Now Reading: 4 Bad Dating App Dates You’ll Probably Experience (Sorry!)

4 Bad Dating App Dates You’ll Probably Experience (Sorry!)

It can be exciting and nerve-wracking to present yourself to a total stranger whom you’ve only seen online.

Depending on your personality, you may be pretty good at meeting new people, really bad, or anywhere in between. Regardless of your personality or dating app experience, online dating is a staple of our generation.

You never know who will turn up at the cafe or restaurant when you’re driving to meet someone from a dating app. It can go a myriad of ways, and it’s helpful to give some language to this widely-experienced phenomenon. My friend Andy is brilliant in this arena, speaking with humor and accuracy.

“You’re a genius,” I told him after he explained his dating philosophy. Out of everyone I know, no one has been on more dating-app-dates than Andy.

He had just finished explaining how he approaches the first ‘date,’ when meeting a total stranger from an app. He gave useful language to an awkward but relevant topic.

“I call it ‘Date Zero,’” explained Andy. “It’s not really a ‘first date’ because you don’t know each other. I reserve the term ‘first date’ for someone you know a little bit, and have properly asked on a date. Basically, a first date is what comes after Date Zero. My expectation for Date Zero is twenty minutes at worst, an hour at best.”

I’ve been there plenty of times, and it can be exhausting to trudge through the conversation of a bad Date Zero. There are certainly degrees of bad ones, and they can be measured in minutes. As in, how many minutes does it take before you realise there is no hope of a future with this person? This is harsh, but realistic for anyone who’s been on a handful of rough Date Zeros. Here are the categories:


This is the result of deceptive profiles on dating apps. These are the people who lie about their height or weight, who cheat the camera or post ancient pictures. Maybe they smell like cigarettes (which they didn’t mention) or haven’t bathed in a month (which you should have guessed from their dreadlocks).

If you have a decent amount of dating experience, you’ve encountered a few of these people. If you’re worried that you may be a NAFS (read: if you have never gotten a second date after dozens of firsts), consider tweaking your profile to reflect a more honest, accurate version of yourself, even if it’s not as flattering.

If you find yourself on a date with a NAFS, converse for the obligatory 20 minutes, thank them for their time, and be on your way.


It’s a lot like the game Seven Minutes in Heaven, but there’s probably less kissing and a lot more small talk. Your date has passed the NAFS stage, but perhaps you have some reservations. Their profile was a bit off, but there’s a glimmer of hope.

This stage reflects the people who go 5-10 minutes before you decide your love story won’t be the sequel to The Notebook. These can also be arduous, as you still need to sit through the polite amount of acting interested before saying sayonara.



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This date is composed of two halves. The two of you spend half an hour half interested in each other, vacillating back and forth between acute interest and painful apathy.

He actually resembles his profile pictures. She actually lived in Australia for three years. For five minutes, you’re hopeful that you’ve found your Romeo, but five minutes later, you’re dying to pull your phone out of your pocket to check the time. Five minutes later, he quotes your favorite show and you’re falling for him again.

It can take between 30 and 60 minutes for you to fully make up your mind, but at the end of an H&H, if you’re not stoked about them, you’re probably not going to go out again.

The fuel of the H&H date is personal details & life stories. These usually take half an hour to cover, which is why you may think there’s a conversational spark for that long, but when the well of topics runs dry, you’re left staring at each other in awkward silence.


The double L isn’t called this because they linger around on the date, but because your curiosity lingers on after the date has ended. I’ve had a number of TLL’s myself, and they’re a slippery creature.

The second date does happen, but all the magic is gone and they have morphed into an H&H or SMiP. You exhausted all your conversational topics on Date Zero and it’s taken until now to run totally dry. Braver souls will push through, but often the lack of zest is felt by both parties and you call it an early night.

The worst part about a TLL is that after a second date, you can’t just ghost the poor soul, so you need to have the awkward conversation to drive the nail into the coffin of your fledgeling relationship.

This is an excerpt from Ethan Renoe’s new book, Bad Timing. Many Christian dating books treat relationships like a formula or checklist. Ethan takes a different approach, sharing a memoir of hilarious and heartbreaking love stories. I thoroughly enjoyed his book, so with Ethan’s permission, I wanted to share a little excerpt of it here! You can read more of Ethan’s writing on his website,

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