The proverbial blind date can be a real double-edged sword. On one hand, you get to meet someone who’s already approved by your crew. On the other, you may be forced to spend hours with someone you’ll grow to loathe. Even if you two are a fit on paper, a blind date gone bad can be pretty damn awkward—and then you have to tell your friends about it. So here are some tips to ensure that sword doesn’t end up slicing you in half. You might even have fun, too.

A lot of times your friends reasoning boils down to little more than “you’re both single.” So be discriminating. And remember that if a girl says her friend is “sweet” that probably means she’s “fat.”

Don’t be afraid to say “no”
Before you even go on the date, start asking questions. Who is this chick? Why do your friends think she’s a good match for you? What does she look like? What’s she in the market for? Men are so used to being the pursuers that we rarely take a step back and say, “Wait a minute, I’m going to be a little choosier.” The fact that you two have mutual friends isn’t enough on its own to sustain even a single date. A lot of times their reasoning boils down to little more than “you’re both single.” So be discriminating. And remember that if a girl says her friend is “sweet” that probably means she’s “fat.”

Pick the right date
Whatever you do, don’t go to dinner and a movie. Not only is it cliché, it’s one of the worst activities for people who don’t know each other to do together. Instead, consider interactive options that also allow you to do your own thing. If you’re both relatively fit, an active date can be refreshing (think a hike, not the gym). Ballgames also make great first dates, because they allow you to talk as much or as little as you would like (and drink!). You can’t go wrong with goofy sports like bowling and mini-golf, either. Pick something fun that minimizes awkward silences and you’ll be golden.

We probably wouldn’t bust out the trekking poles on a first date, but hey, to each his own.

Open her up
Trying to tout yourself as the greatest thing since sliced bread is just about the worst way to make a blind date—or any date, for that matter—go swimmingly. Instead, concentrate on her. Where did she grow up? What does she love to do? What are her goals and dreams? Not only does it take some of the pressure off you, but it lets her know that you’re interested in her, not just selling yourself shamelessly like a used car. Bonus: she’ll think you are a great conversationalist, which never fails to score points.

Avoid chatter about mutual friends
Number-one sign that a blind date is going exactly nowhere: all you’ve talked about is your mutual friends. An acknowledgement that they set you up is fine. Clinging to them like a conversational life raft is like getting the yips at a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show afterparty. Not attractive for anyone and believe me, she will notice.

Plan your escape
All that said, if it becomes clear you’re in the middle of a blind date disaster, you need an easy out. Always take your own car so you can depart less awkwardly. After a couple of hours, if she’s “totally still down to hang out” and you’re antsy to get home, just says what chicks say: you have an early morning the next day. (Note: easier to pull off if you go out on a weeknight.) Or hey, just diplomatically tell the truth: you’re just not really feeling it. You might be surprised at how smoothly it goes. Bonus: you won’t have to deal with your “friends” constantly asking about her.

Jordan Harbinger is a Wall Street lawyer turned Social Dynamics expert and coach. He is the owner and co-founder of The Art of Charm, a dating and relationships coaching company. If you dig this and want to learn more from Jordan and The Art of Charm team, visit You can also interact with Jordan on Facebook.