Metro

Dating Games: Because I had a bad day

What can you do when your day is not going well and you are supposed to be going on a date?

Bad Day (illustrative)
Photo by: Pepe Fainberg
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.

When she met with him, the partner told Julie that they needed her to start taking on more responsibilities.

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 polish.

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 deodorant.

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.

If, like 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 plans.

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.


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