First dates have always felt a little tumultuous. But post-pandemic, the idea of meeting up with a stranger (!) in public (!!) and maybe even ending up wanting to kiss them (!!!) can feel downright terrifying. We’re here to help you reframe the situation with Michelle Afont, relationship expert, divorce lawyer, and multi-published author, whose most recent work is The Dang Factor.
Here are her top four tips to help you prep your mindset for a first date.
1. Attitude really is everything
It may sound like a cliché, but it’s true. “With the right attitude, dating can be a ton of fun and an opportunity to meet the potential love of your life,” Afont says. “Take away the self-imposed pressure and expectations that you may have and honestly, just be yourself.” Here’s to no more pretending we care about the current value of Bitcoin in 2022.
2. Not every date results in true love—and that’s OK
“If you are a match, great! If not, then you may have met a potential long-term friend,” Afont says. “Not every date is going to result in true love. But that is why we call it ‘dating.’” She adds that for most people, you have to date if you want to find the love of your life—as much as we may wish they’d just magically appear next to us on the couch in time to binge Bridgerton season two. “Unless you are lucky enough to meet the love of your life in the produce aisle of Whole Foods, dating is a necessity in our search for love,” she says.
3. Prepare for potential awkward silence
You don’t have to go full-on Leslie Knope, but Afont says that having a few general topics in your back pocket is always a good idea in case there’s a lull in conversation.
4. Keep it short and sweet
A dinner first date sounds lovely in theory; in practice, it can mean you end up plotting an escape route from the bathroom. “I suggest meeting for coffee or a drink. Keep it simple. Avoid committing to a long dinner date in case he turns out to be a dud,” Afont says. “First dates should be a short plan, and you can always extend the date if things are going well.” Another pro tip: drive your own car, and choose a neutral meeting place with lots of people around.
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