On Love

Dating: For less than memorable dates, next meetings are tricky

By Lisa Bonos
Sunday, June 13, 2010

That guy over there -- the one perusing the produce at Safeway -- looks familiar. A friend of a friend? An old classmate? Wait: Have we been on a date?

With Washington's interconnected social and professional circles, running into someone you've dated can be more than a bit awkward. Especially when one, or both, of you don't remember each other.

Dating expert Evan Marc Katz, 37, says such re-meetings are common among urban daters. "When you're talking about 100 dates over five years, it's sort of not surprising." If you're dating frequently and you didn't go on more than one date -- and nothing memorable happened -- dates can tend to blend in, Katz says.

In fact, Katz's best friend found himself in such a situation. It took those daters about 30 minutes into their second date -- years removed -- to realize that they'd been out before.

Katz likens such a meeting to running into someone familiar at a party and trying to figure out how you know each other.

"You just gotta try to get a good laugh out of it; what else can you do?" he says.

Andrea Latta, 26, had gone out for drinks with a guy; they'd had a good time and texted occasionally, but their travel schedules kept them from a follow-up date. One night, about three months after their first date, she got a text from him, inviting her to join him at a bar in Arlington.

But when she showed up and said hello, he didn't seem to recognize her -- or their plans to meet up.

"He said 'hi' as if you'd say to someone squeezing in at the bar and then turned away," Latta says. "I don't know if he thought I was someone else, if he had mixed me up with some other girl in his phone."

Latta decided not to "out" him, a move that D.C. style consultant Celena Gill says is smart. The best way to handle such a situation, she says, is to give the other person a subtle opening.

Simply say: "Haven't we met before?" With enough conversation, the other person might figure it out. But if not, don't dwell: Keep the conversation moving, she advises.

"If you had a bad experience, you don't want them to ask you out again," Gill cautions. "Skip it, leave it in the past."

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