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What to do when an online speed date sucks

M.J. Santos   |   Fri, 13 Jan 2023

Here at The Vibe, we do our best to provide tips to improve the online speed dates and overall love lives of Couple users and readers. Preparation is half the battle in dating just as it is in any other endeavor, and having a healthy toolkit in tow can make being single feel more successful and fulfilling.

But riddle me this: what if you’ve implemented all of your favorite dating advice but you still find yourself on a speed date from hell? That’s a mighty good question, and one without a singular answer.

While every Couple speed date offers an emergency exit (you technically can quit any date early), we never would suggest ditching all dates that suck. There absolutely are scenarios where you ought to skedaddle STAT (like in situations where your safety or comfort are compromised), but – and excuse my bluntness here – only d**ks practice indiscriminate ghosting across the board.

The fact of the matter is that there’s a difference between a bad date and a baaaaaaaaad date, and your reaction should be proportional to the offense. The former might mean sucking it up for the duration of the date (before ultimately letting your partner down gently); the latter should send you running without so much as a goodbye.

If you’re not sure how to distinguish between “bad” and “baaaaaaaaad,” check out our tips below. We want you walking into your next event feeling confident that you have the know-how to handle any situation speed-dating throws at you.

When to ditch (and report) a bad online speed date

Let’s start with the worst-case scenarios first, i.e., situations when you should absolutely, 100% leave a Couple speed date early. Bust a move and bail immediately if your date is:

- Saying / displaying offensive or hateful things
- Threatening you or others in any way
- Making unwanted sexual advances / exposing themselves
- Impersonating someone else
- Admitting to being underage
- Acting wasted beyond comprehension
- Pushing you to give them your contact information
- Recording you or livestreaming the date without your consent
- Refusing to engage or not being on screen

You should never feel compelled to endure toxic behavior for the sake of being “polite.” Keep yourself safe and comfortable – that should always be your first priority when dating and using dating apps. (And rest assured that if a user is engaging is any of the above, all of which are in violation of our Rules of Engagement, they will no longer be welcome in the Couple community.)

A less nefarious scenario that also warrants an early exit from a Couple speed date is if your tech – or your date’s – is malfunctioning. If you can’t see or hear your partner, what’s the point? Quit while you’re ahead and try again with your next match.

It’s worth noting that if you opt to leave a Couple date early, you’ll be prompted to file a report explaining why you’ve bailed. It helps our team fix tech issues when they’re the cause, and, more importantly, it’s a safety measure the platform takes to keep the community free of people acting in bad faith.

Woman on a Couple online speed date using an icebreaker question that says "when is the right time to introduce a new partner to your family?"

When (and how) to stick with a bad online speed date

You know what doesn’t warrant an emergency exit from an online speed date? Any of the following:

- You find your date (or their clothes, background, etc.) unattractive
- Your match doesn’t totally fit your ideal criteria
- Your date is boring or seriously shy

We get it ... your time is precious and you want to spend it wisely. A dud date might rob your day of three minutes – frustrating, for sure – but it’s totally bad form (and will put you on notice with the Couple platform) if you consistently ditch dates just because they don’t make a good first impression.

The kindest, most respectful way to express disinterest in a mismatched Couple partner is to choose “Cut” at the end of your speed date. There’s no reason to literally cut the connection early; your date will get the message when you don’t mutually match each other. Plus, once you "Cut" them, you won’t be matched with them again at future events. Clean and effective, ya know?

Enduring the date is another matter altogether, but a little conversation – even if a bit forced – is the key to making the experience meaningful. A bit of patience and persistence might even reveal an unexpected point of connection with your partner. If not, oh well. At the very least, you’ve had a great practice date and you didn’t hurt someone unnecessarily. (By the way, if you need help with starting up a good convo, check out this article for some tips. You can also request an icebreaker during your date using Couple Coins.)

When to acknowledge that YOU'RE the bad online speed date

Finally, if you consistently find yourself having terrible online speed dates, it’s time to do a little self-reflection. It can’t always be them, right? Perhaps there’s something in your behavior that’s sending the wrong message to prospective matches. I highly recommend reading this article by my colleague. It gives a good primer on what habits might be hindering you and how to overcome them.

Our hope at Couple is that all of your speed dates offer connection of some kind, even if it’s just a moment of recognizing each other’s humanity. Be kind when you can, bail when your gut’s giving you warning signs, and know that we’re here when the going gets tough.

Happy dating, readers.


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