Redefining a Successful Date
A successful first date is one where you simply enjoy the other person’s company. It does not require that you come to a conclusion about whether he or she is “the one.” You may or may not get a second date. If you don’t, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a success. If you can look at the experience as one where you get to meet someone new, maybe learn a few new things, and do something fun, you’ll find yourself more at ease. You’ll put less pressure on yourself and on the situation.
If you don’t know much about the person before the first date—say you’ve only met online for example—it’s best to meet at an agreed location so each person has his or her own transportation in the event that you need a “getaway.” If your date is not what you expect, and especially if you feel uneasy about your safety, it is okay to end the date sooner than planned. The majority of dating situations will be safe and fun, but it’s always best to err on the side of caution, especially in the beginning.
Too often people in the dating world feel pressure to be different—to be thinner, richer, smarter, funnier, etc.—in order to appear more attractive. It’s easy to get down on yourself, especially if you’re coming off a string of break-ups. Human nature causes us to pick ourselves apart looking for the reason someone decided they didn’t “want” us. And in turn, we try to change or cover up what we “think” is “wrong” with us. But the best advice I can give you is to be yourself. Having said that, you should be the very best version of yourself. Maybe there are a few characteristics you could develop in order to become a better person. Identify those and improve. But such improvement should be motivated by your desire to be better for you, not to try and be what you think someone else wants. By starting a potential relationship off with your authentic self, then you’ll know the other person is attracted to you and not a façade, if the relationship continues to develop.
If you’re worried about what to talk about or if you tend to talk a lot when you feel nervous, focus on asking your date questions. You can even plan a few in your mind beforehand if you’re worried about coming up with something on the fly. Ask about their likes and dislikes (food, music, restaurants, sports, books, movies, etc.), interests or hobbies, family, education, friends. etc. Keep it light and casual. Once you’re on a roll, you’ll find the conversation flow more easily. Plus you’ll be learning valuable information about this potential partner so you can decide if this person is someone you’d like to go out with again. If you approach the date with a genuine interest in getting to know the other person better, then regardless of what happens, you will have a positive experience.
Conversation is a two-way street. Be ready to share things about yourself on the first date that are novel, funny, or interesting, such as tidbits about your family life, stories about your last vacation, your thoughts on a particular current event, or comments on the activity or experience you’re having together. Doing so will give your date a feel for your style and personality. And don’t forget to lead with your strengths. If people are drawn to you because of your sense of humor, or your sense of style, or your ability to really listen, or perhaps your love of triathlons, or your knowledge of a particular subject, make sure your date gets to experience those parts of you that make you unique.
Be Open (but not an open book)
People are drawn to others who are open, accessible, and willing to have new experiences so be willing to try new things, new activities, and new foods. Avoid talking about past bad relationships, exes, and stints in rehab or any other personal stuff. While there is a time and place for skeletons to come out of the closet, it’s definitely NOT on the first date. Instead, share stories and experiences from your life that shaped you positively. Be willing to offer (kindly) your opinions about topics he or she brings up. Basically, you want to present yourself in an honest, positive light. Show the other person that you’re interesting and worth getting to know beyond the first night.
While the goal is to get to know someone better and in turn allow them the opportunity to get to know you better, you should still leave some things about yourself a mystery, both emotionally and physically. Even if there is intense chemistry, keep your date guessing and curious to get to know you better. By leaving them with a sense of anticipation, the likelihood of a second date is far greater, as they now have a reason to “come back for more.”
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