Uncomplicating the First Date: Sensible Advice
by Hanna

On a first date, should anyone really need advice? On the surface, online dating sounds like 100% hassle-free fun. But, as you well know, everything that sounds easy isn’t.

silhouette of man jumping on the field during night time

Women have been trained from birth to seek male approval at any cost. Naturally, that can make dating anxiety almost inevitable for you. So, if you’re concerned that your nerves may trip you up, our friends from Loveawake dating site offers simple, but highly-effective ways to stay calm and keep the conversation flowing:

Do YOU (Authentically)

Commit to being yourself from the very start. Remember, at this point, it’s NOT actually a “date.” It’s “preliminary research”—with dinner and a movie thrown in. So, you really can’t afford to skip to the future inside your head (“Could he guy be The One?”)

Rein in any lofty expectations of him, yourself or of the significance of the first date. Why consider this advice? Because, otherwise you’ll be obsess over everything you say and do—and over-analyze what YOU think HE thinks about you.

Excessive self-consciousness makes you to either underplay or over-exaggerate your real personality and communication style.

Look at Him (Really)

Looking your date in the eye displays self-confidence and that you’re enjoying his company. (What men are addicted to). Avoiding eye-contact INSTANTLY conveys fear, discomfort, or boredom (and makes men feel inadequate.)

But, don’t merely make eye-contact, it’s crucial that you maintain it for at least 5 seconds before shifting your gaze. If looking him in the eye feels awkward, here’s the perfect fix: focus right between his eyes (top of his nose). He’ll completely believe you’re maintaining eye-contact—and it’ll feel less strange to you!

Master the Elbow-Touch (Naturally)

Men are very visual. Your “body language” can relax—or terrify—him. On your first date use this advice:
Lightly touch his arm (elbow level or higher) for JUST a second or two (and only when YOU'RE speaking). Space it no more than once every few minutes. The elbow-touch is a perfectly non-flirtatious way to communicate that:

a.) You’re fully engaged in him and the conversation.
b.) You’re comfortable and confident enough for (non-sexualized) physical contact.
c.) You approve of him. (Men know you won’t touch what you find unappealing).

Tell...Ask...Listen (Equally)

The smoothest conversational flow comes from the right balance: about 50% self-disclosure and 50% asking questions about him. Here’s one of the most counterintuitive of all dating tips for women:

Listening as much (or more) than you speak actually stimulates more conversation. When he’s speaking, lean in and listen actively (using “reinforcers” like head nodding, facial expressions, and low-volume “sound- effects” like gasps, chuckles, mouthing “Wow!”,“Really?”,“No way...!”etc.

Avoid interrogating him on increasingly personal subjects. He could feel he’s on the witness stand.

Avoid Venting (Completely)

Regarding first dates, my best advice is:
Avoid ALL complaints, criticism, profanity, or ridicule, even if it’s only about your crazy roommate, your sleazy boss, the slow-motion waiter, or your out-of-control allergies. And...NEVER, EVER OFFLOAD ABOUT YOUR EX!

Even if your date goes there, or he laughs like crazy when you do. He’ll still mentally categorize you as “catty” or “bitchy” and lose interest.

Plan Your Exit (Gracefully)

Both of you have equal say about how your first date goes. My advice is to consider it a “joint venture.” Of course you should be sure to express your thanks, but add in a specific mention of what you sincerely appreciated ABOUT HIM (not just the activities). E.g. “Thanks for tonight...You’re hilarious. I really enjoyed laughing with you!

And, please DON’T get knotted up by the question of kissing on the first date. Try this advice:

If you let your “Good night” turn into a “tongue-tasting” (or something more) he’ll mentally reclassify you as potential sex-mate, rather than soulmate. Regarding your last impression on your first date — less is more!