How To Lower The Stakes On A First Date & Actually Enjoy Yourself

It’s just the first date — no big deal, right? Wrong. You may have the best of intentions, but you can’t help picturing every guy you go out with as your future husband (or at least your future boyfriend). It’s only natural, but as you already know, it won’t get you the greatest results. Here’s how to lower the stakes on a first date and enjoy the night for what it is:

  1. Have the best day ever. It’s easier to be chill on a first date when you spent your day doing the things that you love to do. If it’s a weeknight, hopefully you have an awesome day at work listening to Taylor Swift with your fave coffee drink. If it’s a weekend, head to your regular workout class and binge/read/hang out with friends/etc. You’ll be less stressed when it’s time to leave your apartment for the date and you won’t care as much if things go south.
  2. Make plans for the next morning. No, not with your date, silly. Leaving a first date, good or bad, is so much easier when you know you’ll meet a friend for brunch the next day or go to your fave yoga class of the whole week. It reminds you that you’re an amazing person with an amazing life, no matter what happens with this guy.
  3. Have realistic red flags. It’s not crazy to have certain dealbreakers. The first date is when you should think about them because if you progress to a second date and so on with someone when you’re unsure about one aspect of their personality or life, you’re going to be sorry. If you go into the evening thinking that this might not be the perfect person for you, it’s a lot easier to move on if things don’t go well.
  4. Don’t forget your hope. There’s a different between being crazy unrealistic and still having some hope. Of course every date won’t result in the best love story ever but it might be a good start. If you’ve abandoned every ounce of hope in your body, you have no business dating anyway.
  5. Focus on anything else. This is so hard to do, I know, and yet it’s so necessary before a date. Live your life like you don’t have a first date in the near future at all. Then if you hit it off with this guy, it’ll be a totally happy surprise.
  6. Find what works for you. Some people like to keep weekends free so they only go out on weeknights for after-work drinks. Others prefer Friday nights so they don’t have to think about dating during the week. It’s totally up to you, and if you stick to your dating schedule, so to speak, then going on yet another first date will feel like just part of your routine. No big deal.
  7. Have a real conversation. This is so hit and miss because maybe your date is so boring it’s like pulling teeth trying to get them to say anything interesting. It’s a good goal to have, anyway. If you can lose yourself in what you’re talking about, you can kind of forget that you’re on a first date that could potentially lead somewhere or nowhere.
  8. Listen more. It sounds weird but it happens all the time: you talk about yourself so much on a date that when you leave you feel like you enjoyed yourself, and then realize you don’t know much about the other person. If you can make a habit of listening to your date more, then you’ll be able to make an educated decision about them. No pressure. Just learning more about someone else.
  9. Go to your fave bar. Sure, you might create some awful memories in your favorite space but then again, there are worse things to do than grab a drink in a bar you’re already comfortable in. Controlling the environment is always smart.
  10. Date more. The more dates you go on, the less you care when they don’t result in relationships or even second dates. That’s some single girl math right there.
Aya Tsintziras is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor from Toronto, Canada. In addition to writing about dating and relationships for Bolde, she also writes about movies, TV, and video games for ScreenRant and GameRant. She has a Political Science degree from the University of Toronto and a Masters of Journalism from Ryerson University. You can find her on Twitter @ayatsintziras and on Instagram @aya.tsintziras.