First dates are notoriously anxiety-riddled. You want to plan the perfect date from beginning to end, but you’re also concerned about making the right impression without going overboard, or worse, looking desperate. It’s a tough balance to maintain, especially when our hearts are on the line. Each person handles first-date jitters differently. Some feel like throwing up, while others just want to call the whole thing off. Believe it or not, those are your pesky nerves getting in the way. But don’t worry, those feelings are normal and it’s OK to be nervous.
First impressions are important because you only get one. And, of course, you want to be yourself — but sometimes anxiety and awkwardness get in the way of that. We get it. First dates are the worst. Although they may be hard to navigate, they’re not hopeless and can actually be a lot of fun. To help ease your nerves, as well as keep the date as enjoyable as possible, here are some easy and insightful first tips that will make a date great (and might even land you a second).
- Safety first. No matter what, if you’re meeting up with a stranger, it’s best to do so in a public space and tell a trusted friend or family member where you’re going and when.
- Choose the right location. Location, location, location! Think casual and somewhere you’ve visited before so you know the drinks and snacks are good and affordable.
- Choose an activity that makes you come alive. Tired of coffee? You might want to invite your date to join you on an activity that makes you feel confident and vivacious, basically your best self. Maybe it’s dancing or rock climbing. Whatever it is, do your thing!
- Calm your nerves. First dates are nerve-wrecking for even the most sociable of butterflies. Do what you need to do to center yourself beforehand, i.e. meditating, yoga, or taking a few deep breaths.
- Pump yourself up. Even if you’ve been striking out lately in dating, don’t let your past deter you or play with your confidence. Shake off your bad dating experiences and realize that sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. Be hopeful and know you deserve someone great.
- Learn from the past. What worked in previous first dates and what didn’t? What would you like to change, and how can you implement those changes with this new date?
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. First dates are exciting but they’re more enjoyable when you keep them simple. Meaning: don’t put grand expectations on the result. Keep an open mind and take things slowly, and focus on having fun.
- Be prepared with some good stories. While you don’t want to stick to a script, when there’s a lull in the conversation, it’s a great idea to keep some fun facts about yourself, or a few interesting questions, in your back pocket.
- Wear something comfortable. Most people want to wear a stunning outfit to wow their date, but comfort is key, especially on a first date. The last thing you want is a pair of painful blisters because you chose high heels over loafers. Just don’t be a slob!
- Be aware of your body language. Our actions and vibes speak louder than words. Arms and feet being crossed and slouched shoulders usually mean “not interested,” while a smile and confident eye contact says, “I like you.”
- Speak up. First dates are all about connecting and engaging, which means communication. Don’t forget to ask questions and give more than one word answers.
- Ask meaningful questions. Skip the small talk including asking about your date’s Netflix list, and go a little deeper. Get to know them as a person and see if you’re compatible on a more authentic, less superficial level.
- Don’t go too heavy with the talk. This means skip potentially emotionally triggering topics like breakups, death, and any other subject that could be dramatic.
- Make it a two way conversation. Don’t monopolize the conversation talking about yourself. On the flip side, refrain from asking non-stop questions like you’re a police interrogator. Keep an even balance of sharing and being inquisitive.
- Be interested in your date. Don’t act interested, be interested. Look at your date as a fascinating creature and get curious about them. Curiosity is exciting and attractive, and will help alleviate those nerves.RELATED: 100+ Best Pick Up Lines That Never Get Old
- Try not to swear too much. Not that cussing is a bad thing, but while we might not live in Biblical times, cursing too much can grow tiresome and might even come across as aggressive, and could turn off your date.
- Be funny. Lighten up! Dates are supposed to be fun. Don’t be afraid to tell a good joke (non-offensive, of course) or tease your date a little (in a respectful way, of course).
- Lay off your phone. Better yet, put your phone on airplane mode. There’s nothing more irritating or disrespectful than a new date who can’t go a few minutes without checking the ‘gram.
- Handle your liquor. Having a glass of wine is fine but you don’t want to drink more than that without risking looking a little silly or not remembering much about your date.
- Order the same foods. Research shows that eating the same foods as your partner promotes trust and closeness between people. So if you both love cheese, then don’t be afraid to order another cheesy dish off the menu. Food bonds people!
- Be present. It’s easy to get caught up with what to say next or how to better charm your date, but that just robs you from enjoying the moment. Focusing on one moment at the time will better strengthen your connection.
- Have fun. So simple right? But when you’re struggling with self-consciousness and nerves and anticipation, having fun can be ignored. Don’t forget to laugh and tease and flirt with your date. Even if it doesn’t go anywhere, having fun is always the right answer.
- Be complimentary. Everyone loves to feel good, and receiving a nice compliment feels good. If you find your date attractive, don’t be afraid to tell them so. P.S. stick with respectful and authentic compliments.RELATED: 97 Totally Cheeky Love Jokes To Get Those Sparks Flying
- Don’t forget about what you want. Some people get caught up in making a good impression or not wanting to be single anymore that they ignore whether their date meets their needs and desires. Prioritize what you want and don’t settle.
- Maintain your boundaries. Everyone has the right to maintain and verbalize your boundaries to feel safe whether it’s physically, emotionally, or mentally. If you find yourself feeling pressured or violated, don’t be afraid to speak up.
- Know that your date doesn’t have to be perfect to be a match. In fact, most successful people are the definition of opposites attract. If you don’t click on hobbies or interests, but you do click on important values — and you have a spark — then it’s worth trying out a second date.
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