A first date is a natural recipe for disaster. It’s an anxiety-inducing audition in which you feel pressure to be interesting, engaging, and confident – all in hopes of making a good first impression.
While this may come natural for some, the rest of us are just trying to get through dessert without putting our foot in our mouth.
Fear not: like in most areas of life, a little preparation goes a long way. Here are some useful tips that will help you avoid a first date disaster.
Don’t Reveal Too Much
Experiencing first date butterflies is totally normal. Expected, even.
For some, nervous energy provides the edge they need to power through the inevitable awkward pauses in the dialog. For the rest of us mere mortals, these conversation gaps can turn a promising date into a total disaster.
If there’s an awkward silence, don’t try to fill it with the first thing that comes to mind. This is how you end up sharing details about your vast collection of Beanie Babies or your decades-long battle with back acne.
While it might seem like a good idea at the time, it’s more likely to result in an immediate trip to the restroom your date doesn’t come back from.
To avoid this you can come up with a few go-to questions designed to help get the ball rolling again. It’s best to ask open-ended questions that can’t be answered with just one word. Here are a few examples:
- If time and money weren’t an issue, which hobbies would you take up?
- What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
- What’s the best gift you’ve ever given someone?
Know that these silences WILL happen, it just comes with the territory. Preparing a few reliable questions to ask when these moments arise will help you keep the good vibes going.
Don’t Bring Up Your Ex
While it’s good to understand a person’s past in the long run, a first date is not a good time to vent about why your last relationship went south.
While your ex may still be living rent-free in your head (especially if the break-up was recent), you don’t want your new boo to worry that they may need to compete for your attention if you hit it off.
If your date asks about your previous relationship, feel free to talk honestly about it. Just don’t get caught up venting about the issues that led to the break up. This can be a big first date red flag and make it seem like you’re not yet totally over your ex emotionally, ruining any chance you have at a second date.
A great way to maturely wrap up the topic is to talk about the what you learned from the relationship. Don’t focus on the negatives – come up with a few positive things you took from it that will make you a better partner in the future.
Share them before returning to your handy list of open-ended questions that you can use to get the conversation headed in a new direction.
Do Your Research
A little bit of background research can help you avoid a date that never should have happened in the first place.
One study suggests that 53% of men and women lie on their online dating profile. Some lies are innocent but others can be more serious, like failing to mention their marriage status or a criminal past.
Before agreeing to meet in person, it’s important to run a background check on their name, email address or phone number using a people search engine. Doing this will provide you with a wealth of information that can help you be sure you’re going out with someone who has nothing to hide. The information can include:
- Marital/Relationship Status
- Criminal/Arrest Records
- Sex Offense Status
- Social Media Profiles/Pictures
- Location History
Rather than finding out about your date’s lengthy history of dining-and-dashing as you’re sprinting past the hostess, take the time to do your research.
It’s better to be safe than sorry.