First dates. They can be that magical moment when you realize you have a connection with someone, or they can be the stuff nightmares are made of. The fine art of first dates can be the beginning of a beautiful relationship or wreak havoc on the ego of even the most confident among us.
We all have first-date horror stories. The guy who spent an hour longingly reminiscing about his years as an eagle scout, or the woman who takes three calls from her ex-boyfriend and gushes about his huge sailboat. I even had a client tell me that a blind date walked in and, without saying a word, walked right back out. Ouch!
While we can laugh at these stories, have you ever wondered if you are “the bad date” who gets laughed at over happy hour with friends? No, you say, of course not. But, I regularly talk with singles who are able to get the first date, but have no idea why they never get a call for a second.
There are many reasons why two people connect. But, just to be safe, follow these tried-and-tested rules to make sure your next first date gets the proper opportunity for a second one.
First-Date Do’s and Don’ts
*Get in the right mindset
Somewhere along the way, dates have turned into an interview for marriage. Gee, that isn’t intimidating or anything! This is a date. It’s two people getting to know each other in a safe, social setting. You are not looking for a spouse or even a significant other. You’re just looking for a second date. Your new mindset? Have fun, keep it light, and stay in the moment. At the end of the date, don’t forget to ask yourself if you want a second date?
I love the story about a so-called “successful” date one client had.
The connection was there, and the conversation flowed all night. “I can’t believe he didn’t call!” she said after a week had passed since her “amazing date.” But, when I asked her to tell me more about the other person, her face went blank.
It’s true the conversation flowed … from her. Listening is a key rule for the first few dates. It’s a sure-fire way to make a positive first impression, and it will immediately show that your date – not you – is the center of attention. No matter how easy this sounds, asking open-ended questions and actually listening to the answers will get you everywhere.
* You get to choose, too
Sometimes we are so excited that someone is interested in us that we forget to see if he or she is, in fact, a good match. We allow ourselves to be “chosen” by the other person, instead of choosing that person ourselves.
We need to know what we are looking for in a date, and we need to have the confidence to be able to choose (or not choose) a person based on our own beliefs, values, personality, etc. The minute we let someone else choose us, we are handing over the power in the relationship, which almost guarantees future resentment, anger and frustration. You need to be willing to know what you are looking for and choose someone back.
*Drag it out
I don’t know when we decided that every date needs to last hours. I don’t think anyone wins from that situation. Your first couple of dates should be short and easy. Set up a lunch or coffee date. Talk, ask questions, laugh and leave. Your date will find you a lot more intriguing if he or she knows you have a life to get to, and it will give your date a reason to call and ask you out again soon.
Wear an outfit that makes you feel great and gives you confidence. If you are out with friends and want to wear a shirt that’s maybe little too low-cut, that’s fine. But it is not appropriate for your dates. The idea is to have someone interested in all of you, not just parts. Also, don’t wear something that looks good but makes you feel stiff or awkward, as this translates to your behavior and body language. Remember, your objective is to get to know the other person and have fun in his or her company; you can’t do that if you’re distracted by your clothes.
*Drink too much
You’re a little nervous about dinner with your new date, and you figure a glass of wine will take the edge off, right? There is nothing wrong with a drink or two with your date (depending on personal limits, of course). But nobody wants to talk to a drunk person across the table. Not only is it a turn-off, but you are more likely to share things you wouldn’t normally share. You will wake up embarrassed the next day, and you probably won’t get a call for a second date.
As you are getting to know someone, keep the conversation interesting, but keep it light. No one needs to hear about former Relationships or how many children you want the first few times you go out together. Find fun and neutral topics that will give you a peek at this new person without sharing too much, too soon. We all move at different paces and “putting it all out there” right away can be intimidating for some people. People who would be potential dates.
There’s no denying that first dates can be intimidating and nerve-wracking; there can be a fine line between putting your best foot forward and being yourself. But, by keeping these simple tips in mind, your next first date can easily and quickly morph from an anxiety-ridden situation into a fun, relaxed event that hopefully leads to date #2.
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Plentyoffish Dating Horror Stories