So you’re single and mingling. Going out on some first dates, trying to figure out who you mesh well with–good for you. Hopefully you’re enjoying it, meeting some interesting people and not experiencing anything that would qualify you to call into a radio show when they’re giving concert tickets away to the person with the most horrifying first date story. Even for a seasoned veteran, first dates can be scary, intimidating, and sometimes kind of awful. To help you make the most of your first dates, I’ve compiled a list of five first date pitfalls to avoid:
#1. Letting your anticipation get the best of you
This is going to be THE BEST DATE EVER! We are going to have SO MUCH FUN! Maybe he’ll be THE ONE! Slow your roll. Is there anything more awkward than a first date? Maybe that dream I keep having where I’m not wearing any pants while shopping for groceries. James Bond and Vesper Lynd may exchange witty repartee the first time they meet, but that’s not normal. Every first date has moments of stilted conversation, embarrassing foot-in-the-mouth situations. Flawed, normal people = flawed, normal date. Temper your expectations and make the best of it. Any Leonard Cohen fans here? “Forget your perfect offering/There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in.” Smart guy.
They make the rest of us look like morons…but they’re also fictional characters.
#2. Checking your phone
All the olds are complaining about how screen time dominates our lives. We go out to eat and look at our phones instead of each other, we’ve lost the ability to relate to each other, soon we’ll be cold robot-human hybrids–this has gotta sound familiar to you, right? Yeah, we’ve heard it a million times. If you’re only going to listen to it once, do so for a first date. You don’t need to put your phone on the table. What your bros are tweeting about can’t be nearly as interesting as the lovely lady across from you. Give her your full attention (and beware the gal who ignores you to answer texts of her own).
#3. Dominating the conversation
Some people deal with nerves by chattering away. And, truthfully, some people just talk a lot. If this describes you, keep it in mind when spending time with someone for the first time. For every piece of information you offer, ask for a reciprocal piece of information in return. Your date tells you about the time he wrecked his father’s car one week after getting his driver’s license. You share that your sister once totaled three cars in a single year…at which point you ask your date if he has any siblings who are also terrible drivers. Make sure you’re showing interest in your date’s life and history.
Take a breath, dial it back a notch (image credit).
#4. Being emotionally slutty
The first date is not the time to tell sad stories about your life or reveal your biggest vices or seek emotional support, in any way, from the other person. I suspect women are more apt to do this than men, but I know for a fact men do, because it happened to me. A guy told me he was having a really bad day because the night before his ex had accidentally (really?) butt-dialed him while she was making out with someone else and he was all torn up about it. Ummm, bummer dude, but I can’t really help you feel better about that because YOU’RE ON A DATE WITH ME. Light and fun is your intersection while on a date. And if you’re not in a place to be light and fun, you’re not in a place to be going on dates.
#5. Making assumptions about the check
Who pays for the date (or any part of the date) is a total wild card these days. Maybe she’ll expect you to pay. Maybe she’ll expect to split it. Maybe (especially if she asked you out) she’ll expect to pick it up. Whichever way it goes, don’t get your boxers in a bundle. People come at dating and relationships from all different perspectives. The issue of who pays is like views on whether or not it’s appropriate to kiss/make out/go further on the first date–everyone has a different opinion. So for the first time out, go with the flow and don’t read too much into who ends up footing the bill.
Fair and square, we like it! (image credit)
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