First dates...oh boy, here come the nerves! Yes, they can be scary, but the flip side of that is how exciting they can be, as well. You don’t have to be a first date expert for it to lead to a second. There may be some awkward silences, or a nervous laugh or two, but with a few basics under your belt, you’ll ride through this experience with flying colors.
Before you head into any first date, give yourself a pep talk. Don’t let those nerves take over this experience because you have so much to offer this potential partner. And if you’re so frozen with first date anxiety that you can’t remind yourself of all the ways in which you are deserving, call a friend to remind you. We want you heading into this date with loads of self-confidence! Approaching the first date with positivity is a million times more likely to lead to a positive outcome.
Ok, now that you’ve taken a little bit of that pressure off your shoulders, let’s talk details. Who’s planning this thing? If it’s him, keep your expectations in check. Real-life dates don’t exactly take a page out of “The Bachelor” handbook. If you’re taking charge, suggest a date that involves an activity, and one that encourages conversation (RIP dark, quiet movie theaters). Incorporating an activity lightens the mood and keeps things more casual than something sit-down. The best of both worlds is an activity that leads into dinner or drinks (or if it didn’t go well, you can easily cut-off before you head into that phase of the date).
As the date approaches, think about the first impression you want to give. Your friends may know you’re fifteen minutes late for everything, but your date doesn’t. Maybe on date day, you should set your clock ahead! Then, when you’re looking for something to wear, pick clothing you’re comfortable in, from head to toe. You want to be focused on the person you’re with, not the discomfort of itchy straps or trying to walk in sky-high heels.
First, breathe. You have to breathe to communicate. Second, ask questions. The conversation should be a give and take, not interview style. As he tells you more about himself, pay attention and be present (put your phone away), so that you can add in follow-up questions and assurances that you’re listening. Hopefully, in turn, he’ll give you the space to speak as well. This whole experience is about learning more about each other and finding a common ground. Allow the conversation to flow!
Avoid tricky topics like politics, religion, marriage, sex, and your exes. A first date is a starting point, there’s plenty of time to get to know each other’s life story. In the meantime, be confident in yourself and who you are. Don’t try to produce the responses you think your date is after. This is about compatibility, you’re not trying to mold yourself into something you’re not. If you’re authentic, you’ll easily showcase what makes you a one-of-a-kind catch.
It can be easy to turn to alcohol to calm your nerves, but keep it in check. The more you drink, the less clearly you’ll think. You want your senses sharp sister! We don’t want to inhibit your ability to engage in honest conversation or read body language.
Ok girl, we’ve reached the end of the night--how’re you feeling? Leave space for your feelings because you need to make it clear whether you are going to welcome a kiss if he goes for it. Feel comfortable enough with yourself to voice your consent. And if he doesn’t, that’s okay too! A kiss on the first date doesn’t make it or break it. Chances are, he came into this just as nervous as you.
We hope you walked away from that date feeling victorious! But before you start drafting wedding Pinterest boards, take a moment to remind yourself that there were two sets of feelings involved. Now you’re probably wondering when to call, when to text, when to plan the next date, and there’s just not a concrete algorithm. Give it some time, and go with your gut, without overwhelming the communication channels. It’s worth mentioning that if you immediately add him on Facebook when you get home, it’s probably going to give away your internet stalking. Maybe wait a day.
If it wasn’t a good fit, for you or for him, appreciate the value of the experience and look forward to your next first date. The best thing that both of you can do is be honest about your feelings, with yourself and each other. That means, if you weren’t feeling it, don’t pretend you did. No one wants to be led on, and if you wait to be honest about that, more feelings will be hurt.
Throughout the dating process, the best thing you can do is be open--to new experiences or to an unexpected connection. Dating is as much a learning process as it is an adventure. You’ll not only get to know the type of partner you’re looking for and are attracted to, but you’ll get to know yourself in a different light.
And don’t become too attached to these rules. Love stories are born out of all kinds of first dates. From start to finish, just be YOU. The more true to yourself you are, the more likely you are to welcome a genuine connection into your life.