How to kick start your date in three steps
We all have different pre-date rituals. Maybe yours is to switch on Classic FM and have a long bath to relax. Or perhaps you prefer to crank up some Motorhead and jump around the house to get pumped for the evening, Whatever your ritual, chances are you’ll be experiencing that ‘butterflies in the stomach’ feeling.
The first thing to remember is that nerves are normal. After all, you’re meeting up with someone you’ve possibly never met in person before, and the subtext of a date is pretty intense. The second thing to remember is that your date will probably be as nervous – and as eager to have a good time – as you. It’s easy to be suspicious of someone’s motives, but the majority of people are simply looking for someone to have a great time with.
Here are three essential things you can do kick start your date and ensure you both have the best time possible:
1. Get rid of all preconceptions
Wherever you are on the scale of ‘I really hope they’re the one for me’ to ‘I’m only going on this date because my friends pressed me into it’, focus on having no expectations. Whether your expectations are negative or positive they can influence how you react to your date, and in turn that may change the way they behave towards you.
Instead, place yourself firmly in the here and now. Before the date, try to make your mind a blank canvas – it’s tough to shake off past experiences, but you’ll be rewarded if you can do it. The experience will become more relaxed and fun. This person could be your soul mate, sure, but they could just be a nice guy or girl who you have a couple of drinks with. Either way, you win.
Get in the appropriate mindset and have NO expectations. Come to the date with the clear, positive intention of getting to know this person and to have fun. It’s not unusual to imagine beforehand how a date will play out, but these thoughts can sabotage us either way.
NB: If your date does turn out to be a complete idiot, you have our permission to remember those preconceptions and head for the door!
2. Have a real conversation
Seems obvious perhaps, but it’s surprisingly easy to forget why you’re on a date. It’s not about you, or your date, but about the two of you together, looking for a real connection. And the only way to find that connection is to settle down and commit, for those few hours, to getting to know your date.
How often have you gone on a date and thought ’This person is my ideal man/woman except for….’? Just as in long term relationships, on dates we need to accept someone else’s flaws. We’re not saying that you should overlook the fact that someone is a pathological liar, or incredibly rude – in these cases we’d advocate running for the hills. But, if they have a slightly wonky nose, or a funny way of talking, does it matter if you really like them once you get to know them?
A real conversation isn’t an interview where you fire a barrage of questions at your date. It’s not one-sided either. You’ll probably have specific topics you want to cover with your date, that come from your previous communications, but don’t force it. Allow yourselves to get into a nice relaxed rhythm (if that means you need a glass of wine, that’s OK) and see where the conversation goes. You’ll find it so much more rewarding than interviewing your date.
3. Bring yourself
We know that you know this, but it’s worth reiterating because so many people seem to forget it as soon as they meet their date. Your date wants to meet you, not some confused or glossy version of you. There is no point pretending to be someone you’re not – if it succeeds in hooking your date, they’ll only discover the real you later on, and that might not be who they were looking for.
But, most important of all, pretending to be someone you’re not is hard. It requires you to be constantly on your toes throughout the date. Why create all that extra stress for yourself? This applies to what you tell your date, how you react to what they say and how you dress too. Bring yourself to the date not someone else – be proud of who you are!
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