Have you ever been invited to an activity by a member of the opposite sex, where it is stated or implied that other people will be there, only to show up and find it’s just the two of you? (“Oh yeah, Bob, Sarah and Mike couldn’t come at the last minute.”) And the inviter then proceeds with some verbal intimacy or romantic escalation?
Congratulations…you’ve been the victim of a date bomb. A date bomb is a procedural switcheroo where you get inadvertently roped into a social situation you were not expecting to have to prepare for – such as being tricked into going on a date when you expected to be in a group of friends.
The Type I date bomb above reflects a beta-oneitis pathology: “if only she/he could get to know me they’d see how great we’d be together so it’s OK for me to trick them into getting into an intimate situation.”
Date bombs can also go in the other direction (Type II), where a one-on-one date is unilaterally converted to a group or friend event.
Have you asked out a woman to coffee or a drink, and she says “oh yeah that sounds like fun!” [You're really jacked up at her accepting, unaware your dreams are about to be smashed to pieces] “…let me call Jenny and see if she wants to come, we could all hang out together.”
An even worse date bomb is to bring other people in without any warning at all, the other party shows up and finds other people have been invited without their being notified.
Type II date bombs are particularly pernicious because they make it look like they’re accepting the invitation while they manipulatively change it around, so you can’t back out of the “deal” (whose terms have been changed without your consent) without looking like a butthurt douche. It’s a form of LJBF.
DON’T DO DATE BOMBS
Don’t do date bombs. Tricking someone into going on a date is dysfunctional and reflects desperation. Manipulating someone asking you out into hanging out “as friends” is cruel; just decline the invitation.
There is an exception for Type I. If you have a very well-founded suspicion that the other person is into you, the magical disappearance of other people provides an opportunity for seemingly-spontaneous intimacy to develop; it’s a way of making “it just happened!” happen.
A friend of mine had a longtime jones for a woman in his social circle. He hatched a plan to invite a group to a bar to watch a baseball game (they both liked the same team). He invited her friends knowing they wouldn’t show up to a sports bar, and “invited” his own friends to create plausible deniability while specifically instructing them to not show up either. They bonded over the game, then he kissed her, to her total surprise. They’re married now. He’s a smart guy.