the date, whether it’s at a different hour or
on a different day, make sure to apologize, express your appreciation and move
on to having a good time.