The world is full of assholes. I’ve always known this, but luckily my dealings with this breed of human have been fairly limited thus far. When you’re dating, however, you meet a higher volume of people. This means that you’re eventually going to end up on a date with an asshole, despite your best efforts to avoid this situation. While this may be inevitable, your reaction after the encounter with said asshole is up to you.
It should be noted that my goal with my blog and my podcast is never to publicly shame anyone, but rather to talk about what I’m learning from my own experiences in hopes that maybe someone else can learn something or relate. With that said, I know this post lacks power without a little backstory, so here it is: after a short time talking to/hanging out with someone and seeing initial displays of rude behavior, I decided to exit stage left. I’m not really at a place in my life to stick around and see the second act once someone doesn’t treat me well. Upon realizing this had happened, this person sent me a charming soliloquy filled with the garden variety insults you sling at a woman to try to cut her with your words.
I was fairly unaffected by the insults coming my way, since I know I’m not any of the things this person claims I am. However, I also understand that other people might have read the message I got and found themselves headed to a dark place because of it, and that’s dangerous.
Unfortunately, after talking with friends, I learned I’m not the only one who’s been through this situation. Disappointed dates had insulted them on the phone, in person, or via text when they got an answer they didn’t want to hear. I found that the whole experience made me feel protective of anyone who has gone through something similar, or who will in the future.
But since you can’t just sit in your house until the end of time to guarantee that you’ll never have a negative dating experience, let’s shift the focus to what happens post-asshole encounter. What can you do to prevent the whole thing from ruining your day and your self-esteem? A few thoughts:
Realize that you should never be made to feel ashamed about how you approach dating. If you want to go on 12 dates in a week, do it. If you don’t want to date for a year, don’t. If you want to see someone again, awesome! If you don’t, that’s your choice. No matter what happens, you are worthy of respect.
Here’s the other thing: There is no situation that makes it acceptable for someone to insult, belittle, or otherwise verbally abuse you when you’re dating. Dating is tricky because there are feelings involved, but there should also be a healthy dose of genuine human kindness at play. If there’s not, it’s time to move on. It can be easy to try to justify the other person’s hurtful behavior by factoring your own actions into it. “Well I did this so that’s why they lashed out.” No. You always deserve respect.
Lastly, with thousands of tweets happening each second and “sorry for the delay!” e-mails becoming the new norm, it can feel like words don’t matter anymore. They do. People remember what you said long after it’s been put out into the world. You have the ability to make someone feel amazing or to make them feel awful. Use that power wisely.
If you’ve been in a situation like I was in, know that you deserve better. The incident has no impact on who you are as a human. It doesn’t have to shape what your future dating experiences will look like. And if we could all increase our empathy levels at least 18 percent or so when dating that would be extremely helpful. I know all of the swiping makes this whole thing feel like some sort of weird Facebook game your friends keep inviting you to play, but there are still actual humans involved. Also, it should be noted that this post applies to guys and girls equally, because both genders are vulnerable to these kinds of situations.