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  • Paula Thompson
    Paula Thompson

    Unprepared on the Date: How to Cope

    Everyone has been there. You line up a date and get really excited, only to find yourself feeling apprehensive and unprepared when the night of the date arrives. The thought of going into an unfamiliar situation with somebody you barely know can be nerve-wracking for anyone, so it can be helpful to keep in mind that you aren’t alone in this. All that stands between you and confidence is learning how to cope with your date-night anxiety and stay focused on the times ahead.

    The first step in preparing for a first date is making sure your physical presence is as put-together as can be. Take some time to get dressed and make sure you’re happy with the way you look. Wear something that makes you feel secured and look your best, not just something trendy. Project an air of self-confidence, and even if you don’t feel it, fake it 'til you do. Arousing positive body language is key. Make eye contact, stand straight, and smile. That alone is enough to create a lasting impression while simultaneously boosting your own self-esteem.

    When it comes to conversation, don’t be afraid to let loose and get creative. While small talk may seem stale, it can give you and your date essential insight about each other. Talk about things you both find interesting and funny, and don’t forget to listen attentively. Misbehaving in conversation can spell disaster for any potential relationships that could form from your date. Avoid controversial topics and focus on speaking positively and respectfully; flirtatious banter is encouraged, but never overdo it. Pace yourself as you converse. Overwhelming your date with too many questions at once can be off-putting, so ask one question at a time and gauge their reaction before continuing with the conversation.

    At some point during the date, it’s usually expected for one person to pay for whatever activity you’ve chosen. Know your financial situation and stick with it. Splurging on a first date might seem like a romantic gesture, but it could be unfair to you or cause discomfort if it’s not within your budget. Be aware that matters like this can always be discussed prior to the date, and that splitting the bill is also a completely valid option.

    If you're still feeling anxious while on the date, take a few moments to remind yourself why you’re here in the first place–it’s because you felt drawn to someone and wanted to learn more about them. Now is your chance to form a connection and see if this person is a compatible match for you. Let them get to know the real you, reveal a bit of your personality, and remember to stay true to who you are.

    By the end of the date, you should have a better idea of whether or not this person is someone you would want to continue seeing. Making decisions doesn’t need to happen on the spot. Give yourself a day or two to really reflect and then decide how you want to move forward from there. In any case, just enjoy the moment and don’t try to overthink it. All it takes to successfully make it through a first date is a genuine intention to get to know someone and the courage to move along with it.

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