Going on first dates can be extremely scary. It feels like a scripted job interview where the interviewer grades you based on your responses and determines whether you pass or fail. Despite this, meeting new people is always a good idea. You get to expand your horizons, increase your networks, and in the process learn something new about yourself. So even though it can be scary, you have to learn to switch off the overthinking button, get up, and just do it.
People have different reasons for going on first dates. Some just want to eat good food, while others are actually invested in developing a solid relationship with the other person. Whatever the case, here are some rules that you should always try to abide by.
1. Be yourself
When you are going on a first date, the assumption is that you don’t know that much about the other person. It’s more practical to just be yourself and show them your ‘true colours’ from the start. Don’t be the person who orders a salad on the first date to try to show them you eat healthily. If you’re naturally loud, be just that. It’s far much better to do this so that the person can actually decide whether or not they like you.
2. Be on time
Being on time is not only courteous, but also respectful. It shows that you are actually interested in meeting the person. You should cultivate punctuality not only on your first date but on all the dates that you go for. When you keep someone waiting, they will probably think that they’ve been stood up. Nobody likes that feeling, especially not on a first date. The least you could do is to be punctual.
3. Don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu
If someone has asked you out and it is clear that they are catering for the bill, be mindful. Don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu. In fact, the polite thing to do might be to wait and see what they order, and then order something around the same price range, or cheaper. On the other hand, if you are the one asking someone out, you should also be sure to ask them to a place with a menu that works for you, financially.
4. Put your phone away
You are going on a first date to get to know someone. Unless your sister is giving birth or there is some sort of emergency, put your phone down and have a conversation with your date. It’s super disrespectful to be scrolling endlessly on your phone or picking up phone calls every minute when there is someone with you. You want to make sure your date knows that they have your full attention. If you keep using your phone, you’re conveying to them that something else is way more important.
5. Be honest about what you are looking for
As part of being yourself, you need to tell your date exactly what you are looking for in a partner. Everyone should have a list of negotiables and non-negotiables. This would be a great time to bring it up. It boils down to the smallest things. If you are looking for someone who doesn’t drink alcohol at all, state it. It will help you to see if you are on the right page and determine whether there will be second and third dates in the future. If you’re hoping to find true love and they’re looking to just hook up, you need to know early on so you can bail if you need to.
6. Have an open mind
Meeting someone in person for the first time can be disappointing. Maybe you pictured him to be a certain height or to talk in a particular way. You won’t always get what you had pictured in your head and the sooner you accept this, the better. So what if he’s not what you had in mind? Try to adjust and be receptive to this ‘new’ person. Having an open mind will help you to let go of expectations and just enjoy the person for who they are.
7. Acknowledge that awkwardness is part of the game
If you ask me, everyone has some level of awkwardness within them. When we’re placed in a vulnerable situation, it becomes clearer. So don’t judge someone based on traits that you saw in them that display awkwardness. Don’t ask them about it or make fun of it. Just allow it. Try to make them feel more comfortable by switching to simple light conversations.
Alternatively, if both of you are both being awkward, you can make a joke about it. Say something like, “Wow. So this is awkward. I’m sure there will be even more awkward silences to come.” Addressing the elephant in the room is always a good idea. It also creates a sort of bond.
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