This Is What You Can Get Out Of A BAD Date

Even a bad date can have a silver lining to it.


Believe you me, I've had my share of dates that were, let's just say, less than impressive. But I always try my best to give credit where credit's due and when it comes to what inspired this lil' write-up, it was an article that I happened upon entitled "29 Women Reveal Their Absolute Worst First Date Stories".

MAN. One woman said she went on a first date with a guy who gave her a heads up that $10 was her limit on the menu. Another woman said that her date brought a friend who was 1) dressed up like Michael Jackson and 2) decided to do a concert for people as they waited in the ER (right…the date ended in the emergency room). Another woman said that she experienced one of the worst kisses ever while trying to tell her date about her mom being in the hospital (awk-ward). Still, another woman talked about how a dude spent the entire date reminiscing about his exes—how he lived with all of them and when they broke up, he had to go back to live with his mom. Then he proceeded to ask her about the size of her own place (SMH…this guy).


But the one that probably inspired this piece the most is the lady who went out with a guy who stole gas (she knew because he pulled up to her house with the hose still attached to his car's tank). Yeah, that sucks but, guess what? She's been married to him for 22 years now (just wow)!

Although dating—let alone marrying—someone who does a criminal act is a bit of a red flag for me personally, it does co-sign on something I do personally believe. No matter how much a date sucks, that doesn't mean that it can't come with its own silver lining or two.

Before you roll your eyes and click off of this, give me about five minutes (give or take) to explain where I'm coming from. Then think back on some of your own bad dates and see if you can pull some actual benefits out of them. Perhaps ones like the following:

You Can Figure Out What “a Date” Is to You


Personally, I don't get down with that whole, "If you don't have any expectations, you won't be disappointed" mentality. I say that because the people I know who claim to live like that are actually some of the most jaded and cynical people I've ever encountered. At the same time, I do think that a lot of us find ourselves unnecessarily disillusioned because we assume that just because we think that something should go a certain way that everyone else has the same mentality.

Absolutely not. Recently, I watched a video of Savannah Chrisley talking about how chivalrous her new fiancé was to the point that, on her first date, he called her dad, Todd to say he would call him once he picked her up and again once he dropped her off. Savannah also said that she hasn't touched a door since they've met. Meanwhile, I know folks who stay in relationships with guys who've never paid for a date (at most, their guy will do Dutch) and hasn't done anything to write home to dad about.

Why do women put up with Column B? I think a part of the reason is they don't really think about what a date means to them—what standards they have. For instance, do you want to be picked up? Do you want him to plan the date himself? Do you always want him to pay?

A good thing that can come from going on bad dates is it can give you clarity on what you expect, moving forward. Like, if you want a man to go through the effort to plan the date and the next guy asks you out and says, "I dunno. What do you want to do?" -- you can already decide if he's worth two hours on a Saturday night. Or not. If you want chivalry to be in full effect but the guy doesn't open a single door, maybe there doesn't need to be a second date.

You’ll Learn How to Sense Red Flags Quicker


They say that hindsight is 20/20, but just think about all of the time, effort and energy (not to mention all of the blood, sweat and tears) that could be spared if we learned how to recognize red flags in someone out the gate.

Some first date red flags—a man who shows up late (he doesn't value your time); a man who flirts with your server (he's disrespectful); a man who orders for you (unless he already knows what you like, he's too pushy); a man who checks his phone (he's flippant and distracted); a man who brings up sex too quickly (ugh…just ugh) and a man who's all talk and no listen (he's confrontational and probably a know- it-all).

Some after the first date red flags—he's an exaggerator (that's a step away from being a liar); he never really makes plans in advance (again, he doesn't value you as much as he should); he doesn't make good on his promises (he can't fully be trusted); he always makes the date/relationship decisions (he's inconsiderate and selfish) and you're doing most of the work to make the relationship work (he isn't all in).

