The Best Thing to Say (or Text) After a Bad First Date

or how to let someone down gently




The other night, I went on a bad date.

I hesitate to call it a bad date because there was nothing specifically awful about it — he showed up on time, asked the right questions, and slipped his hand into mine at the end of the night without making it awkward.

Really, it wasn’t a bad date — it was an okay date.

Just okay.

There was no spark, no connection, and throughout the entire night, there was an odd gut feeling about the guy that I just couldn’t pinpoint. It felt like I was drinking a cup of lukewarm coffee — I could tolerate it and maybe even enjoy it if I really tried, but I wasn’t going to order it off the menu.

Part of my uneasiness may have had to do with the circumstances behind the situation. My date was a guy from one of my classes who’d asked me out once before. Still raw and nursing my emotional wounds from a recent break-up, I’d declined his offer.

A couple of months later, I encountered him again and we spent an hour or so talking. He asked if I was seeing anyone and his eyes lit up when he found out I wasn’t. Even though I could already feel the lack of a spark, I felt obligated to give him a chance.

I figured that, in a more romantic setting, things might feel differently. As if a romantic connection might suddenly pop up underneath the dim lights of dinner or while we strolled together in the chilly winter air.

Unfortunately, it didn’t.

Although I usually like to go on two or three dates with someone before I even think about emotional connections, I could just tell that nothing was going to come of this situation. There were no red flags — it was just an uneasy gut feeling that made me hesitate when he tried to make more plans.

When I walked away from the date, we had tentative plans to meet up later in the week. I debated following up on those plans and seeing him one more time to make sure there truly wasn’t something there, but thinking about it only made the uneasy feeling in my gut flare back up.

I didn’t want to drink lukewarm coffee for a second time.




When I’m not writing, you can usually find me hanging out with my cats