How to Recover After a Bad Date

Bad dates happen to everyone. You go out on a date, and everything falls flat. The conversation starts awkward and stays that way all night long. Maybe something embarrassing happens, like spilling wine all over your best formal wear. Or maybe everything went well, but your date won't return your calls afterward.

When you have bad dating experiences, you may feel tempted to blame yourself or (after a really bad date) abandon dating entirely.

If you find yourself in this situation, don't give up. You will connect with the right person eventually, so don't let one bad experience take you away from the dating scene. Use the tips below to recover and move on so you don't miss out on any great opportunities.

1. Don't blame yourself.

Again, don't try to assign blame. Everyone experiences a bad date every once in a while, and many factors contributed to its awfulness. Maybe your date had experienced a disappointment beforehand, or maybe he or she has an outgoing persona online, but a shy personality in reality.

No matter what made the date go sour, accept that it happened and move on. Don't sit and berate yourself for your missteps, real or perceived.

2. Analyse the date and find out what went wrong.

When you've gotten over your anger and discouragement, take a step back and objectively analyse the date. What went wrong? Sometimes you can find an obvious answer—maybe your date had a nut allergy and didn't realize the restaurant put nuts in its pesto. But sometimes you can't find an obvious answer right away.

Reflect on your date for a little while. Write everything down to keep your thoughts organized.

Once you've gone over everything, make a list of things you could change. These faults didn't necessarily ruin the date—it takes two people to create a great date—but addressing them could help you have a better experience in the future.

3. Learn from mistakes.

Everyone makes mistakes, so don't berate yourself if you made a few. Once you pinpoint what you could have done better, make a plan to overcome that fault so you can avoid it on your next date. You could do something as simple as choosing a better activity or brainstorming conversation topics beforehand.

4. Congratulate yourself on what went right.

Even though you had a bad date, something went right. Did you remember to interact respectfully? Did you choose a fantastic activity? Did you fit everything into your date's tight schedule?

Give yourself credit for what you did right. This will help you to feel good about future dating prospects. Even if this date didn't go well, you still have much to offer another person.

5. Make amends with your date or yourself.

Once you've come to terms with the date, you have to make a choice. Do you want to try another date with this particular person? Or do you feel like you need some recovery time before you date again?

Making Amends with Your Date

If you want to make amends with your date, recognise that he or she may turn you down if you ask again. But if you want to try anyway, you should do the following over the phone, text, or email:

  • Thank him or her for agreeing to go on a date with you.
  • State your desire to see this person again.
  • Address what went wrong on the date, apologise and try to respectfully make light of the situation.

You should only contact your date once. If he or she turns you down after hearing or seeing this message, then accept his or her decision and move on.

Making Amends with Yourself

Sometimes you just need to take a break after a bad date. Use this time to focus on yourself. Go out with your friends, and spend some time on your personal development. You'll rediscover your amazing qualities, and you'll regain the confidence to date again.


Don't let a bad date discourage you. Use these tips to move past your bad dates so you can approach new ones with enthusiasm and confidence. You never know—your next date could be with your perfect match.