"It makes for GREAT stories later on in life," says Cal, 25.
We've heard (or even uttered) "I have the perfect person for you!" at some point. Perhaps the most nerve-wracking and awkward of all first dates, blind dates, can also be exciting and filled with important lessons about dating and love.
We asked some experienced blind daters for their key takeaways from when friends and family play the role of matchmaker.
1. Your Friends Aren't Always Right ...
"Don't trust your friends," warns Allison, 25. Your loved ones may know you super well, but a lot of the time, people just assume two single folks will automatically get along. This can lead to a whole lot of awkward dinners.
2. ... But Your Mom May Be
Leah, 25, explains, "If my mother planned it, it was the right choice." ...That said, there’s a reason they say "mother knows best."
3. Keep It Going With Questions
"Just ask questions. Avoid the awkward silence," says Jason, 27. Sometimes, it's best just to keep the conversation going, even if it feels a little empty. Otherwise, regaining momentum to propel your talk further will be more difficult later on. Ask about what your date does, where his/her favorite places in the city you two live in are, what’s the best TV show on right now ... anything that might spark a solid convo.
4. Pre-Plan Your Escape
"Always have an out," explains Joe, 32, "have a thing that you need to go to if the date does not go well. Escape hatches are are often distressingly necessary." In an ideal world, all dates would end on a positive note (whether that’s a kiss, a polite handshake or an I-just-found-an-awesome-unexpected-new-friend hug), but the universe has much more hilarious plans than that. If you’re on a particularly awful date that is clearly tanking in the worst way, figure out a way to end the night.
5. Don't Be Too Quick To Judge
It's important to keep an open mind when you’re going on a blind date (or any date, really). Attraction is important, of course, but don't write off somebody or be rude simply because you don’t find him or her super hot. "Don't worry too much about what the person looks like/will look like. Just see it as a couple of hours getting to know another person and don't force the romance," says Kelsey, 25. Just be kind and enjoy your time together, then either pursue further contact or don’t.
6. If Nothing Else, You Have A Story
"It makes for GREAT stories later on in life," says Cal, 25. Even if you have a weird time on your date, on the bright side, you'll have a funny (or horrifying) story to tell later.
What have you learned from blind dates? Tell us in the comments below.
More juicy stories from YourTango: