Going on a first date often feels like a delicate balancing act. You have to strike the right chord with your personality, appear eager but not desperate, and try to be funny without being annoying or just not funny at all. And if you do a first date with food or drinks, there’s a whole new playing field for faux pas and accidents of all kinds—it’s easy to get yourself stressed before you’re even dressed.
Stop right there. If you want to alleviate the pressure, just be confident. Here are seven tips to ensure that your first dates go betters and you have a better chance of landing that second date when you decide they’re worth it.
This might seem like telling someone to “calm down” when they are clearly unable to control their level of anxiety. However, taking a deep breath can go a long way. You’ll be more confident, more comfortable, and you’ll be able to sit up taller. If you’re all tight and hunched over, it’s not going to be a cute look, no matter how good the conversation might be.
Put Your Phone Away
We can’t stress this one enough. It’s 2022—if you’re not listening for a call from the kids, you don’t need your phone on the table when you’re on a date. Keep it away, keep it on silent or vibrate if you can, and stay present in the moment. You’ll have plenty of time later to swap TikTok favorites or laugh over memes that you found on Instagram. It’s good for you to get out of the phone for a while, and it also shows your date that you are invested in the experience and want to value your time.
Make Sure It’s a Two-Way Conversation
It’s easy to get carried away talking about yourself, or letting them talk about themselves, but you have to make sure that there’s a back-and-forth. If the conversation is too one-sided, it will likely become awkward quickly, or someone will feel slighted. Try to be brief when describing yourself or answering questions, and then return the question with another about them.
Don’t Be Too Touchy
Sometimes, touchiness shows people you care. On a first date, it usually makes people more uncomfortable than anything. A hug, fine. Being all over them all night long? Creep-tastic. Feel the vibe and go with the mood—hand holding, arms around each other, it can all happen if the mood is right, but don’t expect it and certainly don’t force it.
It’s best to play it by ear or let them make the moves. The worst that happens is they ask why you weren’t more touchy, and you could say you’re being respectful. That’s also a good way to find a girlfriend to join me and my husband and get permission—simply let them know you’re trying to be polite, but you really want to hold their hand, etc. You might be surprised how far honesty gets you.
Watch the Language
Swearing is not always as cute as you may think. It gets old, eventually. When you’re young, you might think that using the “F” word five times in a sentence makes you cool. As you age, you’ll learn that especially when you’re first meeting people, manners still go a long way. The best way to do this is to start curbing the habit now so that when the dates come along, you’re ready.
Too often, we get caught up in our own minds and instead of listening to learn something about someone, we listen to respond. Thus, our brains are picking information and then distracted by coming up with a response, and we’re really only getting a small portion of the message. When your date is talking, listen to them. Pay attention. Make mental notes of things that seem important and when you get a turn to speak, say something that shows you’ve been paying attention.
A first date can be whatever you make it. If you keep these tips in mind, you will be able to make it a better experience for both of you. If you have dates that don’t go well and it’s more than just the lack of connection, try to figure out what you could have done better. After all, if you want to find the right person, it’s going to take a bit of dating the wrong people so you’ll be able to hone your skills.