You’ve met online and now, you need to take the plunge. It’s time to meet in the real world.
For some of us, awkwardness is part and parcel of first dates. But there are ways to overcome it, and you’re certainly not alone in feeling less-than-comfortable.
Billions of people around the world know that a first date is one of the most exciting potentially life-changing experiences you could ever have. They also know that going on a date with someone for the first time can be awkward enough to shake your self-confidence, dent your self-esteem, and leave you cringing.
Speaking to Bustle magazine, Astroglide relationship expert Dr. Jess O’Reilly said the awkwardness that many of us feel on first dates isn’t all bad. She explained that feelings of uncertainty and nervousness can increase your attraction, help you focus your attention on your companion, and add to the excitement of the occasion.
Dr. O’Reilly certainly puts an encouraging spin on first date awkwardness, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to minimize or get rid of it completely. Explore a few ideas below and banish those first date blues for good.
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Decide On Talking Points Beforehand
Do some pre-first date preparation by selecting a few talking points upfront. Chances are, you researched which dating site would help you to meet potential partners with a similar personality to your own. But that doesn’t guarantee a perfect first date. When you come face to face, a combination of nerves and unfamiliarity with each other can lead to stilted conversation. Worse still, it can lead to conversation drying up entirely.
Use your planned talking points to bring awkward silences to a quick end. Online dating coach Joshua Pompey suggests avoiding personal questions and prying into past relationships. Ask about their hobbies, places they’ve travelled to or would like to visit, or TV series and movies instead. If you met online, check their profile for conversation ideas.
Take A Moment To Relax
Pause for a moment to put things into perspective and relax before your date begins. Remind yourself that, in a few minutes, one person will meet another person for the first time and start getting to know one another over a casual conversation, as that’s exactly what a first date is.
You’re not preparing to ask them to move in with you or to marry you, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and don’t set unrealistic expectations for the date. Breathe deeply, consciously let go of tension in your body, smile, and be natural.
Show Genuine Interest
Ask questions that let your companion know you’re genuinely interested in them. Pompey said that people enjoy themselves more when they’re asked many questions, especially if those questions are about them and their interests.
If you shouldn’t ask questions that are too personal or about past relationships, what should you ask?
Try focusing on their interests, passions, and hopes for the future. Alternatively, compliment them on something they’re wearing, such as an item of jewelry, that could prompt a story.
Be careful with your approach when asking questions, as you don’t want your companion to feel as though the date actually was an interview! Instead of firing question after question, ask one and let their response guide you into a conversation that flows organically.
Add Humour With Bad Date Stories
If you’re not new to the dating game, you probably have one or more bad date stories that are more funny than unpleasant—and the same goes for your companion. Get rid of awkward moments by using your stories of bad dates to add a touch of humor.
According to Pompey, sharing bad date stories can lead to a lively, ongoing conversation that can offer a greater understanding of one another’s dating experience. This can help both of you to feel more relaxed.
Decide On A Date With One Or More Activities
Going to the movies has been a typical first date activity for decades, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best option. The lack of conversation opportunities can leave you and your companion feeling awkward—in fact, you might even feel less awkward sitting next to a stranger! Decide on an activity-based date instead. Consider ideas such as:
- Go bowling: 10-pin bowling can be a relaxed, entertaining way to get to know someone. The setting’s informal, the activity is suitable for people with varied abilities, and most bowling alleys have concession stands or a coffee shop, so you still can enjoy conversion over drinks and snacks.
- Go to a botanical garden or park: If you both love nature and the outdoors, why not visit a botanical garden or park? The beautiful and tranquil surroundings lend themselves to slow strolls, few distractions, and easy conversations, even if they’re mostly about plants.
- Attend an outdoor event: Thanks to the increased awareness of social distancing, we’ve started seeing more outdoor events taking place. They’re usually more relaxed than events that take place indoors, which makes them a great choice for first date activities. Choose an outdoor event, such as a performance, concert, market, or festival for your first meeting.
- Visit a historical site: If you’re both history lovers, consider letting that inspire your choice of activity for your first date. Visit a landmark that’s a personal favorite or one that neither of you has been to. Enjoy seeing it through each other’s eyes, sharing perspectives on it, and learning about each other in the process.
- Go ice-skating: Whether you’re experienced or not, ice skating can be a fun first date activity. You’ll have the chance to be active (which can help ease awkwardness), to enjoy some conversation on the rink and off, and there’s a good chance you’ll share a few good laughs.
- Attend a cooking class: A once-off, hands-on cooking class is a great first date activity for foodies. Choose a class that offers both of you a chance to learn something new in a fun, informal setting. During the class, your conversation’s likely to be focused on the experience and food-related topics, but you can always introduce other topics when it’s time to enjoy your edible creations.
Relax And Be Yourself
The best advice for getting rid of awkwardness on first dates is to relax and to be yourself. Let your companion start getting to know the real you.
Remember, the best you can hope for from a first date is a second date. Good luck!