How To Have An Amazing First Date
A first date can be a tense time for both parties. Neither knows what to expect, even if you have spoken to the person online or on the phone and perhaps feel that you know them quite well, most people tend to feel nervous before a first date. So here are some tips to have a great first date.
- Keep the first date short – Because the first date can be a little tense it is ideal to make it short and sweet. This way you can have a great time together and finish on a high. No matter how much you may have connected when you were chatting online, it can be completely different when you meet in person, and you never know how you are going to get on until you spend time with them in real life. So bearing this in mind keep the first date short.
By doing it this way if you don’t feel comfortable with them then you can leave early. However if you DO really like them, it is also important to keep the date short. A big mistake people make when they are dating is to spend too much time together too quickly. Although it is natural to want to spend time together when you like one another, it will allow the connection to develop more naturally if it develops more slowly over time. This way you can get to know one another gradually. Also you will value each other more if you are not too available right at the beginning. Healthy people keep their own separate lives as well as spending time dating.
Bearing this in mind avoid making dinner reservations for a first date. If it turns out to be awful (and it can) you will have to sit through at least an hour, usually longer, with them, or be very rude to leave early.
- Do something hands on and fun – Although a drink in the bar is a common choice for a first date it is not all that inventive. Also it can be a little hard to break the ice when you are sitting across from one another in a formal setting. In a similar vein grabbing a coffee can be a good choice for a first date because it is quick and easy, however if you really want to make an impression why not go for something unusual and hands on instead. Choose something where you are doing an activity together, the more hands on the better as this can help break the ice. Good examples are cooking together, going for a walk in a beautiful setting, pottery or something where you have to work as a team. This will take the pressure off of the two of you as you will be doing something together. It allows your personalities to come through more naturally, rather than the date turning into an ‘interview’ across the table, which can often happen when you meet in a bar.
- Be safe – This must be part of a dater’s mantra, especially for single women. It goes without saying that you must always keep safety in mind and opt to meet in a public place the first time you meet someone. Don’t agree to go for dinner at their house. No matter how well you feel you know someone from talking online, you can never really tell how trustworthy someone is until you have spent time with them. Also, really tune into your intuition (gut instinct). It is there to protect you and usually your intuition will tell you when something or someone doesn’t feel right. Listen to it and always put safety first.
- Make sure that you are in the right frame of mind before you go on your date – many people just go to their date straight from work, and while there is nothing wrong with this it is important to make sure that you show up in the right frame of mind for your date. If your head is still on your ‘to do’ list you will not be much fun on the date! Similarly if you turn up stressed, unhappy and moaning you will not make a good first impression. Take a few minutes to relax and prepare yourself before you head off on your date. Take some deep breaths and do a relaxation exercise if appropriate. Prepare your mind – visualize how you would like the date to go. Even if you do go straight from work you could do this while on the bus.
Some women spend hours getting ready physically, but don’t spend any time preparing mentally. While it is nice to make sure that you feel confident with your appearance, spending hours on it can actually add pressure. Instead spend just long enough to make yourself look smart and feel good, then spend a few minutes also preparing your mind. Ideally you will go on your dates feeling upbeat and relatively calm. It can be nice to play some uplifting music while you are getting ready and even have a dance around the room. Having said his don’t cancel the date if you are not in the perfect state of mind or if you are nervous. Often once you get out the house and on the date you will relax and have fun.
- Be yourself – Sometimes when people go on first dates they are not themselves. They change their personality to try to impress the other person. Perhaps their nerves to get the better of them and they end up behaving oddly, trying too hard, clamming up or even putting on a front to cover up the nerves. This is totally unnecessary and can harm your chances of creating a connection and having fun with your date. I know it can be nerve wracking meeting someone for the first time so let me tell you a little secret. EVERYONE feels nervous on a first date! So your date will likely be feeling just as apprehensive as you. It is natural so let yourself off the hook. Instead of worrying about your nerves concentrate on learning something new about this person in front of you and think about making them feel comfortable. This way you will find yourself relaxing quite naturally. Of course if you have chosen to do a hands on activity as outlined above this can also help you to relax. When you are feeling relaxed your true personality will shine through. Just be yourself. You are perfect exactly how you are.
- Have fun – In western culture we all seem to take dating very seriously. Forget about finding out whether this person is a suitable life partner at this stage. A FIRST DATE IS NOT FOR FINDING OUT IF THEY ARE SUITABLE BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND MATERIAL. That comes later. Chances are they are not – most first dates do not lead to relationships and if you know this it can help you to manage your expectations. First dates are simply to get you out there meeting and interacting with new people, and they are for enjoying yourself and having fun. By the way ‘having fun’ in this case does not mean getting really drunk or having sex, both of which should be avoided on a first date (if you want a second date that is). For the single clients I work with I always recommend getting out there and dating in the real world. I highly recommend you read my article on dating as therapy to learn more.
Have fun dating!