When you’re meeting your online fling for the first time everything seems like a crisis. If you tell a joke and she only laughs a little, you feel like you failed totally. This means that, unfortunately, any faux pas you commit is going to be even harder to get over. If you just ran the SS First Date into the iceberg of social awkwardness, you can still recover. Here’s how to get things back on track.
Here’s a tip: take responsibility. “I’m sorry if you were offended,” is just a way to move on. Clearly, she’s offended, so drop the ifs and own up to it like a man. Just say that you didn’t intend to offend her, and you’re sorry that you did. Then drop it. You don’t have to carry on and on over a simple mistake, but you should make it clear that you are sincerely sorry. If you’re not actually sincerely sorry then you have to be willing to sell the idea that you are.
For some tips on how to get her to accept an apology: focus on the way you made her feel. Whether it’s embarrassed, hurt, or indignant let her know that you hear how she feels. After that, make eye contact when you’re speaking but don’t stare her down. Make sure that you glance away every fifteen or twenty seconds so that your eye movements patterns stay natural. Don’t fidget while you apologize. Fold your hands in front of you so that you appear calm, focused, and serious.
Break the Tension
The second thing that you need to do in order to recover is to break the tension. You’ve already said that you were sorry and now you need to lighten the mood. If you know any funny stories or jokes, now’s the time to break them out. Be careful that the joke you tell doesn’t mock your date in any way. You’re already in hot water. Now’s not the time to risk mocking her religion. If you can’t think of anything funny to say, go for the next tension breaker: catharsis. Tell her a story designed to make her angry with you, not at you. Maybe your roommate is being really unreasonable. Maybe your boss needs to take a long walk off a short pier. Whatever it is, once you’ve gotten her anger burned out at someone else, you can relax.
Redirect the Focus
Move the conversation on. Get her attention on something else, something immediate. Ask her about the movie you two just saw, or ask her about her job. Even if it’s something boring for you, you need to keep the conversation moving. Soon she’ll forget all about it as she’s wrapped up telling you more and more about her day and the crazy ladies she works with. If you can’t get her to open up, whip out the cute stories. Tell her a (short, make it short) story about your dog, or something about an endangered species making a comeback. Engage some emotion other than anger and your mistake will be forgiven.