Tips To De-Stress the First Date

Do you face most first dates with a queasy, nervous stomach? We’ve got your remedy!

By Linda Rains

f you’ve subscribed to a dating website, at least one date is almost inevitable. That would be the infamous “first” date—the one that makes you nervous, queasy, anxious and self-conscious.

Get over it! Here are some proven tips to help alleviate the stress of your first date.

Evolve the conversation.
The beauty of online dating is that you’re never required to go in blind. Once you’ve made the connection, get to know each other through email. From there, move to the telephone for a few real-time conversations. You’ll be old pals by the time you meet!

Take all photo ops.
Some may disagree, but I strongly suggest a photo up front. You’ll know who you’re looking for at the meeting place, and you’ll be assured there’s at least a chance for attraction.
The beauty of online dating is, by the time you meet, you are old pals.

Take it easy.
Start short and sweet with lunch, a quick dinner or drinks. Pressed for time? Try a bagel and coffee in the morning before work. You’ll be in and out in 30 minutes or less. And even if you’re the dress-up type, keep the first date fashion turned down to casual for best comfort.

>Be prepared.
Make a mental list of things to talk about—conversation crib notes, if you like. Just keep them ready any time you feel the conversation coming to a stall. Things like work, hobbies, travel, kids, pets or even the weather. If you followed the first tip, you should have plenty of material at hand.

Get some action.
Not that kind of action. If you’re typically uncomfortable with new people, schedule a high action activity to start the date. Not only will attention be focused on the task at hand, you’ll have something to converse about later. Think hiking, indoor rock climbing, dance lessons; you’ll be much too busy for awkward moments!

Be nice.
Even if you know before the handshake that this date is not The One, be friendly and cordial. There is no need for unpleasantries that make your date uncomfortable. Definitely don’t argue or debate today’s top issues, and resist the urge to glance at your watch. Keep your attention focused on the conversation (and date) at hand—yes, even if you spot a cutie at the bar.

Don’t forget previous conversations. Sometimes it’s difficult to transition from the online to offline world. Remind yourself that you’ve been conversing with this person for the past few days or weeks. You do “sort of” know your date already. If you find the ice isn’t melting, recall a funny moment from an email conversation.

Enjoy the moment.
Keep in mind: it’s only a moment in time. Your whole life doesn’t rest on this meeting. The first date is merely an introduction to determine if there’s any chemistry worth pursuing. If there is, great! Continue on to date number two. If not, no big deal. Just relax and have fun! Linda Rains is a freelance writer who frequently contributes to Happen magazine.
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