5 tips for having a stress-free first date
First dates can be very stressful because, like any new experience, you are venturing into the unknown. Feeling stressed and anxious before a date can become a real block for many people and stops them from being able to relax and allow their personality to shine through. Here are some tips for reducing the stress which will hopefully make first dates a much more enjoyable experience for everyone.
1. Talk on the phone first
Most communication prior to meeting for the first time tends to be done online. A lot of nerves stem from the fact that this is a very limited form of getting to know someone – people can write and rewrite what they are saying so it isn’t a true reflection of their communication style. Also it is much more common for misunderstandings to occur when communicating in this way because people read between the lines – there are no facial expressions or vocal tones to indicate the meaning behind the words.
Talking on the phone will allow you to hear each others voices and develop a rapport which you can continue when you meet face to face – no matter how much information is exchanged via emails it will not tell you as much about a person as talking to them will. Even if you don’t talk about anything very important you will get a sense of whether there is a connection and common ground when you take it in turns to speak and listen – they will be less of a stranger to you and therefore meeting them will be less stressful.
2. Give yourself plenty of time
Time to get ready; time to travel to wherever you are meeting your date; time to actually be with them without other distractions like your phone going off or having other commitments; time to get home (especially important if you have to arrange childcare) and finally time to reflect on the date, maybe by talking it over with a friend.
Arriving at a date early is better than turning up half an hour late, out of breath and harried. Check out the location of where you are meeting before hand and plan your route. If you are travelling by public transport remember to check the timetable for your return journey too – if you are going by car find out where the nearest car park is.
3. Look good/feel good
This doesn’t just apply to what you wear, although choosing an outfit that you feel comfortable and attractive in is important. It will also boost your confidence if you indulge in some pampering and personal grooming before your date – maybe a new haircut or a manicure.
Going to the gym or for a workout prior to a date can also help to considerably reduce stress by releasing pleasure-giving endorphins. Exercise helps you feel more energised and vital so that when you meet your date you will glow with health and well being.
4. A gentle introduction
A first date is a lot less stressful if you know that you can cut it short if it is not working out. This means choosing a time and place for the initial meeting where you will not be expected to spend very long e.g. a coffee bar. Going for a meal or to the cinema confines you to spending much longer with someone that you might actually dislike. If you meet them for a brief first date you can decide then if you would like to arrange to see each other for a more extended period of time later.
5. Let go of the outcome
It is all too easy to get carried away by a fantasy about how a first date may lead to romance or even marriage, but this can actually be a cause of stress. Just like a film version of a beloved book rarely lives up to the image you had developed, a date that has had too long in the realms of imagination is almost certain to disappoint. Not because there is anything wrong with them but because they are a human being and therefore less than perfect.
Try as far as possible to keep an open mind and open heart and meet the real person in front of you rather than being too restricted by a vision of what your ideal date should be like – you will have much more fun that way even if it doesn’t lead to a second date.
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