Are you constantly comparing yourself to other people's relationships or dating styles? Here is psychotherapist Hilda Burke's advice on why and how to stop.
First dates are exciting, fact. When you really hit it off with someone, it feels like magic. But first dates can also be nerve-wracking. It’s like balancing a bunch of balls in the air at once: You want to make a good first impression, but you’re also gauging if they’re making a good first impression; you’re wondering what they’re thinking while also trying to play it cool.
So with all that in mind, how can you get through the awkwardness and have a great first date? Follow this first date advice to get set up for success—and maybe even land a second date.
First date advice that’ll help you have a great time
1, Keep it low-key
First dates don’t have to be fancy. A casual setting sets a relaxed tone and helps take the pressure off. They also don’t have to last all day or night. The point is to get to know each other, have the chance to talk, and see if you’re interested in spending more time together.
You don’t need to sit through a five-course dinner at the top-rated steakhouse in town; getting drinks or going for a walk are perfect casual yet creative date ideas for your first meet-up.
2. Set your expectations
It’s okay to hope your date will go well. But if your expectations are too high, you might end up disappointed. Not every first date is a perfect match, and that’s okay! Try not to assume it’ll be an instant love connection or get too far ahead of yourself thinking about the future.
You won’t know how the date goes until you’re on it, so focus on being your best self and look forward to spending time with someone, not how you’ll feel after it’s over or what will happen next.
3. Prioritize your safety
When you go on a first date, chances are, you either don’t know your date well or have never met them at all. No matter how great they seem, remember: They’re a total stranger, so it’s smart to exercise caution.
Choose a public place where there will be plenty of people around. Then, share the day, time, and location of the date with a trusted friend, and check-in with them periodically to let them know you’re doing okay. Bonus first date advice: For an extra layer of security, you can also share where you are on social media.
4. Make a good first impression
It sounds cliché, but it’s true: You only get one chance to make a good first impression. If you want to stand out in their mind as a memorable date, it’s important to make an effort. Take a shower, wear a nice outfit, and put a few extra minutes into your appearance. Be polite, be respectful, and be on time. All the things you hope your date does for you? Make that same effort for them. If you roll out of bed and rush over at the last minute, it’ll show—and it’s not a great look.
5. Prepare some small talk
It happens to everyone: You’re on your date, having a nice time when suddenly, you run out of things to talk about. You’ve shared where you’re from, what you do for a living, and how you spend your free time. Now what?
Our first date advice is don’t dwell on the awkward silence; just move through it. Instead of panicking and rambling—or worse, saying “Awkward silences, am I right?”—have a prepared story to share or an engaging question to ask. It’ll keep the conversation flowing and give you something new to talk about.
6. Be yourself
When you meet someone new, it can be tempting to change parts of yourself to be more in line with what you think they like. But that does a disservice to both of you. If you want to meet someone who likes the real you, you have to show them the real you.
Be honest about your life, share your likes and dislikes, and don’t worry if you don’t have everything in common. People can sense when you’re being disingenuous, and it often comes off as phony. Just be you!
7. Have fun
The best first date advice we can give you is to have fun. Go into the date with a positive attitude and look forward to having a good time. Try not to overthink it or get too in your head about it; instead, relax, have fun, and don’t take it too seriously. It’s just a date! Whether the date leads to long-lasting love or you never see them again, you can still enjoy spending a few hours getting to know somebody new.
So, what are you waiting for, get out there and start dating!