Dating is the worst. If it's not the misleading profile pictures, it's the stilted conversation starters like, "so, what do you do for fun?" (Has anyone ever answered that question honestly? Next time, try saying, "lie around and refresh Twitter" and let me know how it goes).
No matter how hard you try, there are opportunities to mess up at every turn. Since no one is perfect, here's a little primer of possible offenses.
#1. Insulting someone's lifestyle choices
"Ugh you live next to a CrossFit gym? I'm so sorry, those people are the worst. My coworker does it and became such an insufferable meathead. Behind his back I call him… oh...you belong to the gym? Oh, you teach at it? I mean, that's totally cool. I was just…seeing myself out."
Possible to bounce back? Never. Pack it up.
#2. Accidentally texting someone a message about them
"He's doing the heinous open mouth chewing thing again. Send help."
Possible to bounce back? Yes unless…the message includes any details about your sexual experiences, is a joke about something they said, uses the phrase "the one," or compares their appearance to an animal/cartoon character/any inanimate object.
#3. Accidentally texting someone when you meant to text another person you're dating
"Still thinking about last night ;)"
"…at your grandma's retirement home?"
"Oh. No…I meant, the night before last. When we saw the movie? So fun!"
Possible to bounce back? If you can play it off like you meant to text them all along, yes. Though consider it a karmic warning.
#4. Making a condescending remark about someone's hometown
What, you think yer better ‘an them?
Possible to bounce back? Not really. Unless they hate their hometown, too. Even then, maybe not.
#5. Being super late to meet up
We all know what the "on my way!" text really means. (That you're standing in front of the mirror with a towel around your waist, a glass of wine in one hand, and razor in the other).
Possible to bounce back? Yes. Just know that you're likely to be getting the hungry-impatient-irritable version of your date and should approach with caution, like a seasoned animal tamer entering a lion's den.
#6. Flaking out entirely
Our phones have turned us all into unreliable assholes. Can you imagine what dating was like before them? You'd have to like…actually stick to your plans.
Possible to bounce back? Possibly once, so long as your excuse isn't comically elaborate and implausible.
#7. Dressing inappropriately for the occasion
Whoa…you did not realize this was a work party at their boss's house. No, thank you, you won't be needing to check your coat (:::buttons up trench coat over transparent crop top and booty shorts:::)
Possible to bounce back? How inappropriate we talking? Miley Cyrus?
#8. Showing an embarrassing lack of awareness about their culture
It's one thing to mispronounce a menu item you've never seen. It's another to think the Caribbean country they're from is in the Middle East. Or cite the most-popular-yet-least-accurate movie about their culture as your only source of knowledge.
Possible to bounce back? Decent chance that's a ‘no.'
#9. Giving a backhanded compliment
Everyone loves the old, "You're pretty smart for a [sorority girl/barista/intern/what have you]!"
Possible to bounce back? No again.
#10. Running into someone you're dating (or one of their friends) while you've got your arms around someone else
Possible to bounce back? Nah.
#11. Forgetting someone's name
As terrible as it is, one can be forgiven for letting the blur of loud bar conversations overpower their short-term memory.
Possible to bounce back? If you're ten minutes into a first date, you can maybe play this off with a very apologetic, "I know this sounds weird but when we met I just saved your name in my phone as Burly Elijah Wood. Remind me how the rest of the world refers to you?" Any longer than that and you're only hope is to snatch their ID when they're looking the other way.
#12. Revealing how much you've stalked someone online
People joke a lot about the dangers of "liking" someone's photo or post from three years ago. But that's to say nothing of the actual conversational land mines created by knowing way more about someone than they've yet to tell you.
Possible to bounce back? "The first rule of stalking is…"
#13. Insulting someone's chosen profession
"You're telling me you make a living writing internet listicles about dating? That's an actual job? How?"
Possible to bounce back? Definitely not.