Tips for Conquering Your Fear of First Dates
Knowing First Date Conversation Dos and Don'ts Can Help Eliminate First Date Jitters
Dear April Masini,
I'm finally out of a relationship that went nowhere, slowly! I'm back in the dating world, and I don't remember how to do it! First dates scare me. I get nervous. I want to cancel. But I don't want to be alone! Please give me some dating tips that will help me get through my first date without totally freaking out.
Sincerely, First Date Jitters"
April Masini's Advice :
Dear First Date Jitters:
Relax. You're not alone.
Dating can be frightening if you put too much pressure on yourself or on the date. This can be a horror show, or it can be enjoyable and productive. The beauty is - you get to decide what it is. Yup. That's right. Even though it doesn't feel like it, you're in control.
Don't believe me? Run - don't walk - and pick up my book, Ideas for a Fun Date then read on and listen up.
It's true, you do not have to go on the date. Okay? You can always cancel. But that wouldn't be my advice. Unless you find out that this person has a criminal record, is abusive or is someone you already know you would not consider being in a long-term relationship with. But if none of the above apply, you're probably suffering a case of the First Date Jitters, and I've got the solution to calm you down, and help you enjoy your first date - no matter how many of them you have.
First Date Conversation Dos and Don'ts
First dates can be ignitable or real duds -- and the trick is that sometimes the ignitable first dates fizzle out and fade away while the real duds just take longer to get going and slowly boil. Here are some tips to make first date conversations get you where you want to go -- learning about your date and having fun doing it.
- Ask what you want to know. Why bother with superficial questions that riff on that old standby, ”What’s your major?” If you know what you want in a relationship then you won’t waste time on a first date or a first date conversation.
The best way to ask what you want to know is to have done your homework -- in fact, it's one of my ABC's - a basic you should master when starting to date: know what you want. Whether it's fun without commitment, or someone to marry, stay focused and don't waste your time - or your dates. If he or she doesn't fall into that category of people you want as a date, then just say no.
- Tell the truth, but don’t give your entire unedited autobiography during dinner. The idea is to go back and forth in a conversation. Be aware of who’s doing most of the talking. If it’s you, stop and ask some questions.
There's a difference between playing coy, and lying. You should always tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth - just not all of the truth at one time! Regurgitating your life story in one sitting is boring, and if you date often, you'll get into the habit of giving the same story of my life speech at each date. However, if you tell him a little at a time, you'll be able to see if he's really listening, and if he's interested by his response. He'll want to know more, or he'll change the subject.
The same goes for him. Be aware of what he tells you and what he doesn't. Ask him what you want to know. Be aware of whether he asks questions - or if he's tuned out and is staring at your chest. Same with the ladies - see if she's really listening to you, or if she's staring at your broad shoulders and not listening to a word you're saying.
- Relax. It’s great to want to impress someone, but if you spend the entire date on your Christmas dinner behavior, you’ll have kept ”the real you” from them, and maybe even vice versa!
This doesn't mean you should belch the alphabet and show him what kind of a party gal or guy you really are. It does mean that you should be comfortable with yourself, and laugh if you think something's funny, and just as quickly, don't laugh if something he thinks is a joke is offensive. Manners are terrific, and a good show of how someone treats their selves and the world, but they're just the bells and whistles. If you relax and have some fun, you'll let your date see a side of you that is important - and you'll get to see how easily they open up - or don't.
- Don’t focus too much on talk about what ”your type” is, and why you’ve been unsuccessful up to now. By describing your type, you may be insulting your date -- besides which, if you’re so sure of your type, why are you out on a first date?
You wouldn't like it if he told 36A you, that he usually goes for - bigger blondes, and he wouldn't like it if you tell him you usually go out with guys who are more buff. So don't start telling him what you don't like, and why you've made an exception in this case. It's not just bad manners - it's not productive.
- Don’t be rude or use questionable manners. Don’t say, ”Shut up,” ”Get out,” or any other playful put down -- and don’t curse. Learn to communicate without these language crutches.
Don’t start asking your first date to commit to a party in August, a weekend in September, and meeting your friends at Christmas -- on the first date. Even if you like this other person a lot, stay cool. Don’t play all your cards at once, and don’t make commitments so far in advance on a first -- or second -- date. If this is going to turn into a second date, then you can pick up my book, Romantic Date Ideas for ideas to keep the fun going and the tension low.
And for a few laughs - at least I hope you'll think they're funny, here are my top 10 lines you shouldn't say - or hear - on your first (or any) date.
April’s Top 10 Things You Don’t Want to Hear on a First Date
- Oh look -- my husband!
- Oh look -- my boyfriend!
- Oh look -- my parole officer!
- Do you have herpes, too?
- Let’s get really drunk and drive!
- I want to stop at the market -- I’m out of cat food for my fifteen kitties.
- My fourth ex-husband was really crazy, but he was nothing like my fifth husband.
- I hardly ever have visions any more since the electro-shock therapy -- you should try it.
- I’m not drinking tonight -- pregnancy scare. Just to be on the safe side.
- Wow, your feet are so small -- I hope that isn’t a sign of other things.