First dates are awkward by definition. You’re sitting across from someone you don’t know, trying to determine whether or not you like them enough to see them again—that’s never going to be a chill situation. However, you can make it less awkward by doing these things.
- Remember why your life is awesome. Before you meet him for drinks, take stock of your life. What’s awesome about it? Your family, your dog, your BFF? Maybe you love your apartment, your car, or your career (or all of the above). Keep those things in the forefront of your mind while you’re on a date. It should remind you of two things: a) you’re a catch and b) even if this date goes downhill fast, you still have tons going for you.
- Picture the worst case scenario. OK, I don’t mean that you should obsess over the worst thing that could happen but really, what’s the worst that could happen? He won’t like you and you’ll never hear from him again? This is the time to remember step number one! You’ve got tons of awesome stuff going for you, remember? Even if the date doesn’t go well, you’ll still wake up in the morning and go to the job you love or take your pooch for a quick stroll around your favorite neighborhood. Life is good.
- Ground yourself. This one might sound silly but it’s a tool that helps a lot of people with anxiety. If you tend to be super nervous before a date, bring (or wear) an object that reminds you of your reality. When you get too caught up in your head, touch your grounding object to bring you back down to earth. Remind yourself (again) of your awesome life and that the worst that could happen really isn’t that bad. Doing this will allow you to live in the moment and enjoy the evening regardless of the outcome.
- Be yourself. It might be the most cliche advice out there when it comes to dating but it’s still true. There’s nothing more awkward than someone who’s clearly trying to be someone they’re not while on a date. Don’t tell him you’re into sports if you hate them, don’t try to change political or religious affiliations at the last second, and certainly don’t apologize for who you are. Any guy worth your time will respect your opinions. Why would you want to date someone who doesn’t like you for your authentic self anyway?
- Ask lots of questions. The best dates leave you feeling like the other person was fascinated by you. It doesn’t even mean you have to have similar interests or feel a connection like no other. In order to make someone feel that way, you just have to ask a lot of questions. It can range from something easy and small (How’s your food? Have you been here before?) to something basic (What do you do for a living? Where did you grow up?) to something deeper (What do you think happens after we die? Do you believe any conspiracy theories?). Asking questions does three things for you. It’s something you can go to immediately when you can’t think of anything else to say. Plus, it leaves your date feeling like you were truly interested. Most people like to talk about themselves, so this almost guarantees he’ll have a good time. Finally, you’ll learn a lot of information about him. You can use that information later to decide if you want a second date!
- Have a drink if you must, but don’t get sloppy. If you’re feeling particularly nervous and you’re the type of person who can put on the charm a bit better after a glass of wine, go for it! That being said, don’t down three or four. You want to remember the date, after all.
- Wear something that makes you feel confident. Whatever that may be. Make sure you don’t buy an extra skimpy outfit if you don’t like to show off your body and don’t dress down if you feel more confident being glam. Whatever makes you feel in your element, that’s what you should go with. Confidence will show through on your date and you’ll be less awkward when you feel like yourself.
- Last but not least, have fun. Isn’t dating supposed to be fun?! I know it often isn’t, but try to remember that dating is supposed to be an enjoyable experience even if it doesn’t lead to a long-term relationship. Aim to do something fun on your date and remember to let yourself be in the moment.