We’ve all felt the feeling of really liking someone after a first date. We get excited and start thinking about what could be, wonder if they feel the same way, and maybe plan a pseudo-life together. So, when you don’t get those feelings, it can seem kind of off, right? When it’s less I’m floating and more it was fine, you may decide to toss your date completely, give yourself a certain number of dates together to decide if you’re into it, or do that bad thing where you keep them around until something better comes along.
Instead of all that, you really should just ask yourself one question: Am I curious to learn more about this person?
“You need time and experience with someone to know if you’re compatible, and you’re not going to get that information in one or two hours on date one,” says Andrea Syrtash, relationship expert and author of “He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s A Good Thing).” It takes time to learn about someone’s character through actions, not just words. And most times on a first date, it’s just words. Yeah, one date may have gone off on a tangent about corn dogs (which you love) and your next date didn’t. But the fact that date two failed to mention your favorite food doesn’t mean much. In a month, they may take you to see their corndog shrine, taking number one out of the running. OK, it’s not the most likely scenario, but you get the idea.
We have this idea ingrained in us that we should just know (I blame Disney). But in reality, you shouldn’t be certain whether you’re going to marry someone on date one, says Syrtash. However, let’s say time marches on, you’ve had more than one tequila soda with this person, and you’re still not sure. You’re starting to lean toward doing that thing you do — tossing them to the curb because you’re not in lurve. This is where you need to start thinking critically (sorry for giving you homework). Why are you potentially closing the door? Is it because you’re not attracted to nice people, which is a pattern you need to break? Or is it because you gave it a fair shot and were genuinely bored out of your mind? If it’s the latter, listen to that. By all means, to the curb they should be (gently) kicked. But if it’s the former, challenge yourself to break those patterns. “Ask yourself: If nobody was looking, would you want to go out again? If nobody was analyzing it, would you want to learn more?” says Syrtash.
And yes, sometimes love at first sight does happen. But majority of the time, there’s no aha! moment upon meeting. And that’s OK. Those gushy feelings usually subside over time, and in the meantime, we tend to overlook red flags or where we may not be compatible when a person seems to check all of our boxes. Come to think of it, the people I was obsessed with off the bat were part of the relationships that blew up in my face down the line. But when I’ve really paid attention and slowly gotten to know someone, it’s worked out in my favor. You have to learn to lean in to the uncomfortable feeling of the unknown and power through that uncertainty. Who knows? You could have a corndog shrine waiting for you.