First dates can be a load of fun due to the thrill alone, but they also require a tad bit of work on your end. Not only will you be tasked with analyzing your date for compatibility, but you’ll also have to work equally as hard to make a great first impression. And making a good first impression can be harder than you think. To help calm your pre-date nerves, keep these tips in mind:
1. Adjust Your Attitude
Had bad luck in the past on first dates? That’s enough of a reason to have your guard up as you head into your forthcoming date. But, deciding to be open-minded can work wonders. Start by reflecting on your previous first dates and what went wrong. There’s a chance you may discover actions you could’ve taken to change the outcome.
Also, commit to reserving judgement until you get to know the new date since he or she may not be a perfect match. And, even if this date doesn’t go as planned, remember there’s a lot to be learned from each new experience.
2. Open Up
First dates are a chance to learn about each other to see if you’re an ideal match. You should engage in positive dialogue and listen attentively to what the other person has to say when you’re not speaking. But, leave the negativity at home. This is not the time to complain about your job or go on and on about your exes.
If you’re shy, this can be easier said than done. Do your best to make conversation and be yourself. And, try to avoid pre-rehearsed lines — A study from Science Direct claims that “openings involving jokes, empty compliments and sexual references received poor ratings.” If you are nervous talking about yourself, focus on asking your date questions and let a natural conversation happen.
3. Plan an Activity
One of the best ways to enjoy a date is to include an activity you can talk about later on in the evening. Doing something like taking a guided nature hike or seeing a Broadway show can serve as a great conversation starter for dinner or drinks. Plus, doing something physical or mentally stimulating can help calm your nerves or prevent awkward pauses.
4. Prepare Ahead of Time
If you plan on taking your date to a nice dinner, be sure to make a reservation. You don’t want the first hour of your date to be waiting for a table. You also may want to peruse the menu online so you know what to order and how much it will cost. You don’t want to make an impulsive decision that isn’t tasty or is out of your price range (and you shouldn’t assume he or she is covering your meal). Lastly, consider a dish that isn’t too messy as your focus should be your date and not on the food on your plate.
5. Be Safe
While you hope your date is trustworthy and has your best interest at heart, looks are sometimes deceiving. To protect yourself, arrange to meet your date in a public place and make sure your phone is fully charged. Also, be sure to tell a friend your plans and touch base with them so they know you’re safe. And, if possible, give your friend the name and picture of your date in the event of an emergency.