You really like the person you’re on a date with but you’re freaking out inside about whether or not they feel the same and if you’ll ever see them again. Calm your nerves, ditch the bad first date habits, and nab yourself that second date by doing these things.
Plan out some talking points. I know this feels weird since it’s not a business meeting, but for really nervous people, this can be super helpful! Plan out some things to talk about before you go. Ask things like their favorite drink rather than what they look for in a woman—the latter will kill a first date vibe quickly. The more you do this, the less you’ll need to plan at all.
Don’t seem desperate. Desperation isn’t really appropriate for any situation short of begging someone for your life or really needing to go to the bathroom. It definitely has no place on the first date. Asking whether they like you, if they think you’re beautiful, or even if they’re having a good time are all no-nos. Keep your interest subtle and gentle by saying things like, “I had a really nice time tonight” at the end of the date. It’s definitely OK to want something to work out, but it can scare a new prospect away if you overwhelm them with how badly you want a relationship. Act like dates are a dime a dozen.
Don’t share anything too personal. This is a big one. A first date isn’t the time to tell someone how you struggled with depression in high school and are on medication now for it. Don’t discuss your recent doctor’s appointments or other private issues. It’s not that you’re trying to hide who you really are or to cover up your emotions, but it’s important to remember that the person across from you is essentially a stranger. Would you go up to a stranger on the street and say, “You know, I’ve been having these medical issues lately. What do you think could be the cause?” I hope not.
Mind your Ps and Qs. Manners maketh the (wo)man. Show that you’re a kind, considerate, and polite person. Say please and thank you (remember kindergarten). Be kind to the waiter or waitress and actually listen when your date speaks to you. There’s no one who enjoys a one-sided date. Also, offer to pay for your portion of the bill—it shows you’re not just out for a free meal. If they decline your offer, let it be and don’t force the issue but offer to get them next time.
Keep it light and positive. First dates should be fun and enjoyable, not emotional and tense. It’s a good suggestion to stay away from loaded topics like politics or religion. Don’t press someone for their opinion on something heavy like that. It makes people uncomfortable and leaves them open for judgment. People have actually asked me on FIRST dates, “So, do you have a relationship with the Lord?” or “What are your political views?” Once the words have been uttered, I’ve checked out. They’ve killed my mood for a second date. Can we not just have a drink and a laugh right now and save that other stuff for later?
Don’t talk about your exes (or future plans). This person wants to get to know you and see if there’s a future together. They don’t want to see your emotional baggage taking up an extra seat at the table. Things like, “My last boyfriend was abusive, and it just made me think all men were like that” not only show that you’re bitter but also that you still might be hung up on this person! Focus on who you’re with at that moment and get to know them. For the first date, leave your baggage at home. Also, don’t mention your future plans that could potentially involve this person. For example, “I would love to have babies and get married before I’m 30.” You just met this person! Chill out on the pressure gauge. These comments can send the other person running for the hills and not calling for date number two.
Don’t ask questions you wouldn’t ask normal people. Don’t beg for a compliment. Don’t pry into the other person’s personal life. You don’t ask normal people, “So how was your time in the bathroom?” or “Don’t I look great tonight?” I once had someone ask me how I felt about circumcised genitals, and then he told me about how his life was as a circumcised man. Come on, this is a first date, people! This isn’t the time for these kinds of conversations! Needless to say, he didn’t receive a second date from me.
Fake it ’til you make it (I know, I know). OK, this advice may be a little cliche but this is true! A first date is similar to a job interview in that you’re trying to showcase your best side. Who shows up to a job interview saying, “OK, so here are my top 10 WORST qualities and I have references to show that”? If you’re feeling less than confident, then you fake it! Pretend like you’ve got a whole line of people ready to go out with you. Believe that you’re great! It will show the other person that you’re comfortable with yourself: a super attractive quality!
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