First-Date Survival Guide

Emma Walters

Sep 06 2016

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When looking for a relationship, there are two kinds of people in this world: the kind that breeze through first dates like they are the charming host of an awards show; and the kind that feel like they are walking into an FBI interrogation naked.

This First-Date Survival Guide is for both of these types of people, who are looking for love because we all need a little reassurance in our lives.

Whether you met through online dating, or you got the courage to ask the girl out from the coffee shop, here are some tips, and thoughts, to get you through the first date, and hopefully, on to the second.

Planning the date

“No one looks stupid when they’re having fun.” – Amy Poehler

Keep this in mind when picking a spot to eat. The more formal the setting, the more likely your interactions are to be awkward. On a first date, don’t worry about impressing your date by getting a table at the swankiest restaurant in town. Do something more relaxed or upbeat, like some of the date ideas listed here.

When you look good, you feel good

Do something nice for yourself! According to Abraham Rutchick, a psychology professor at California State University, Northridge, the way you dress has an immediate effect on how powerful you feel, and how confidently you think. This also leads others to perceive you as a self-assured person. To prep for your date, go get your hair blown-out, or buy a new shirt. Whatever makes you feel sexy.

Don’t waste the pretty

This is something my momma always used to tell me before a date. You’ve taken the time to get yourself looking hot, and now it’s done. It’s pointless to sit across from someone wondering if they find you attractive or to sit and rely on how attractive you think you are. Because ya know what: once the date is rolling, a connection depends on more than physical appearance. It’s about letting your personality shine through. It’s about smiling with your eyes and showing interest in the other person.

Read before you go

We all fear running out of things to talk about on a first date. So, prep yourself with topics. Don’t read the political garbage; read upbeat news covering things like scientific breakthroughs, trivial knowledge about the restaurant you’re dining in, sports (if you think that will go over well), or even useless facts about cats. Just have something in your back pocket.

Recharge your confidence

If you’re utterly nervous, here is a tip: before you go on your date, write down what you have to offer. Think of how your friends might describe you, or what you’re good at. When you go on a date, sometimes it’s easy to forget that the other person is just as lucky to be on a date with you, as you are to be on a date with them.

Talk and listen

It took me a long time to realize that in order for another person to feel bonded to me, they had to know me. Open up and share a little about yourself. You don’t have to wait for the other person to ask. Just as importantly, ask about the other person and give them their time to share. Don’t try to fill the silence all the time. A pause can be an invitation for the other person to open up.

Remember: Your date is human, too

Even if your date is one of those people who seems to feel relaxed on a first date, they’d have to be a sociopath to not feel a little anxious. Odds are, the other person is just as nervous as you, wondering what to say, hoping they look ok – all the feelings you are experiencing. Take the pressure off yourself by helping them feel comfortable and at ease.

The first 10 minutes of the date is always the most nerve-wracking. Accept it. Ride that shaky wave through, knowing that the feelings of anxiety are already on their way out. I think that a lot of people back out of a date because it’s just so much pressure, especially when meeting someone you’ve met online.

You’ve got to decide if you want to live a life full of excitement and love, and if the answer is yes, then just remember these tips and thoughts and just go for it. You will survive, I promise.

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