Authenticity and Bad Dates

Today I was on a date that was so bad, I left in the middle of it. I’ve been on a lot of dates in my life, and especially this month now that I’ve been focusing on dating for my Happiness Project. Before tonight, I’ve never been on a date so bad I wanted to make up some excuse- any excuse- to leave. After 15 minutes, I was bored out of my mind, sipping at a disgusting drink, and regretting the fact that I had told this guy I would also be interested in catching a movie with him afterwards.

I fled to the bathroom and texted 3 or 4 friends, desperate for advice- “Help! I’m on a date that’s really awful…I really just want to leave. What do I do?” All kinds of excuses were flying through my mind- I could pretend my (dead) grandfather had a stroke, I could say that out of town guests decided to surprise me and were at my house, I could mention that my best friend just had a breakup and I needed to support her. But which was the best excuse? Or was I being an asshole for not sticking it out at least until after drinks?

My brother came to the rescue and gave me the advice I needed to hear. He told me to be honest with the guy. It was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do. I honestly was considering sticking it out through the boring date to avoid having to do that.

But then I remembered who I want to be. If there was one word to sum that up, it would be authentic. My grandfather (not the one I was going to say had the stroke) used to tell his kids and grandkids that if you aren’t proud enough of what you did to shout it from the rooftops, then you shouldn’t do it. I hate liars. I hate lying to people. I was terrified to do it, but I needed to be honest.

I came out of the bathroom 10 minutes later, apologized I took so long, and ripped the bandaid off.

“Hey, you’re a nice guy, but I’m really not having a good time. I don’t want to waste either of our times, so I think I’m just going to head out…”

It was terrifying. It wasn’t fun. I didn’t feel good afterwards, but more importantly, I didn’t feel bad. I felt much better than I would have if I had lied to him and let him down later on. It’s not fun to reject anyone, but I was proud of myself that I had the guts to be honest. My brother told me he never expected me to be able to do something like that and he was proud of me too.

It’s not always easy to be authentic, but it’s always worth it.

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