When it comes to first dates, we may say, “Been there, done that. I don’t need any tips.” But let’s be real, why would we say no to solid advice? Take it or leave it.
For a few months now, the COVID-19 pandemic has forbidden any kind of closeness, let alone traditional first dates.
Consider it a challenge, but in a post-COVID era, first dates are not going to be what they used to be. So let’s refresh the memory with a few simple dos and don’ts. After all, the first date is the perfect opportunity to make the right impression. Or … spoil everything.
Let’s see what’s on the menu:
As nervous and uncomfortable as you might be, try not to let it show. I get it—first dates usually are awkward at some point, but the calmer you are, the calmer the date will be. If you can, try to do some research before the date about some possible topics you can inject during moments of silence. Finding out about likes and dislikes could help keep the conversation flowing.
Not as in Beyonce’s song—rather, the nostalgic pleasure of someone actually paying attention to what you are saying. Remember when it wasn’t all just video calls and Zoom meetings? Show an indication that you are really interested in what your date is saying. You will likely have follow-up questions, which will lead to more conversation.
Share a secret, talk about your interests, and try to avoid the commonplace. It’s not worth trying to build the ideal young person from yourself. First, this will inevitably lead to a conversation consisting of only clichés. Second, we all know that no one has succeeded in being perfect and impeccable. Just be yourself (but within the bounds of decency, of course).
Bring laughter to your date. If you’re able to share some laughs with your date then odds are you have some kind of connection, which increases the likelihood of being asked out on a second date as it will leave them wanting more.
Talk is cheap
Chet Faker said it best in his song. It’s a good reminder that you should not talk too much on the first date. Instead, try to listen more and get to know your companion.
The past is NDA
It’s an open secret that conversations about exes during the first date are off-limits. Pretend you signed a nondisclosure agreement. If you eventually get the “happy question,” always remember the 10-second rule: if you talk about your past relationship for more than 10 seconds, you are still emotionally attached, and if you talk about it for less than 10 seconds, you are avoiding the topic, so also still emotionally attached. So be honest and brief about your past relationships.
Are you trying to get yourself to that second date? If so, don’t be too pushy. Conversations that are too serious can be quite draining to anyone (i.e.: politics). Forget about jumping ahead to future plans for the relationship before you’ve even gotten to know them, too. Keep it light for date number one and then you can get into the deep talk.
Too much of a good thing?
Your first date is not a free therapy session. We repeat: your first date is not a free therapy session. So be sure not to overshare things. DO NOT VENT. The emotional labor of absorbing the traumas of a stranger is not your companion’s job. Leave the vent session for your close friends prior to or post-date.
If it’s truly meant to be, the conversation should flow naturally (for the most part) and the person next to you will have a chance to fall for the real you.
Dalia Hendrix is a self-love and relationship expert, coach, and therapist. She is passionate about encouraging women to build lasting confidence and thrive in their relationships. She specializes in the areas of dating and marriage, inspiring women to heal negative behavior and thinking patterns and move on from toxic relationships. You can follow her on IG @iamdaliasmith.
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