Dating can be such a tricky area of life to navigate, especially when you’re just starting things with someone. The first few dates will set the tone for an an entire relationship (or prevent one from happening!) But why should you have to suffer through the excruciating pain of awkward first dates, when we’ve already done it for you?! Here are the top three mistakes to avoid when going on date number one.
My biggest pet peeve when it comes to dating is how predictable people tend to be. It always seems to be the same; inquisition over dinner, followed by a film that neither party is actually watching. How am I supposed to answer intense questions about myself with a mouth full of Alfredo pasta? Who picks the film? Do we hold hands? Why am I sitting right next to someone I don’t know anything about in a dark room, surrounded by strangers? The whole thing makes me crazy. Don’t be dull on a first date! The earliest interaction should be a fun one, full of adventure. My best advice is to select an activity to do that creates nostalgia in a person. Do something fun like laser tag, bowling, kayaking. Go visit an ice cream shop or an old fashioned candy store. A first date should create memories that you both enjoy so much, you can’t wait to spend more time with that person. It’s also a great way to explore common hobbies together, so you can get a feel for what you and they could potentially be doing together regularly, several months down the road.
Along those same lines, I find that many people tend to make the initial date far too serious. Yes, you’re trying to feel a person out to see if they’re a good match for you, but it’s always best to start with surface level material. Talk about your dreams and ambitions together. Find out their favorite kind of gift, food, film. Discuss where you’ve been and where you want to go. Talking about the bright and sunny future is much easier that trying to discuss the past or attempting to make big decisions together before you even know the basic details. It’s best to save the big conversations for a later date, and just try to have fun while things are starting out.
Finally, it’s never enjoyable to be on a date with someone who is too self-involved. While it is important to let the other person know who you are and what you’re about, it can be easy to fall into the trap of over-sharing or bragging. It’s equally important to get to know the person across the table from you. Find out their interests, pay attention to details, and use that information to help you better understand where they’re coming from as an individual. Learn what motivates them and what makes them smile the biggest. A first date is a two way street, and it’s super important to make sure you keep your eyes, ears, and mind open to receiving those details to really get to know someone better.
First dates can be seriously terrifying and/or dull. If you stick to avoiding these three big mistakes, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll find the experience much easier and much more FUN than ever before.