There are some things in life that are inevitable — and first dates are one of them. Regardless of if you already have a go-to outfit for this occasion or are triple texting your best friend on what your outfit should be, we’ve all experienced this first step in getting to know someone.
With the pressure of trying to act natural while hoping he or she laughs at your jokes, first dates are similar to a prolonged interview (but with darker lipstick and lighter conversation). Even though first dates can be nerve-wracking, they’re also a wonderful reminder of the different people in the world and the potential you may have with one of them. In order to remain calm and show how great we all know you already are, here are five ways to feel confident when you go on a first date.
1. Stay open-minded.
We’re all familiar with having an idea of the type of person we want to be with. From someone who has a dog and loves to hike to someone who would rather stay inside and watch movies on a Saturday night, we seem to know the traits our “perfect” person would have.
Although this is a great way to recognize your expectations, it shouldn’t be a determining factor on whether the relationship will work out. No matter how certain (or uncertain) you are of who your ideal match is, there’s no guarantee that someone who fits your checklist will truly fit your lifestyle. By allowing yourself to go into the date with an open mind, you may just discover traits you never considered (or even knew existed) — and be pleasantly surprised by them.
2. Prepare for the conversation.
The pressure of a constant conversation probably makes up 97% of the reason for why people are nervous for first dates. But how could it not? A large portion of the date should (hopefully) be filled with conversation. This is the time to discover if your date binge-watches your favorite shows, has similar hobbies as yours, or cares as much about his or her morning coffee as you do.
No matter how well the date is going, it’s comforting to have some open-ended questions in the back of your mind. Don’t get us wrong — we aren’t saying to memorize an entire dialogue of your favorite childhood memory, but to prepare for any silences so that you don’t panic because of them. Through doing this, you’ll decrease the chance of a stale conversation and increase your confidence for a steady one.
3. Be yourself — without overthinking it.
Whether you’re contemplating what you should do with your hands or what food you should order (that won’t get stuck in your teeth), it’s easy to get caught up in overthinking things you usually don’t think twice about. Before you begin spiraling into this stressful mindset, take a deep breath.
There’s a reason your date wants to get to know you more, and it has everything to do with who you are and nothing to do with how you almost tripped up the stairs in front of him or her (it happens). Be yourself — make your sarcastic comments and don’t hold back when you talk about things that matter to you. The people who are right for you will not only recognize who you are, but appreciate you for being just that.
4. Don’t take what happens personally.
We get it — it’s difficult to not second-guess yourself during a date when you’re being vulnerable by simply showing up. The thoughts that begin piling in your head range from wondering if there will be a second date to why you seem to continue choosing the wrong guys for you.
To explain his actions (or why he isn’t taking any after the date), you begin to look back on what went wrong and how you could’ve reacted differently. Maybe it was because you didn’t smile at his attempt at showing how witty he was or that you openly disagreed with his opinion. The longer you dwell, the quicker you’ll begin to self-blame.
The trick to avoiding these toxic thoughts is to simply realize that being yourself is enough — you shouldn’t have to rearrange your traits in hopes that your date finds you interesting. If someone wants to get to know you, nothing will stop them. And if they don’t, nothing you do differently will make them.
5. Remember your date is also human.
While you’re wondering if your date will be able to somehow tell how long it took you to curl your hair, your date is probably praying you don’t realize it took him or her two days to pick a restaurant. The conclusion to this? You’re both nervous and pretending not to be.
We tend to become so involved in our own feelings and thoughts that we sometimes forget that people have similar experiences — and in this case, nerves. By reminding yourself that your date is human, you’ll recognize that this date is for the both of you to discover if there’s something further to explore when all the nervousness goes away.