How to Survive a Date when There's No Chemistry

Three Parts:Making the Most of Your DateDealing with a Lack of ChemistryDetermining If Chemistry Is Lacking

Sometimes you meet someone on a first date and quickly realize that the two of you have no chemistry. What is the socially acceptable way to handle this oftentimes awkward situation? While your first reaction may be to call off the date immediately, go home, and start fresh in the morning, this would be an inappropriate response. Even if you feel no chemistry, it is important that you be polite and do your best to have a good time. In addition, you owe it to yourself and the other person to make absolutely sure there is no chemistry by allowing the date to continue!

Part 1
Making the Most of Your Date

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    Recognize that the date is not a total disaster and just relax. Just because you do not feel a spark on a first date with someone does not mean it is the end of the world. Keep in mind that it is not possible to have chemistry with everyone. Try to laugh off the lack of chemistry and make the most of the date by considering it an opportunity to make a new friend. Get to know the person like you would try to get to know anyone else. Ask questions about his or her interests, hobbies, likes/dislikes, and goals. Some good questions to ask include:[1]
    • Where did you grow up?
    • What are your hobbies? How do you like to spend your spare time?
    • Where do you work? Do you like working there?
    • What are your friends like?
    • Do you like to read? If so, what is your favorite book?
    • Are you a big movie-goer? If so, what kind of movies do you like? What is your favorite movie?
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    Take a walk. If the date is not going well, try suggesting going for a walk. Sitting across from each other in a café can be really awkward if you do not have much in common, but you don’t need to face each other or talk much if you go for a walk. You will also get some mood boosting exercise in the process, which may make you feel better about the date.
    • Try suggesting a walk by saying something like, “It’s a beautiful day. Do you want to continue our conversation while we walk through town?”
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    Ask some oddball questions. If the conversation is boring and you are having a hard time paying attention to your date, then try asking a few unexpected questions to spice things up. Even if you have nothing in common with the person, throwing a few curveballs his or her way should make the date a little more fun. Try to ask some things that really interest you.[2] Some questions you might ask include:
    • “If you could be any cartoon character, who would you be?”
    • “What would you do to survive a zombie apocalypse?”
    • “Where would you go if you could go on an all expenses paid vacation?”
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    Make conversation more interesting by proposing a debate. When it’s clear no relationship will come of this date, you may want to use this opportunity to see just how different you are from your date. Try asking your date about his or her thoughts on global warming or some other controversial issue. Although you might disagree, you might enjoy hearing someone else’s viewpoint and the topic may spark an interesting conversation to help pass the time.
    • As an added bonus, by learning about your date's opinions you may even become more attracted to him or her. People who have common interests and beliefs tend to be more attracted to each other.[3]
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    Limit your alcohol intake. Having too much alcohol on a bad date can lead to trouble. First, drinking too much on can impair your judgment, which might make someone who you are not interested in seem more appealing. Second, overindulging in alcohol on a date may make you seem immature and impolite. Drinking too much on a date may also lead to more severe consequences such as contracting an STD. That is why it is wise to stay sober and in control so that you do not do anything you might regret.[4]
    • Try not to drink at all if the date is not going well, just so that you can maintain control and handle the situation in the best way possible. Alcohol is likely to make things worse rather than better.

Part 2
Dealing with a Lack of Chemistry

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    Say that you are not interested in a kind way. If you are not interested, you should let the person know you have no intentions of carrying on a romantic relationship with him or her, but be as nice as possible about it. Avoid making a blunt statement such as "I am not interested in you.” Phrasing your lack of interest in this way would come across as rude and inconsiderate.[5]
    • Try saying something like, “This is hard for me to say, but I have to be honest with you. I have really enjoyed spending time with you, but I don’t think that we are a good match. You deserve to meet someone who shares your interests and goals and I just do not think that I am that person. But I wish you all the best and I have enjoyed getting to know you.”
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    Suggest the two of you become friends. If you do not feel any chemistry but suspect that the two of you may become friends, try making that suggestion. If you do this, be absolutely clear that all you want is friendship. It is possible that this may not be an option if the other person is attracted to you. However if the other person shares your idea, you might have found a great new friend out of a bad date.
    • Try saying something like, “Even thought we were not a match, I had a good time getting to know you. Do you think we could be friends?”
    • Keep in mind that this strategy can backfire as well, so be careful about using it. Some people may feel just as rejected if you suggest that the two of you become friends. It is also possible that your lack of chemistry may mean that you do not even have enough in common to become friends.[6]
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    Reject the possibility of future dates. If the other person is interested in a second date, you should politely decline either after the first date or later on. You do not need to provide a concrete reason. Avoid being non-committal and do not say things like “maybe we can meet again some time.” Although you may be reluctant to hurt someone's feelings, it is sometimes necessary to do so in order to find what you are looking for.[7]
    • Try saying something like, “It was great to meet you and to get to know you, but I don’t think that we should go on another date. I think you are a great person, but I do not think we are a match. I wish you the best of luck thought and I hope that you find the right guy/girl for you.”

