In the old days, you met someone, thought they were cute, and went on a date. You either got along or you didn’t. You were in an instant relationship or you awkwardly bumped into them because they were usually a friend of a friend. These days, it takes a lot of work to find dates, and the hard work doesn’t end once you actually land one. The pre-date stage is arguably the most anxiety-inducing part of the whole process. Here are the most nerve-racking parts of setting up a date.
Getting up the guts to ask.
Sometimes you have to make the first move. You’ve been chatting with a great guy on Tinder for a while and he seems interested, but he hasn’t brought up actually meeting and you want to just bite the bullet and ask him out. You’ll probably spend a good chunk of time trying to talk yourself out of it. What if he hasn’t asked yet for a good reason? What if he says no? What if this date is as bad as all the other ones? Eventually, you’ll force yourself to type those words and he’ll say yes, and you’ll wonder why you were so worried (but that won’t stop you from freaking out next time, too).
Deciding on a place.
The bar selection for a first date is pretty important. It can’t be too dark or noisy for obvious reasons. It shouldn’t be too far from your apartment, because who wants to travel two hours for what could be a truly awful date? It shouldn’t be too close, either, because you don’t want the guy knowing where you live – you know, safety and all that. You can suggest your go-to place or see if he has any ideas. You’ll wonder if you’re being too bossy but you won’t want him to just decide on a bar without wanting your input. It’s exhausting.
Choosing a weeknight or weekend.
Is it better to go on a date on a Tuesday night, which is definitely not a romantic day of the week but doesn’t ruin your Friday night if it doesn’t go well? Or are weekends smarter because you have all of Sunday to recover/get your mojo back/daydream if it did go well? These are tough decisions and no one can make them but you. Sometimes you have zero choice in the matter since we all have pretty crazy work schedules these days, and you might be heading out to a last-minute date when you wanted a few days to prepare.
Analyzing how easy-going he is.
You basically want a first date to be set up super quickly and painlessly. It’s a bad sign if the guy makes a big deal out of anything before you’ve even sat across from him. And if he starts hemming and hawing about vacation plans or his crazy busy work schedule, you know the date is a no-go.
You might get a bad vibe once the date is set.
You may think everything’s great because you now have a date, but it doesn’t always end there. I’ve had guys proceed to tell me it’s amazing that I actually made a plan because apparently girls never do that (really?) or start whining about their online dating woes. You don’t need to be someone’s sounding board for their frustrations so you can always feel free to cancel if you get a weird vibe. You might be even more tempted to cancel if you get wind of something sketchy about him on social media.
Knowing how much texting is too much.
It’s pretty standard to exchange cell numbers so you can text the person when you get to the bar or restaurant since, you know, you’ve never met each other before. But sometimes people want to chat with you in the days leading up to the first date, and it can be tricky to know how much texting is a good idea. What if you run out of things to say and have gone over all the important first date questions before the first date even happens? Or what if you realize their texting personality is totally different from your initial chat and you’re not even into it because they seem negative? It can be pretty confusing.
Getting mentally prepared.
Whether you’ve been going on a date or two a week these days or your evenings have consisted of kale salads and Lifetime movies, it still takes a whole lot to go on a first date. You have to give yourself about a million pep talks to even convince yourself that this is worth doing. You might even be doing this up until it’s time to leave your apartment.
Decoding his invite.
If it’s a second, third, or even fourth date, setting up the date is even worse than the first because you’re wondering if his “Netflix and chill?” text means this is only something casual. Basically, anything he suggests from the classic dinner and a movie to if he can cook you dinner at his apartment is going to throw you into a tailspin of emotion, wondering what it means. It’s hard to get excited about finding someone you actually like when there’s so much to worry about.
Finding a social media stalking balance.
There’s a difference between seeing what bands he talks about in his Facebook statues and scrolling through the profiles of all of his ex-girlfriends. You have to find the perfect balance of legit info searching and being a totally creepy stalker. This will be the deciding factor in whether you even want a second-plus date with this guy. And if it’s the first date, it’s even more important.
Figuring out your expectations.
Sometimes we honestly don’t care how a date ends up, and other times we’re totally invested in making it a good one. It really depends on how you’re feeling that day and how many dates you’ve gone on recently. So hold your head high, take a deep breath and try not to picture the two of you dancing at your wedding. You probably should get through the first and second date first.
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