When you feel like an awkward person, doing something daunting and potentially embarrassing like dating can feel unbearable. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. There are a few tips and tricks and you can apply to help you survive the dating process, so keep reading to learn all about them. And remember, when it comes to dating, everyone is a little awkward, so don’t worry so much!
Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.
This advice is clichéd but that’s because it’s so effective that most people swear by it. The absolute best thing you can do if you feel awkward about dating is be yourself. Don’t pretend to be anyone else. Wear what you’re comfortable in. Talk about topics that interest you. Laugh at what you find funny. Don’t force yourself to be someone you think your date will like for two reasons. One: you won’t be able to play anyone else as well as you can play yourself. And two: even if you can pretend to be someone else, you can’t keep that up forever.
Keep things low-key.
Things tend to feel more awkward when you’re also dealing with nerves and anxiety. So it’s a good idea to keep dating as low-key as possible. Lower the stakes to reduce the pressure. Choose places and activities that make you comfortable. For example, it might be better to opt for coffee dates or walks in the park rather than a candlelit dinner at an upscale restaurant.
Address your nerves.
Nerves can make you feel more awkward and can make you act in weird ways (it’s fine, we’ve all been there!). Therefore, it’s important to address your anxiety before going on the date. Choosing a safe place for the date helps, but you can also practice deep breathing before you leave to physically calm your body down. Additionally, a good idea to avoid drinking caffeine as this stimulant can make you even more jittery.
Get lots of practice.
Often, you’ll find that the more you date, the less strange and awkward it will feel. Kind of like how the first day of school was terrifying but it eventually got better. As uncomfortable as it may be, try and get as much practice as possible with dating. Dating apps like Hinge and Bumble are great for finding dates and catching up with them, even for something as simple as a brunch.
Get practice in a non-romantic setting.
If you’re super nervous and awkward in most social situations, jumping straight to dating might be too big a step. Instead, you could try practicing with non-romantic social situations. For example, you might like to start attending networking events in your industry or parties that you’d usually say no to. Meetup.com is a fantastic platform for meeting new people with similar interests to you.
Don’t be hard on yourself.
Try not to be too hard on yourself. Remember, everyone is a little awkward when dating. It’s an awkward concept! You’re two people who are meeting up to essentially assess whether you like each other or could ever like each other. So nearly every date will come with some awkward moments. It is what it is, so please don’t feel like you have to miss out because you’re more aware of your awkwardness than other people tend to be.
Let the conversation flow naturally.
Awkward silences are probably one of your nightmares. Again, remember that they’re super common and it doesn’t mean that things are going terribly. Try to let the conversation flow naturally. Really listen to what the other person is saying and take your time to think of a response.
But still, have some topics up your sleeve.
While letting the conversation flow, you can still have some pre-planned topics up your sleeve in case there’s a silence that’s a little too long. Stay away from controversial topics, especially for a first date, as these can make things super uncomfortable really quickly. Instead, stick to topics that are open-ended and most people will enjoy talking about such as travel, pets, hobbies, food, or even work.
Don’t try to be funny.
Being funny can be a great way to impress on a first date. But trying to be funny and failing at it can be insufferably uncomfortable. And if you’re already worried about things getting awkward, don’t add the pressure of telling jokes onto your shoulders. If a joke naturally comes to you, fine. But don’t go to the date determined to make them laugh because it could seriously backfire.
Do laugh at yourself.
Again, dating is awkward. Don’t be hard on yourself about it, but do give yourself permission to laugh! Awkward silences are uncomfortable in the moment, but remember that even if a date goes horribly, you can always laugh about it with your friends later on. At the dating level, things really should be light and fun, so don’t be afraid to chuckle about those inevitable awkward moments.
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