The subject of first dates takes up a lot of space in our article archives and the boards on Advice. It is the occasion where you make that valuable first impression, which may or may not lead to any further encounters.
It can be as quick as a 30 second determination for some. If the prospective love interest is not your typical type, you may just mentally shut down and not invest any real interest. To that point, I do have to say I have heard countless stories of first dates which were horrible — and the couple eventually went on to fall in love anyways!
Everyone says to just “be yourself” on a first date, and while that is really great advice it is very hard to completely be in that zen state of mind with a stranger you are trying to impress. From everything I have read all over the site – expert opinions and personal stories alike – here is my best advice regarding the first date experience.
1. Do choose a place you are comfortable with and have frequented before. This will at least help with one aspect of the nerves and hopefully being in a familiar environment can ease your tension a bit.
2. Don’t pick the fanciest, most upscale place in town. A friend told me she recently felt really awkward being on a date in such a place, where everything was so expensive and the vibe was very uptight. This does not lend to either party feeling relaxed and open.
3. Do go on lots of first dates. As with anything, practice makes perfect and you will eventually become more relaxed with the process. The more experience you have in dating, your perspective also shifts a little bit – there isn’t so much weighing on the one date, because you know there will be others in the future.
5. Don’t put so much stress or energy into one meeting. If you can go into it with no expectations and just look at it as a chance to meet someone new, this will help with the anxiety and hopefully ease both parties. It’s just a few hours of your life, and if you don’t click with the other person, it’s ok. It happens to us all. Move onto the next and don’t assume there is anything wrong with you.
6. Don’t get nervous and flake on someone just hours before your date. I see this complaint a lot on the boards and it is so rude … unless there really is an emergency! Have some consideration for other people and force yourself to get out there and meet others — even if you are unsure.
Most of all, have fun with the process. Some dates will be great and others a complete miss. It’s a bit of a rollercoaster –- but the experiences will benefit you in the end.