Every week, our community members get in touch with questions about love, life, family, careers and more, and we choose one question to answer right here on the blog. This week we heard from Connie, who is preparing for a first date after a long period of being single, and is understandably nervous.
Q - Hello, please could you help? I recently started dating again after a couple of years being single, and I have a first date with a friend of a friend soon. I’m so nervous! I was in a long-term relationship before, so I haven’t been on a date in forever, and I have no idea what to expect or what I should do! Any advice would be great. Thanks, Connie.
A - Hi, Connie! First of all, well done for putting yourself out there again! Dating, especially after coming out of a long-term relationship and being single for a while, is nerve-wracking, and it’s completely natural to feel unsure about what to expect. Here are our top tips for how to make your first date a success.
Try to relax
First dates can often feel like some sort of test, and this can lead to you overthinking everything from your outfit to what you should do and say. However, it’s important to remember that the person you’re meeting will probably be just as nervous as you are, and will most likely be worrying about the exact same things!
Remember, you’re not going to an interview or a sales meeting; dates are supposed to be fun, not tense and stressful. Don’t put any pressure on yourself, and simply focus on having a good time. If you’re relaxed and confident, your date will respond a lot better than if you’re reserved and uptight because you’re nervous. Relax!
Do something unusual
Stereotypical first dates include meals in fancy restaurants or a trip to the cinema. Though a good meal is nice, and you might enjoy the film, these tried-and-tested dates can get a little tired, especially if you’re dating around. Why not try something different?
Choose a first-date activity that will keep you both entertained and interested, whilst also giving you chance to chat and get to know each other naturally, rather than in a forced setting. This could be anything, from bowling, to a comedy show, to a pub quiz!
It’s not uncommon on first dates for conversations to become a little awkward at times. When you don’t really know each other, it can be hard to know what to talk about. If conversation falters, don’t worry; instead, ask your date some questions about their life. Most people love talking about themselves, and will be happy that you’ve shown an interest in them.
Be a little mysterious
Though you want to get to know each other, it’s important not to spill your entire life story on the first date! First of all, this probably means that you’d dominated a lot of the conversation, and you’ve probably also overwhelmed and intimidated your date a little too.
We’re not saying don’t tell your date anything about yourself, as that would be absurd. However, keep some details back, and create a little mystery about yourself; this will likely make your date more intrigued about you, and want to know more. This is the perfect way to ensure a second date!
Go with your gut
We all want first dates to go well, lead to second and third dates, and so on, and eventually result in a long, passionate relationship. Many dates are successful and lead to this happy ending! However, sometimes they don’t.
If during your date, you feel like it’s not going very well or that you’re not very compatible, listen to that feeling. Our gut instinct is usually correct, and it’s important not to force something that isn’t meant to be. The chances are your date probably has the same inkling, so it’s only fair to both of you to be honest (in as kind a way as possible).
If you know that you’re not interested in pursuing anything further, thank your date for a great time, and wish them luck in the future. Don’t be too down about it not working out; you will have plenty of other dates, and you will meet somebody that you click with!
Plan your next date
On the other hand, if your date did go well, that’s great! Tell your date what a great time you had, and let them know that you’re interested in seeing them again. Hopefully, they will feel the same way, and you can plan your next date! Good luck!