Lying, snooping, over-emoting, drunk-dialing -- sometimes things seem like good ideas at the time. Often alcohol, which makes most ideas seem like good ones, is involved. Then you sober up or simply come to your senses and can't believe what an idiot you were.
Can you salvage your dignity? Maybe. If you've done something that requires an apology, New York dating expert and CEO of "lovelife management" company cablight.com, Nancy Slotnick offers some simple advice: "I think the best way to bounce back is to take responsibility. Own it, come clean and say you're sorry. Also, say you won't do it again. And make some reference to the future, suggesting that you'll be there in the future."
Humor goes a long way too. "Make a joke if you can," says Slotnick. "Making a joke about yourself is the best. I wouldn't recommend making a joke about the other person."
Slotnick also points out the hierarchy of communication tools as something to be aware of. "Text message is like the lowest on the totem pole. Then email, then phone. It's usually better to meet face-to-face."
All very sage counsel. But manoeuvring your way out of some holes can be tricky. Here are a few examples and some crafty suggestions (Slotnick might not always agree with the way I see things).
You drunk dialed
Usually we do this after breaking up but some of us have a "just add booze" trigger finger that goes for the phone even before things have come to an angry head. Like, say, you went on a date and thought it went well but after three days they haven't called (which could be for any number of good reasons) so you go out for a few tee many martoonis with your buds, get home and leave the following message:
"I dunno what the hell ish the matter with you but I done need thish shit! WhothehelldoyouthinkyouARE??? I thought we had a connection…shomething shpeshul. You know…but yer…but yer…I dunno…OW! Who left that chair there? Well lemme tell you shomething...what was I saying…oh yeah…nobody treats me like thish. Don't ever call me agai…whoops… (crash. dial tone)" That oughtta show 'em right?
Maybe you can fix it
Make one more attempt at contact. But just ONE. And this is the time to use email or text message. Simply write "I think I might have drunk-dialed you last night. I'm really sorry about that." Adding "I don't usually drink that much," might be a good idea. You may never hear from them again, but if you do see them, take another opportunity to apologize, make a joke about what an idiot you are, and leave it at that. They probably agree. But if you comport yourself with some decorum, you might get another chance, if that's what you want.
Sometimes when we're nervous we talk a little too much and pay too little attention to what's coming out of our mouths. These bouts of verbal diarrhea often provide our companions with way too much information. For instance, you find yourself saying, "Wow! What a fun ballgame. Oh look hot dogs! Let's get some. I masturbated with one once…" Now, where should we have stopped talking class? If you said "after let's get some," you're right. Other examples of things not to say include "and then I pooped my pants," and "after my ex cheated and gave me genital warts I went ballistic and trashed his car."
Maybe you can fix it
First, as soon as you catch yourself say, "Whoops! That was an overshare. Sorry. I'm just nervous." They might take this as a compliment. Next, stop talking about yourself right away. Start asking questions about your date, without making them feel interrogated, of course. Turn the focus off yourself and, if you can, trick them into admitting something embarrassing. Now we're even.
You got caught in a stupid lie
When we first want to impress people we often tell them things that aren't necessarily true like "I love horseracing/baseball/salsa dancing/taxidermy/needlepoint/speed metal too!" or "I'm 27, I climbed Mt. Everest, have a PhD in philosophy and am close personal friends with Steve Martin." Then, when you've been dating for a few weeks, they find out Steve Martin is in town and are all "You should call him and invite him over for a barbecue!"