Spending time, money and effort on a bad date is pretty dispiriting. We know that many women struggle to excavate themselves from sticky situations – and this lack of assertiveness can manifest in wasted hours and a lot of cash blown on overpriced drinks, which you probably didn't even want in the first place. If that sounds familiar, you are not alone. New research suggests that single people in the UK will squander 96 million hours and £2 billion on bad dates in 2018 – that's about six hours hours and £239 per person. (Valuable resources we already know we're going to hate ourselves for frittering away – even as we're doing it.)
The poll of more than 2,000 British adults, commissioned by the dating site eHarmony, found that single people go on an average of eight dates in a typical year, of which four are considered "bad".
The average bad date lasts 1.4 hours and requires an average spend of £29. In a city like London, this only equates to about three cocktails at a decent bar.
It's no surprise that our morale takes a hit after a disastrous date. More than one in six people (16%) report feeling disheartened, while many others claim to leave feeling self-conscious (12%) and even depressed (13%). This might explain why more than half of singles (51%) won't be dating at all this year, the research found.
To reduce the likelihood of ending up on a bad date, eHarmony recommend being honest in your dating profile, going for people who share your "core values and personality traits" (easier said than done though, right?), exchanging messages for at least a week before meeting IRL, talking on the phone first (eek!), and even arranging a coffee date rather than drinks/dinner to take the pressure off.
Such advice makes sense in theory, but it can be far more difficult to enact in reality. One 32-year-old woman, based in London, said she'd been on 15-20 dates in the last year. "This doesn’t sound like many, but none of them developed into anything more than a casual hook-up, so I’d definitely call it a waste of time," she told Refinery29.
"Probably the worst date was a guy that looked about 10 years older and two stone heavier than his profile picture and wittered on about how spiritual he was all night. For some reason I couldn’t work up the courage to leave," she added. Even worse, he insisted on walking her home before lunging in for a "gross, sloppy snog" and barging into her flat to “use the bathroom” – and then refused to leave. "I had to text a male friend to come round and kick him out!"
On a more positive note, another woman said that despite having been on several "bad, blah and boring" dates in the past 12 months, she had "learned something valuable from each one – either about myself, or humans in general" and said it hadn't put her off dating in the future one bit. So if you need a glass-half-full outlook on bad dates, maybe that's it.
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