How to Survive a Blind Date in 6 Easy Steps

photo by paris_corrupted

The blind date is alive and well, thanks to online dating and well-intentioned grandmothers. But what if your blind date turns out to be a loud talker with halitosis and a goiter? Given the odds, it’s amazing that otherwise intelligent beings ever agree to a blind date. Call it hope triumphing over experience. Or maybe you’ve just got a soft spot for your grandmother. Whatever got you there, remember that by agreeing to the date, you’re bound by a social contract to act nicely, regardless of the growth the size of a football protruding from your date’s neck.

  1. There are several ways to ease the inevitable pain of the blind date. First, plan it with care. No dinner (too long), no movies (too anti-social), no weekend getaways to Niagara Falls (too freaking weird). Just one coffee, one drink, or one quick bite on your lunch break — the operative word here being ONE. It’s way easier to extend a date on the fly than it is to cut one short. If either of you is a fan of pool or darts, then you’re in luck: Both activities allow for conversation while providing a mild distraction if that conversation should prove to be less than scintillating.
  2. Set up your escape route beforehand: Have somewhere to be later. It makes a bad date more bearable if you have something pleasant to look forward to. And let your date know up-front that you’ll eventually have to dash, so they don’t take it personally when you do. If things are going really well, why not be old-fashioned and save something for the second date — delayed gratification always makes things hotter.
  3. Once the blind date has begun, you have to let it play out. We think 45 minutes minimum is a nice gesture. Think of it as a deal with Cupid: You give up 45 minutes for the chance to meet the love of your life (or at least get the best sex of your life). If this doesn’t happen, well, sucks to be you. But you’ve still got to make good on your end of the deal. Call it karma. And no, staying until you finish your drink is not leading someone on, it’s simply the nice thing to do.
  4. As is being attentive for that 45 minutes. We don’t care if you realize within the first 30 seconds you have no desire to know or do this person. Rudeness is not the right way to let them know you’re not interested. At the very least, turn the encounter into a learning experience — they must know something you don’t (capital cities in the southern hemisphere, perhaps?). Just because a human interaction is an isolated occurrence, doesn’t make it meaningless or worthless.
  5. Which means, yes, you can’t excuse yourself to the bathroom and never come back. You can’t fake anything: a cramp, a food allergy reaction, an epileptic attack, a bad case of the runs. You can’t have a friend call you with an “emergency” — this trick has been done to death. And you definitely can’t have any friends stop by to “save” you.
  6. There are only two exceptions to the 45 minute rule: when your date is a pants-on-fire liar or a complete ass. Maybe they posted a decades-old photo online or exaggerated their weight by, oh, a hundred pounds. (Note: a couple of extra pounds, a few missing inches, or a change in sideburn length does not count.) Or maybe they’re a racist or a sexist or a homophobe. In any of these cases, feel free to say you’ve been mislead or are uncomfortable, and then hit the road. In all other cases, suck it up and suck down that drink.

This column also appeared in print in Metro


  1. I know a guy who agreed to a blind date with a woman, set up through their grandmothers (yes, really…). The guy and his would-be date talked on the phone and really hit it off. Then he cancelled the date after they became facebook friends.

    I figured out what happened. He wasn’t into her appearance, and freaked out when he saw the pic.

    I thought, “what a fucking asshole.” If you agree to a blind date – BLIND, meaning you haven’t even seen the person – the implication is that you’re not shallow about appearance. If appearance is a big deal to you – or even somewhat important – why would you EVER agree to a blind, sight-unseen date?

  2. always make it a very public place, just to be safe.

    and maybe have some interesting convo starts ready in case it falls flat… like what you found interesting about the latest big documentary that came out.

  3. I’ve found that the best way of diffusing the initial awkwardness of a blind date (or internet date) is to comment on it, to kind of let the air out of that particular balloon for both people.

    “so… this is weird huh?” … something like that only clever… 🙂

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