How To Bounce Back After A First Date Screw Up

Women's Dating

How to Bounce Back After a First Date Screw-Up

Sam Stieler

Written by: Sam Stieler

Sam Stieler

Sam has been writing about dating and relationships for more than three years now. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bucknell University, has self-published a few of his own books and is currently working on mastering the double right turn in his salsa dancing classes.

Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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First dates are intimidating events, to say the least. In fact, first dates are often more frightening and stressful than any other moment early on in a relationship. Even the fear and tension surrounding approaching men doesn’t come close to the discomfort most people associate with first dates.

After all, by the time you get to a first date, you are suddenly dealing with very real stakes. There is a budding relationship to win or lose, a relationship whose future will be determined by trying not to mess up while sharing a significant amount of time with someone you know little to nothing about.

Screw-ups are inevitable on first dates.

Let’s make one point clear — on your first date, you will always do at least one thing that’s less than perfect. The sooner you can release the fantasy of experiencing a “perfect” and utterly flawless first date, the sooner you can take the first steps towards learning how to recover from the screw-ups you will inevitably make.

Perhaps the most important mindset you need to adopt when it comes to first dates is the perspective that screw-ups are not only inevitable, but they can actually be beneficial. Men know women they meet aren’t going to be absolutely perfect.

Men actually feel suspicious of women who appear to be “too good to be true,” who never make a single mistake or demonstrate a single weakness in their presence. At the end of the day, men aren’t looking for a perfect woman. They are looking for a woman who can recover from her mistakes without hysterics, dramatics or denials.

Women have three different options for recovery after they screw up, and which option you choose is determined by the nature of your mistake.


“Acknowledging your error without harping on it or turning it

into a bigger deal than it needs to be shows confidence.”

1. Ignore your screw-up and proceed like nothing happened.

If he doesn’t directly acknowledge your screw-up, then it’s entirely possible the whole faux pas exists entirely in your own head and didn’t even catch his attention. If you make a mistake he doesn’t acknowledge, and then you proceed to bring it to light by profusely apologizing, you will simply showcase your own paranoia and insecurity.

2. Know when to stand your ground.

If you do or say something he challenges you on, and if you truly believe you did nothing wrong, then you need to stand your ground. Once challenged, many women will backtrack in order to try and keep their man happy. This is a mistake.

If you do something he doesn’t agree with, and then you supplicate to get him off your back, he will decide you either didn’t really believe in what you said or did in the first place, or that you’re lying just to make him happy. Even though it may make you feel uncomfortable in the moment, disagreeing with your date on the first date doesn’t constitute a screw-up.

3.  Admit you screwed up.

If you make a real mistake, one that you realize was wrong that he calls you out on, then you need to admit that you screwed up, apologize for it and continue on with your date as planned.

Acknowledging your error without harping on it or turning it into a bigger deal than it needs to be shows confidence and lets him know the unavoidable hiccups in your relationship won’t be blown out of proportion.

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