(Disclaimer: stock photo – not our sweet girl, Toffee) Image Credit: stock.adobe.com By Chalabala

You’re accomplished, brilliant and sophisticated during the workday, managing to stay on your A-game. When it’s time for a date; it’s a failure of the brain, and you sometimes end up in deep yogurt with embarrassing moments. How does this happen, even to us married folks? Dating during the pandemic may look different, but one should always be prepared for awkward situations.

Do you think these things only happen to you? Awkward moments happen to everyone, and all we can do is handle them with grace and modern manners. Do the following sound familiar?

  1. Jealous Pet: Your dog or cat keeps making unwanted cameos during a virtual date. You plan ahead by filling their kong with peanut butter and treats to keep them occupied in the other room. However, the clawing or barking starts 20 minutes into the call anyway. At this point, all you can do is embrace the situation and show the pet some love. If your date gets annoyed, maybe they aren’t a good match for you. Fido just did you a favor.
  2. The Kramer: During a romantic virtual date, your roommate keeps interrupting like Kramer from Seinfeld. In this situation, excuse yourself for a moment, place your mic and camera on mute, and have a quick conversation with your “Kramer” politely asking for privacy.
  3. Maskless Romeo: After a few incredible virtual dates, you and your Romeo decide it’s time to meet in person. To your discomfort, he shows up maskless. Avoid this situation in the future by discussing and confirming your mask and social distancing comfort levels and expectations before the big day. It also never hurts to have an extra mask with you.
  4. Not so Sporty: Your date surprises you with an outdoor date, and you’re expecting a dinner, a walk, or a picnic. Wanting to look your best, you show up in a dress and heels only to discover that he planned a hike! In this scenario, politely decline, ask for a trek reschedule, and find a nice place outdoors for coffee or drinks. Next time stow tennis shoes in your bag.
  5. Guard Dog: As a surprise, you bring your dog on an outdoor date, he/she is unexpectedly overprotective, and it’s a disaster! First, decide if you wish to continue the date. If so, apologize, then if you live close-by, offer to quickly take your pup home before continuing the date. If that isn’t an option, thank the date for their time and end it there, or reschedule.
  6. The Kissing Bandit: At the end of a respectful socially distanced in-person date, he/she leans in to kiss you. With or without COVID, this can be an awkward situation. Always stay true to yourself and your boundaries. Smile, say you appreciate the offer, however you’re playing it safe during the pandemic, and say you had a wonderful time.
  7. The Catfish: You met Mr. Perfect on a dating site, and today is the day! You are finally meeting in person. You show and don’t recognize the person; they look nothing like their profile picture. The best way to avoid this scenario? Always video chat with a potential date from an online source before agreeing to meet in person. Protect yourself and your family.
  8. One Degree: While getting to know your date, you discover that he used to date your colleague, or even worse, your boss. It hits a little too close to home. If you don’t want to tread those waters, let your date know you think it’s best to stay in the friend zone.
  9. Foot in Mouth: Imagine being online for a Valentine’s date and accidentally referring to your date by the name of your ex.  There’s only one thing to do besides hope they don’t go off-line on you: apologize profusely and don’t ever do it again.
  10. Flip the Script: In today’s world, this is perfectly acceptable for a modern woman to ask a guy out. This might have turned a few heads for another generation, but in 2021 women can and do ask men for a date. In fact, the dating app Bumble, where women make the first move, is #6 in the Lifestyle section of the App Store and has millions of monthly active users.

Awkward dating moments are going to happen. Accept the inevitable and maintain a sense of humor while avoiding the drama. Keep these tips in mind and you will handle any situation gracefully and with modern manners.

Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, modern manners and etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre and the Intercultural Communication Institute, she is an attorney and mediator. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

#SharonSchweitzer, #AccesstoAsia, #AccesstoCulture, #Cross-CulturalTrainer, #InterculturalCommunication, #InternationalCommunication, #Interculturalist #globalteams #multicultural #datingtips #dating #datingadvise #modernmanners