First dates… they are extremely nerve-wracking. This is especially true if you don’t know what to do, how to act or what to say. However, with a few helpful pieces of advice, you can make the first date experience better for you… and your date!
It’s important to define what the aim of a first date is. If you’ve got little to no experience in the dating world, it’s important you have some kind of checklist on hand. This list tends to include the rules and clichés of various television shows and movies. They even come from friends and families or the Internet. You probably think that the first date must end with a kiss; perhaps you think it needs to end with sex. Here’s a clue for you: that would be the ultimate fail.
Believe it or not, I also had those same beliefs. It made me feel uncomfortable and too nervous during the date to really have a good time. In fact, all I had were negative emotions. The desire to spend my good time with a woman conflicted with the negative emotions I was feeling. It seemed like I was obligated to do the following things:
- Hold hands
- Hug her
- Kiss her
If I didn’t do these things, I put some serious blame on myself. And, for that reason, I hated dating.
Of course, there are many folks who like to date; they have fun and experience positive emotions from it. This caused me to wonder if I was using correct dating approach. Of course, the correct dating approach is all a matter of perspective, isn’t it?
How can you change your image of dating from a negative one to a positive one? How you can stop resisting it and actually begin enjoying your first date experience? The first thing you must do is disregard that “to-do” list and ignore it – every bit of it including the clichés and stereotypes. Dating in the real world is not the same as dating in the movies or television. A date is not scripted; it’s spontaneous. And, it can turn out in a hundred different ways.
It does not matter how hard you try to go through the various scenarios in your head, the date will never pan out exactly the way you want. You communicate in person, not through computers. This person has her own thoughts and feelings and will have a view on how the date should also go.
What should be your perspective going into the first date? Consider looking at it as an exhibition… an event. The idea of this “event” is to demonstrate various things to visitors. Your visitors will walk along, observe the items, listen to the presentation of those items and study them. In many exaggerated cases, visitors are unable to touch items. This is how you should view a first date – a visitor or item. You and your partner have roles in this event. You’re an item that’s being studied and watched. You’re also a visitor who is watching and observing your partner. This approach means you won’t have to worry with “what comes next”. There’s no reason to take action unless you want to. You don’t have to worry with holding hands or kissing.
The idea is to have a good time, watching the other person and making yourself present – smile, talk, listen, eat, etc. You don’t want to have to worry about what to do on your first date. And, with the above approach, you’re likely to feel less stressed and anxious about it. As you become more experienced in the dating world, you can branch out to things that you feel comfortable with.
Now, it’s on to the more practical advice of first dates.
There are all kinds of clichés and when it comes to knowing where to spend that first date, you don’t have to ‘outdo” yourself. Rather, go to a place that makes you feel at ease – restaurant, café, bar, etc. You might want to make a great first impression by taking your date to a fancy restaurant. But, the reality is this: how will you feel in that place? Will you feel comfortable and not so nervous? Will you feel awkward? Whatever you’re feeling, your date is going to pick up on and it’s important you’re exhibiting pleasant feelings. This “mood and feeling” can positively or negatively affect the rest of the date.
There's nothing wrong or shameful about spending a first date in a homely café, as long as the people, service and overall atmosphere are decent. Some of my best dates have been spent in a café.
If this is your first date with someone, it’s best to meet them at the location you talked about. Your date may not be comfortable with the idea of you picking them up at their home, especially if you’re just meeting for the first time. It really depends on the person; but, it’s really a good idea to meet in a public location first. If you have a good-looking car you want to show off, do it after the date by taking them home.
Most women will wait for a man to pay for dates. But, there are instances where women have offered to pay so don’t get offended if she does. When this happens, consider splitting the bill instead.
You certainly don’t want to make an all-night of a first date. A first date shouldn’t last more than an hour or two. If you want to spend more time with her, consider walking her to the bus stop or take her home by your vehicle.
The above tips are things I have used during my first date experience. As you become more experienced in the dating world, you will learn some techniques of your own and apply the ones that work best for you. It’s my hope that I’ve helped you in some small way.
January 2nd, 2012. Revised: August 8th, 2012
Before you go, you may also be interested in my "Getting a Social Life From Scratch" Series. Click here for advice and personal stories on building your social life from zero point.