I asked readers for questions on online dating from ladies and men, and you really came through! Thank you so much.
Q: How do you politely end a disastrous first date?
A: First of all- set a time limit for your first date of about an hour. After that, you have a good idea of whether or not you’d like to spend more time with that person. Come pre-loaded with an excuse like meeting a friend, or an appointment elsewhere. Good ideas for first dates include small things, like meeting for a coffee or a drink. Terrible first date ideas include: attending your cousin’s wedding, going on a road trip to Montreal, or taking a six week long Cantonese cooking course.
No matter how awkward the date is, you can give someone an hour of your time, then bow out and thank them for meeting with you. You might get a story out of it, or make a friend, or learn something you didn’t know before. Being polite costs nothing.
Of course, if after an hour you are both looking at each other with sparkly eyes and you just ate a piece of spaghetti together and kissed at the end, you can totally agree to continue the date.
Q: When should you let someone know whether or not you’d like to see them again?
A: If you have the gumption to tell someone face to face that you really enjoyed meeting them and ask if you can see them again, do so. It’s the romantic thing to do. Otherwise, say nothing, slink away and text them surreptitiously when you get back to your car, or send them a message online.
If you don’t want to see them again after the first date, just say nothing. This is the default setting.
Q: I’m out on a date in a bar, but I see another attractive person in the room. Since I’m not in a relationship, isn’t it fine to chat up and ask that person out as well?
A: This is incredibly rude, and telling me that I’m being ridiculous and it wasn’t rude at all doesn’t change anything, Matt!
When you’re on a date, that time belongs to that person. If you can’t commit to giving one person your undivided attention for a few hours, don’t go on dates, just keep swiping on Tinder.
Q: I’m on a first date with someone who I really like- in the interest of transparency, don’t I need to tell them that I have other first dates planned?
A: Not only is this none of their business, it’s actually a bit rude. Going on a first date is more like going on a job interview than it is a romantic event. You wouldn’t tell an interviewer how many other companies you were trying to get hired at, right? Not until it was time to talk money. Treat dating the same way, except never talk about money because then you’re not dating, you’re an escort.
Q: When can I assume that the person I’m seeing isn’t seeing other people?
A: Never. Even if you fall in love and move in together and she supports you through graduate school and you stick by her side after she loses her pet hamster in a freak road paving accident, and you get older, start wearing only sweatpants and eventually die holding hands in front of the television, unless you have specifically asked “are you interested in being monogamous?”, you’re best off assuming she was continuing to see other people throughout.