Part 3
Determining If Chemistry Is Lacking

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    Check for signs of chemistry. Chemistry is not scientific. It is not something that can be identified or be developed between two people. However, psychological studies have provided some insights as to what chemistry is made of. It includes non-judgment, similarity, mystery, attraction, mutual trust, and effortless communication.[8] If you have chemistry with someone, then you will probably feel it. But you may want to take a moment to consider what you have in common with the person and determine whether chemistry is really lacking.
    • Try asking yourself some simple questions to determine if you have chemistry with someone. For example, you might ask, am I attracted to this person? Do we have things in common? Do we share values and beliefs? Do I want to know more about this person? Is it easy to talk to this person? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then there might be something there.
    • Don’t try to force chemistry. While it is a good idea to search your feelings before you decide that this date is going nowhere, you should not try to force chemistry to develop either. If you do not feel attracted or interested in someone, then that will probably not change.
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    Arrive at the date with few expectations and an open mind. Do not let pre-conceived notions about the person, the date spot, or anything else pre-shape your opinion of the other person. This can interfere with how you determine whether there is any chemistry between the two of you. Excitement and anticipation are fine, but judgement and expectations are not. It is critical that you do not make a judgement before the date begins or the instant the date begins.[9]
    • For example, if your date chooses a restaurant that you dislike as your meeting spot, do not read this as an indication that you will have nothing in common.
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    Reflect upon your initial impressions to find out if you have physical chemistry. Psychologists and relationship experts claim that you can recognize physical chemistry almost immediately. One of the most important factors for physical chemistry is sexual attraction. If you find yourself attracted to a person during the first moments of your meeting, then there is a good chance that physical chemistry can develop. If there was no initial attraction, there is a good chance physical chemistry may never exist between the two of you.[10]
    • Physical chemistry has been shown to be more important for men in determining whether a second date is possible.
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    Consider if the two of you are compatible based on conversation. Compatibility takes a little longer to recognize than physical chemistry, and it can only be discovered through conversation and interaction. Compatibility is about common values, similar life goals, being comfortable with one another, shared experiences and having fun together. Compatibility is essential for the development of a healthy and long-lasting relationship. It can even help to build physical chemistry![11]
    • Studies have shown that women are more likely to look for compatibility than a man would on a first date.
    • You may find compatibility based on your college experiences, your interests in sports or literature, a love of travel, experiences in previous relationships, desire for children, and more.
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    Organize a good first date to allow chemistry to develop. Chemistry between you and your date may fail to develop if you organize a terrible date. By spending time together and having a good time, you have a better chance of seeing who the other person is and what they are like. Use your imagination when planning a first date so that it reflects you as a person, but you may want to keep these tips in mind.[12]
    • Pick a fun, neutral location. Avoid noisy bars, as you will want to be able to hear your date.
    • First dates can benefit from having shorter time limits. Consider getting ice cream or a coffee rather than meeting for dinner.
    • Avoid ambiguous locations that give you no aim. For example, meeting at the mall is probably not a good idea unless there’s a particular cafe you can visit.
    • Don't go to the movie theater on a first date. You won’t be able to speak with one another!
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    Give it time. There are a number of reasons why you may not feel chemistry from the moment a date begins. If you are nervous or shy, then this can make it hard to determine if there is any chemistry. Do you best to be friendly and relax, and to offer smiles and encouraging looks. This will help give chemistry a chance to develop.[13]
    • If you are nervous try admitting it. This may help your partner open up. Try saying something like, I am sorry I am not saying much. I am a little nervous.”
    • Ask questions to encourage conversation. You might ask something like, “What do you like to do on the weekend?” Or, “Where are your favorite places to travel?”
    • Avoid asking personal questions on a first date. People have differing levels of privacy and might not feel comfortable sharing everything. For example, it is fine to ask what someone does for a job, but you should not ask how much money someone makes.


  • If you have fears about chemistry suggest a double date. If the conversation ends up awkward, your friends can offer stories or jokes. If the date is a success, the next date can be solo.
  • If you know a friend who might be interested in your date, consider matching them.


  • Don't feel too much pressure to connect instantly.
  • Avoid going on second dates if you have no chemistry with a person.

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