First Date Conversations
by Caren Field
First dates can be really nerve-racking. More often than not, knowing what to say can be the least of your problems. Not knowing how to act or what to do with your hands can be even more worrisome and so awkward!
But... you don't have to let your nerves get the best of you. Pretending you aren't nervous only makes things worse, so instead, let's take a look at what causes the nerves and eliminate them at the source. Only after that will what you say in your first date conversations have a chance to make the difference between a date to forget and one to remember.
What causes first date jitters?
- Being focused on how you will come across – do they like me?
- Being physically attracted to your date – will they sleep with me?
- Being worried if they are “the one” – are we getting married?!
It turns out the source is the same: our survival instincts.
As humans, we all are subject to experiencing instinctive behaviors; however, we don't always recognize them when they crop up. Sometimes, we experience them and assume there's something wrong with us. Be assured that's not always true!
Once we become aware of what our human animal is reacting to, we can make a choice: continue to react or do something else. I always recommend choosing something else.
Why do we feel so awkward?
Our instincts need us to survive; in other words, we need to live through the date. In order for us to make it out alive, we have to “look good.” This means acting right, saying the right things, being appropriate, all so that we don't die of embarrassment. This compelling need causes us to do and say things to try to please people (I don't care, what do YOU want to do?). Any behaviors that fall into this category come from survival-mode, a form of panic, and they limit our natural self-expression, which makes us feel and seem awkward.
Multiply the awkwardness by 100 when you feel chemistry with your date. The hormones racing through your brain and body make you act goofy and say stupid things that you normally wouldn't if you were with someone who you weren't attracted to. When we want sex, we act weird. Have you noticed this before?
As if that wasn't enough, when you spend energy trying to figure out if they are “the one,” you're focused on the future. And while that might not seem awkward to you, you might come across that way. By asking questions like, “How many kids do you want?” or “Do you see yourself getting married?” you may think you are doing your due diligence, but you might also be applying a lot of unnecessary pressure to your date.
How can you make your first date conversations more comfortable?
By transforming the way you think about yourself, your date, and the date.
You are a human being about to go out with another human being to enjoy a social occasion together. That's all; there's no need for any panic. Just keep breathing and keep focusing on what's happening around you. Worrying takes you out of the present, so don't waste any time on:
- whether or not they like you: If you have to worry, worry about whether you like them.
- whether they want to sleep with you: A guy wouldn't ask you out on a date if he didn't want to sleep with you. Most girls won't say Yes to a date when she's a No to the possibility of sex. Don't ever expect anything to happen the first night.
- the future: You're on your first (and maybe last) date together. Enjoy yourself now while you can.
What is there to talk about?
Discussing what's happening in the present moment (what are you seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling) helps to keep the conversation fresh. Don't get too caught up in the past or in the future. Practice talking like this with a friend before the date, if it will help.
Please, don't be boring. Avoid like the plague asking the following questions:
- Where are you from?
- What do you do?
- What kind of car do you drive?
- How many brothers and sisters do you have?
- Where did you go to school? What's your major
- What kind of music/movies do you like?
- What's your zodiac sign?
I'm ready to fall asleep simply from making that list.
These kinds of questions turn dates into job interviews. Don't do it!
Dates are supposed to be fun, so keep the conversation light and focused on what's happening now. There's plenty of time to find out what you need to know about your date to decide if a second date is warranted.
Oh, and what do you do with your hands? Keep them still. Sit on them if you have to.
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