Dating is not easy, especially after a pandemic. We are now faced with a whole new set of difficulties and it is easy to get discouraged. Finding someone worth talking to and investing time in is a challenge and even when you finally do, the stress of dating seems to only intensify. We start worrying about things like – am I going to get ghosted? When if they break up with me? What if… (insert your own fears here)? It is natural to feel this way. However, we still need to remain on the more positive side of thinking and approaching dating, rather than the negative. Because no matter the difficulty and challenges you might face, you deserve to find your special someone. Below you will find 7 tips on how to approach a first date with someone so that you can hopefully be on the right path toward a happy relationship.
1 – Get in the Right Mindset
Meeting someone for the first time can be nerve-wracking. Whether you have been talking to someone for a short or long time before meeting face-to-face, it doesn’t take away the anxiety you might feel. Getting your head in the right mindset is the first place to start, but it can be tricky. First, realize that you are not alone with feeling anxious. If dating wasn’t hard enough, add a pandemic into the mix and it because a chaotic mess. Don’t put extra pressure on yourself by taking the first date too seriously. Most first dates are also last dates with that someone so don’t overthink it. Putting too much onto it adds unneeded stress but also remember that if you don’t date, you will not find that special someone. Go in with an open mindset and just try to enjoy the night for what it is. Do not worry about what comes after the first date before it even starts.
2 – Create a Pre-Date Ritual
Create a playlist to listen to while you get ready for your first date. Add songs that lift your mood and dance out some of those first date jitters. Keeping a positive mindset before the date can help ease some of the nerves you might be feeling. You can also try other activities that you find relaxing like taking a bath, reading a book, watching your favorite TV show. Whatever it is, focus on the activity you are doing to draw your mind away from worrying about the date and what might happen.
3 – First Impressions
When picking out what to wear make sure it is something that makes you feel beautiful and amazing. Dress for the venue because you don’t want to show up too fancy or too casual and feel out of place. Another way to make a good first impression is to focus on your body language. We all notice physical cues and use them to read a person to see if they are enjoying the time together. On a first date pay attention to the way you are sitting. Avoid sitting with your arms crossed or slouching because it gives off the vibe that you are uninterested and closed off to the whole experience. You can also use body language in a positive way to show that you are into them. Some great ways to subtly show someone you are interested is by making eye contact, finding times to touch their arm (playful flirting is a great thing), and lean closer to them whenever the perfect opportunity is available.
4 – Forget Prerequisites
We all have a mental checklist of things we are looking for in a partner but try to keep an open mind when starting with someone. Maybe they don’t tick every box on your list but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a great match for you. Give them time to show you who they really are as a person. Factors like their age, job, past, interests are all things that don’t define a person. The only “prerequisites” you should ever worry about going into the first date are your non-negotiable core values like humor, honesty, kindness, etc.
5 – Be Engaging
On a first date, silent moments can be quite awkward. It gives you a moment for your mind to wonder and most of the time to negative thoughts. You start questioning if they are bored or uninterested. Realize that the occasional moment of silence doesn’t always equal bad. Shyness and nerves can play a part in those breaks of conversation but don’t let them stall the whole date. A great way to avoid those moments is to engage in conversation. Ask questions and share stories about yourself but be sure to give your date room to ask and share as well. You don’t want to dominate the conversation but you can help guide the engagement. Just remember, if a silent break happens use it as a moment to catch your breath and relax before you start back up the conversation.
6 – Let Go of Outdated Rules
We are living in a new generation of dating. Even before the pandemic, dating was much different than it was 60 years ago so all the rules we have heard over time don’t necessarily apply for today. We have all heard the rule “don’t kiss on the first date” but why not? If you are both feeling each other, what is wrong with sharing a little passionate moment. Most of us who are going on first dates have met someone online and been talking to them for some time. We have had to turn our attention to virtual interactions (texting, video calls, talking on the phone) which have driven us to create an emotional connection. So first dates don’t sometimes feel like “first dates.” We feel a strong connection to them so yeah, feelings of wanting to kiss them will likely happen compared to if you barely know the person. Don’t feel like you are doing something wrong. Make your own rules when it comes to dating based on what you feel and your comfort level.
7 – “No” is not a Bad Word
So I mentioned above that when it comes to rules, go off what you feel comfortable with. Remember that “no” is not a word to be afraid to use. If you have been in the dating world for the past few years, you know that a lot of people are out there just for sexual interactions rather than genuine dating. You have the ones who are upfront about it and the ones that mislead you before the first date. Do not allow yourself to compromise your comfortability on the first date (or at any time of your life). Your safety and well-being is what is most important. So if you are getting a bad vibe, trust your gut and find away to get out of that situation. Do not be afraid to set boundaries and say “no.” If they can’t respect and understand why you are saying no, then they are not someone you need in your life.