First dates often bring high anxiety. But, remember, this is not a marriage proposal or a relationship commitment. You probably won’t even be committing to a full meal together. Read through this list of five dating DO’s to calm down and be ready to enjoy your next first date.
1. Look for what you want (not what you fear)
When you look for what you want from your dates, you’ll emanate excitement and optimism. If you look for things you’re afraid could happen with your date, you may seem suspicious. Not hot. Having an excited attitude will fan attraction and boost your confidence.
In a date-coaching session the other day, a client was preparing for a first date. She mentioned a few friends that had been victims of sexual assault. She was very fearful that meeting someone from the internet could set her up for a bad experience.
This prompted a discussion about the concept of Possibilities vs Probabilities. Becoming a victim of sexual assault is a rational fear. It is possible. But the reality is, being attacked on a first date is not all that probable.
She was completely discounting her excellent intuition, her high standards for dating safety and excellent track record of avoiding danger. She was parked on the mindset that meeting someone from online meant danger of being assaulted.
While random attacks do occur, they’re not probable. Evaluating the possible vs probable will calm your troubled mind and will allow you to venture into new territory with optimism and excitement.
2. Create a connection
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with doubts before a first date. Is this the right person? What if it’s awkward? What if we run out of things to talk about?
Your ONLY job on a first date is to create a connection and secure a second date. Problem solving or making decisions about your long-term future together as a couple will come WAY later.
Put aside those fears and focus on finding things that will help you connect. Do you seem to share: Major life values? Travel habits? Similar backgrounds? Common friends? Do you enjoy the same movies, books, music, recreation?
Focus on finding common ground. Use it to create connection. If you can relate to each other, there’s probably going to be at least one more date. Remember silence won’t kill you. A little adorable bashfulness can be attractive.
I always like to have a few open-ended, thought provoking questions in my mind just in case there’s a long lull.
3. Make your BEST first impression
Making the right first impression is a BIG PART of scoring a second date. Research shows that in under 3 seconds, you’ll each make your initial impressions. It will then take 17 additional encounters to change a person’s mind. If it’s a negative impression, you likely won’t get 17 more chances.
Show up with a smile. Muscle together some relaxed and confident body language. Look your very best. If you can hold it together for 3 seconds, you win! In a way, your first date only needs to go well for 3 seconds.
First impressions count whether you’re in person or via video chat. Put your best effort into your appearance and body language, even if your first time seeing each other is just a video chat.
Make the effort to fix your hair, freshen your makeup and wear clothes that make you feel confident. Take time to find flattering lighting for yourself and mind the camera angle. More about that in this post.
4. Keep it short
Leave your date wanting more. Look your best, be interested in hearing about your date’s life and interests and share yours too. Smile a lot, laugh a lot. Work in a few casual touches and maybe even a wink. Then...LEAVE, even if you don’t want to.
We often linger too long when things are going well. Limiting your time ensures that your date will be motivated to invite you out again. You’ll depart leaving with mystery and intrigue. Just like Cinderella leaving the ball.
The best first dates last somewhere between 45 minutes to an hour and a half. Long enough to establish some real connections. You don’t want your date to be checking the time. Instead, leave and give him the impression you’d accept another invitation sometime soon.
5. Grow your social circles
If it doesn’t turn out to be a love connection, all is not lost. The main goal in dating is to create opportunities to meet new people. Be aware that your date might just KNOW the love of your life.
He has cousins, friends and an entire network of people you’ve never met! Keep his contact, invite him to group events. Fix him up with a friend (so he isn’t confused about your intentions).
Research shows that you’re most likely to meet your forever person online. BUT, for those who DON’T meet online, you’re second most likely to meet through friends.
Growing your circles creates more opportunities to talk, laugh, play and connect with people you don’t yet know.
About the Author: Hi, I’m Kristin Sokol. I am a dating coach who works mostly with women over 35. I wrote this article after helping a client deal with some first date anxieties. She felt so much better after our discussion I decided to make these concepts available to everyone.
If this article resonated with you and helped improve your mindset about first dates, I’d love to hear it. Feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to answer any other questions and tell you more about what it’s like to have a dating strategy coach working for you. It can make a big difference in connecting with the love of your life. Feel free to schedule a free Strategy Call with me here.