Madissyn Fredericks, Licensed Professional Counselor, Symmetry Counseling
The first date is an experience that can bring up a mixed bag of emotions. Many people feel a range of emotions including insecurities, nervousness, excitement, anxiety, and even fear. You are not only worrying about making a good first impression, but also have the task of determining if the person sitting across the table is a good match for you. The amount of pressures and anxieties that come along with first dates often discourage people from engaging in the dating scene altogether. Rather than excluding yourself from the dating world, there are things you can keep in mind to make the first date more tolerable and help you determine if a connection is possible. Below are a few tips to consider as you are preparing to go on your first date to help make it a success.
1. Be Yourself
While you may feel the pressure to be witty, smart, interesting, and exciting, it is important to be true to yourself. While the advice to “be yourself” sounds a little cliche, it is very common for people to feel an urge to inflate themselves or lie to sound more exciting. It is more than okay to embrace fact that you like to watch reality tv, play board games, or play video games in your free time. When you radiate confidence in yourself and what you enjoy you will get a better idea if this person is a good match for the real you.
2. Be Respectful and Present
It is important to show respect for your date by showing up on time and being present in your conversations. It can display disinterest if you show up late or reach for your phone frequently throughout your date. It is a good rule of thumb to keep your phone out of reach and on vibrate during your date so you can focus on engaging with your date instead.
3. Establish Boundaries
Going on a date, it is always good to consider your boundaries. For example, make sure you are comfortable with the number of drinks you are having, location of the date, physical boundaries, and financial boundaries as well. It can be easy, whether the date is going well or not, to want to please your date and cross these boundaries. Try writing down what some of your boundaries are for your first date and try to stick to them as best you can.
4. Listen and Ask Intriguing Questions
Throughout the date, it can be easy to make it all about you, but it is important to listen and learn about your date. It is crucial that you ask your date questions that provoke emotion such as, “Where is the best place you have traveled and why?”, or “What are you passionate about and why?”. These questions are better than your average questions like, “What is your career?”. As you listen to their answer it is important to comment on what they said or summarize what you heard so they feel understood. These skills will help you learn about each other and aid in building a connection.
5. Have a Good Time
Many people see dating as stressful, scary, and disappointing, but it doesn’t have to be! Of course, there will be dates that are better than others, but it can be fun if you remain positive. Even if you don’t meet the love of your life on this first date, you still opened yourself up to the opportunity to meet someone and practiced interacting with a potential love interest. Take these dates as an opportunity to meet people, have a good time, and maybe even laugh a little.
If you are currently overwhelmed with first dates and would like some support, it may be useful to connect with a therapist. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment with one of our very skilled therapists today!