Ah, a first date. The sweaty palms, the nervous ticks, the silent prayer that you don’t end up with something in your teeth. Nothing can be quite as unsettling as trying to impress a person on a first try.
The reason for this is simple: you’re afraid you’ll say the wrong thing or – even worse – have nothing to say at all. Yes, an uncomfortable silence can turn a date sour in no time flat. Because of the fear of this, people on first dates often exhibit a sense of unrest, and a desperation to keep the conversation going even if they have to break out in the latest Broadway number.
However, this fear – and all the fears that come with a first date – is often exaggerated. With a few tricks, a first date can be as comfortable as speaking to someone you’ve known for years, or at least a few hours.
Pick a Good Place
Meeting at a caf or a restaurant may be fine, but a lot of times this can add to the pressure of having the entire evening fall on the shoulders of the dating duo. Because these places have little on which the couple to focus, or use as a conversation piece, they can be more uncomfortable than places where conversation may be added by outside forces. Going to a movie or a play, on the contrary, restricts the conversation too much, with people shushing you as you turn to your date and ask, “So, what’s your sign?” Instead, try doing something that allows for both conversation and external activity such as going golfing, going to see a live band, going bowling, or going to a museum.
Take it Easy on the Liquor
Sure, you’re nervous and a nice glass of Pinot can help you relax. But, keep in mind that drinking a glass of wine and drinking an entire bottle will result in a world of difference. Getting too intoxicated on a first date makes a bad impression. You’ll find yourself making bold statements and suggestive remarks. But luckily for you – as you slur your words – your date might not be able to understand anything you’re saying.
People on first dates have an advantage: they essentially know very little about each other. This gives them the ability to keep the conversation going and develop commonalities by asking questions. From inquiring about where a person is from, to asking about movies and music, there is a plethora of questions for the asking. While certain questions should be avoided – asking about religion, asking about politics, asking for their credit card number – most questions are both fair game and the key to getting a second date.
Sure, it’s the oldest clich in the Book of Love, but it’s also one of the truest. Uncomfortable first dates are often marked with the two respective parties trying too hard to impress the other. Boasting about being an accomplished hand model or how a college dissertation on seahorses received the highest marks might seem like it will make an impression, but it might be of the wrong kind. Instead of trying to captivate your date with a resume of your life’s greatest accomplishments, simply be relaxed and be yourself.
Dating is a hard thing to do. It’s time consuming, frustrating, and enough to make some people long for the days of arranged marriages (llama, anyone?). However, it’s part of life, a part we deal with one day, or one date, at a time.