If you experience any of these things on your date, it's uncomfortable and unfortunate, there's no doubt about that. But sometimes, seeing these kinds of flags spelled out in black and white can help you to realize how to detect them quicker…just in time for the next date, with the next man.

It Has a Way of Making You a Better Communicator


Sometimes dates are a dud, not because the guy isn't attractive or a gentleman; it's just that there doesn't seem to be much of a connection. Sometimes, that's because something within the communication is a bit off.

If you were to be honest with yourself, that might not have been all on him. It can be challenging to strike up conversations with someone that you barely know. If you totally feel where I'm coming from, it can't hurt to think about what you would do differently, communication-wise, on your next date. What would you like to know? What kind of questions would you ask? How would you approach awkward moments of radio silence?

Although it would be nice if all dates flowed seamlessly, this is not a rom-com, it's the real world. Sometimes there needs to be a plan of action, even as it relates to communication.

It Can Boost Your Confidence Levels


There are the kind of dates that, even as you're on them, you end up telling yourself that you probably won't go on a second one. Not because anything is wrong per se; it's more like something doesn't feel quite right. Then there are the kind of dates that makes you get up to call a ride before dessert is even served. Either the guy is rude to the rest of the staff or the stuff he says (or asks) you is totally inappropriate.

Column A sucks but Column B is much worse. There still is an upside, though. When a bad date happens and you decide that you deserve more (column A) or better (column B) and you make a conscious decision to not go on another date (column A) or continue the one that you're currently on (column B), the boundaries that you set can be super self-affirming. It can remind you to not settle for less, even when it comes to a two-hour outing.

It Can Also Make You More Empathetic and Compassionate


Suppose your date was a set up and 20 minutes into it, you think to yourself, "Yeeeeah, this isn't gonna work." Maybe you're not physically attracted to him. Maybe you don't feel a spark or any real chemistry. Maybe he's already said or did something that has automatically made you want to friend zone him. Before you text one of your girlfriends to call you so that you can cut your date short, now is the time to implement the Golden Rule. How would you feel if he abruptly left you in the middle of the date because there was no romantic connection?

Another good thing that can come out of a bad date is it can test your level of empathy (putting yourself in someone else's shoes) and compassion (wanting to relieve the suffering that someone may be experiencing). If you put these two things into practice, it will only benefit you in the long run because even when you do meet "the one", you're going to need to extend empathy and compassion to him in order for the relationship to go the distance. (Just ask any married person that you know.)

You Will Get a Better Sense of What You Want


One of my favorite dates of all-time consisted of going zip-lining in the morning and a four-star dinner in the evening. Everything was a total surprise. At the end of the all-day-date, I asked the guy how he came up with the idea. He said he wanted us to both do something we'd never done before together and, because some of our best memories consisted of being around food, he then wanted us to enjoy a new high-scale restaurant. The proactiveness, the thoughtfulness and the reasoning behind it all caused me to raise the bar of expectations when it comes to dates moving forward. No longer do I just want dinner and a movie, simply because I now know, firsthand, that men can be a lot more creative than that—when they want to be.

So, when another guy thought bringing fast food over to my house to watch On-Demand was the idea of a first date, his visit got cut short. His lack of investing into the date was like…a forecast into what our future would be like.

So yeah, to me, another benefit that can come from a sucky date is it can provide you with clarity regarding what you want from dates (and relationships), moving forward. #givethanks

It Can Make YOU a Better Date


Something that I think far too many of us overlook is, whether a date is good or bad, it can be a teachable moment. It can reveal to you what your expectations and triggers are. It can show you how good (or not so good) you are at engaging another individual. It can help you to discover the strengths that you have in dealing with others, along with your weaknesses.

Keeping all this in mind, if you take nothing else from this lil' write up, at least be willing to use your bad date experiences as an opportunity to learn more about yourself. If you do that—and I mean really do that—you significantly increase your chances of heading bad dates off before they even begin. Guaranteed.

Featured image by Getty Images

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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