There’s no denying that first dates can make most people incredibly nervous 98.3% of the time (approximately). Whether you’ve been on 100 first dates, or you’re relatively new to the dating game, meeting someone for the first time can be awkward and uncomfortable. But, good news! It doesn’t always have to be, and having tips for feeling comfortable on a first date in your back pocket might help you feel more at ease the first time you meet, which might result in an even higher chance of hitting it off with that cutie you met on Bumble.
First dates can be such a mixed bag, and it’s easy to feel incredibly nervous and excited at the same time. Part of you might be super pumped to hang out with someone new, and another part of you might literally want to hide under the covers at the mere thought of making small talk for even an hour. I get it! Who wouldn’t want to cancel plans at the last minute to stay home and marathon watch The Office for the fifth time? But think about it like this: Even a date with someone you’re not totally sure you’re into can result in an awesome friendship if there’s no romantic spark. Taking the pressure off the situation can do wonders for your nerves, so if you’re nervous you won’t feel comfortable on a first date, try not to stress. The following tips might help.
1. Don’t feel like you have to agree with everything they say.
It’s understandable to feel like you should play it safe on a first date and smile politely at everything they say (even if you don’t totally agree) to avoid conflict. But that’s not necessarily fair to you, nor to your date, if you’re just telling them what you think they want to hear. Simply agreeing with everything they say can give your date the wrong idea about the things you feel, value, and believe.
"Don’t be aggressive, but don’t try to agree with everything for the sake of getting along," dating coach Cora Boyd previously told Elite Daily. "Dating is as much about breaking rapport as it is building rapport."
2. Tell yourself you’re just hanging out with a friend.
One of the biggest things that may psych you out when you’re going on a first date is that you don’t really know this person. Sure, you’ve probably texted every day for the last week, but you’ve never really hung out with them — they’re totally new. However, if you tell yourself they’re just a friend, you may be able to calm your first date nerves by tricking yourself into believing you’re just meeting up with one of your pals. The mind is a powerful thing, my friends.
3. Remember, you don’t have to be the one filling every conversation gap.
"You don’t have to be the one pushing the conversation and the interaction forward all of the time," Boyd said. Though conversation lulls on a first date can be awkward, making sure it flows smoothly shouldn’t be solely your responsibility — it should be a two-way street. This need to fill an awkward conversation gap may cause you unnecessary stress, which can make it harder for you to feel comfortable on your first date. Release the stress! Let your date feel some of it. One of you is bound to talk first, and it shouldn’t always be you.
4. Keep in mind that if you’re not enjoying yourself, you can always leave.
A first date where you want to pull your hair out one strand at a time as every new word comes out of your date’s mouth is definitely not fun, and at the end of the day, you don’t have to sit through it if you truly don’t want to. "Be nice, be respectful, do your due diligence, be a kind person," Boyd said. "But if you are not having a good time, don’t stay for hours just because you feel like that is what you are supposed to do." You don’t have to give your date a lengthy explanation. "I have to head out, I have an early morning!" should do.
5. Don’t go into the date with an agenda.
It may be tempting to go into a date with a list of questions you want to ask, but having too much of an agenda can keep you from relaxing and enjoying yourself. Dating coach Evan Marc Katz warned against going into the date thinking, "I’m going to figure out what this guy’s deal is, I’m going to figure out what’s wrong with him, I’m not going to get hurt, I’m not going to waste my time like I did with the last guy," he previously told Elite Daily. "They’re not going to have any fun, and they’re not going to want to see you again."
6. Wear your favorite first date outfit.
If you have a go-to first date outfit, or even something you know makes you feel yourself, wear it! A great outfit can make you feel like a million bucks, and having an outfit you know you’re rocking can already put you in a positive mindset even before getting to your date.
7. Try not to overthink.
Over-thinking is the devil! Over-analyzing every little thing your date says or does can easily send you into a dark rabbit hole. You don’t need to find out how they vote, what they believe in, if they’re planning for marriage, or whether or not they want kids right away, said Katz. It’s your first date! You also shouldn’t stress about whether or not they’re going to want a second date. "Assume the answer is yes," he advised. "Assume that the person sitting across from you likes you, is attracted to you, and wants to date you."
Ultimately, on your next first date, try to get out of your head, be present, and enjoy their company. If the date is horrible, it’ll be over soon. Try to push through. If it’s the best date of your life, who knows where it could lead?
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