I found a bunch of questions online to ask on a first date so things wouldn’t be awkward. I decided to memorize a few and use them. It was a disaster. Somehow, without realizing it, I only asked questions about childhood. The guy I was having drinks with had a terrible childhood and didn’t want to answer questions. He accused me to pulling some Freudian analysis thing on him, threw down cash to cover his drinks (not mine) and left. I felt, and still feel, awful, but he’s not responding to my apologies. The worst part is we had real chemistry before the conversation got weird. I don’t know why I kept pressing him to answer except that I was nervous. How can I let him know I’m sorry and want to try again?
Your apology let him know that you are sorry. Now let him go. He said no, you pushed, and he took care of himself by leaving a situation that no longer felt fun or safe to him. Expecting an acquaintance to respond to your apology seems odd. He’s not responsible for helping you to feel better. That’s your job. Forgive yourself for ignoring his refusal to let you riffle through the chapters of his life. Praise yourself for being interested. Caution yourself to slow down and pay attention in conversation. No means no.
You would be better served in the future by challenging your own thoughts. Like this: Why were you concerned that the date would be awkward? That worry drove you to find a solution outside of you. Clinging to that solution distracted you from seeing that the icebreaker questions were not working as you had hoped. If you want to create a connection that feels open and vulnerable, be open and vulnerable. Say that you are nervous. Tell a story from your own childhood. Pick a memory that doesn’t make you seem needy for consolation or anything else. Choose a story that inspires your happiness or reveals your capacity to overcome a difficulty. Tell a date a story because you need to hear it to soothe your nerves and remember who you are.