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Blind Date Etiquette

If a first date isn't going well, is cutting it off early acceptable or is it just rude? The 4-way panel lays down some guidelines to make your blind dates as painless as possible.

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Dear 4-Way,

If you’re on blind date and things aren’t working out, at what point in the date is it acceptable to end it? I have friends who do a lot of online dating and a few have told me that once they know there’s not a love connection, they tell the other person immediately so that nobody’s time is wasted. This seems kind of rude, although it does seem like it might be easier for everyone involved. What do you guys think? —BT in Atlanta, Georgia

The gay woman’s perspective: Jody Fischer

BT, set up the date to meet for a drink or for tea. That way, if you feel the need to end things, all you need to do is finish your drink. For me, a blind date isn’t a matter of wasting time. I ask myself if I can learn something from this person or how I am feeling when I am with her. I don’t know about you, but I can’t figure all that out quickly.

Bottom line, I guess we all want to be treated with respect. Some feel that it’s respectful to not let things get too uncomfortable and to call it off right away. Others say that it’s important to wait. So what’s the proper answer? It’s a gray area.

The straight man’s perspective: Chris Kennedy

My advice on blind dates: K.I.S.S.! Keep It Short, Stupid. Don’t make big or elaborate plans: dinners, walks on the beach, flights to Paris. Instead, meet for a coffee, a drink, or a Pinkberry frozen yogurt. (Freebies for a shameless plug?) The acceptable end of the date is when you reach the bottom of your mug or dish.

If you’re both interested, the blind will find time to “see” each other again.

The straight woman’s perspective: Rebecca Brown

I guess that depends on your definition of “working out.” If you recognize your date from, say, a sketch on the FBI’s Web site, then yes, I can see why you might want to call it an early night. But let’s say you’ve got a chronic spitter on your hands (it’s happened), or maybe an oblivious gas-passer (God help you), or perhaps even a victim of social Tourette’s. Or even worse, you meet someone who so obviously submitted a picture from 1982 when scalp hair was as plentiful as Cabbage Patch dolls.

I believe they are all worth your time for ONE DRINK, BT. Why? Because the alternative is rude. And also because the world is all about karma. As Paul McCartney and company said so beautifully, the love you take is equal to the love you make. What kind of love are you making for yourself or others if you don’t even give someone a chance? And if that’s too lofty an idea for you, think of it this way: maybe they know someone you’ll like better.

The gay man’s perspective: Darren Maddox

BT, you’ve got to have some tact here, but if you’ve kicked the tires and you’re not interested in taking him for a spin, move on. However, don’t tell the person during an appetizer. That’s just wrong. And if time is so valuable to your friends that they would tell someone between salad and the entrée that they are going to move on to bachelor #9878, I’ll guess their dating pool will get pretty shallow before too long. Let’s face facts; your gut is never wrong. If it hops like a frog and croaks like a frog, the likelihood of getting your Prince Charming from him is slim to none. Just be nice. He could know many other tadpoles.

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