5 Tips for Gearing Up for a First Date

Follow these hacks to make an unforgettable first impression when it matters!

Feb 6, 2020
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Whether you meet online or feel ready to explore romance with someone you already know, the prospect of a first date can put butterflies in your stomach.

While the “perfect” first date doesn’t exist, incorporating a few of these tips will ensure you have a great time, and make an unforgettable first impression.

Be your authentic self!

When dating, many present an “edited” version of themselves to impress the other person. They may be over-eager to conform to an imagined “best self” or hide parts of their personality out of fear of rejection. But this holds you back from connecting with the other person.

Research published in Psychology Today, for instance, demonstrates that vulnerability is actually the secret to fostering a connection. As Brené Brown, author of five #1 New York Times best sellers, puts it:

“We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we're afraid to let them see it in us. We're afraid that our truth isn't enough - that what we have to offer isn't enough without the bells and whistles, without editing, and impressing.”

You may think of a first date as a one-way street in which you want to get the other person to like you. But really, a first date provides an opportunity for two people to see how well they get along together and to discover whether they have a connection

By staying true to yourself, you open the opportunity for a genuine connection. This invites your date to let down their guard as well. Then you can determine whether you have found a match based on compatibility and chemistry, rather than being in a situation in which two people are pretending to be someone else.

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Choose an activity date

You might think of a dinner or coffee as go-to date ideas. But this puts the entire focus on the conversation between the two of you.

Instead, opt for activities like an art show, museum exhibition, or a sporting event. The casual, interactive atmosphere will help break the ice, and spark conversations. Plus, low-cost activities avoid awkward situations like wondering who will get the bill after an expensive meal.

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Be friends first

In his book, Some Thoughts About Relationships, Colin Wright suggests practical perspectives for navigating romance. According to his “Friends First Policy”, he recommends making friendship the foundation of all relationships.

 “A first date comes burdened with all kinds of baggage. Concerns, Expectations. Entire sitcom episodes revolve around first dates.” Don’t we all know it!

Instead, think of a first date more as a chance to potentially meet a new friend. Maybe the relationship will blossom into something romantic, maybe it won’t. Taking the pressure off allows both people to relax, get to know each other, and then decide whether there’s something romantic worth exploring.

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Prepare for engaging conversation

If you have social anxiety or are an introvert, the idea of conversing with someone you barely know can feel a little scary, to say the least. It can help to have a few questions to help spark natural conversation during a first date that goes beyond typical small talk. Here are a few examples of engaging conversation-starters, backed by science:

Are you working on any passion projects lately?

What were you like as a kid?

What’s the best advice that anyone ever gave you?

Tell me about your closest friends.

lined up in the back of your mind will help you both move past the typical date questions and start to get to know each other on a deeper level.

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Love starts with loving yourself

RuPaul got it right: “If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” Leading psychologists back the claims of the “Queen of all drag queens”. This study showed that self-compassionate individuals tend to have healthier romantic relationships than those who lack self-compassion.

Remember that you can’t control chemistry, compatibility, or attraction. You want to plan a date where everyone has a good time without putting too much pressure on yourself or the other person. Look at a first date as an opportunity to make a new friend. Have fun and be yourself. The rest will fall into place. 

 (Theera Disayarat / Shutterstock.com)

ALLISON MICHELLE DIENSTMAN, CONTRIBUTOR
Working from her laptop as a freelance writer, Allison lives as a digital nomad, exploring the world while sharing positivity and laughter. She is a lover of language, travel, music, and creativity with a degree in Chinese language and literature.
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