Hello and welcome to The Scarlett Letter! If you are looking for dating and relationship advice, you’ve come to the right place. This column will cover lots of topics having to do with successfully dating and being in relationships, from how to communicate effectively to identifying red flags, and everything in between. I am always looking for ideas, so feel free to reach out if you have something you’d like to see covered!
First Date Do’s and Don’ts
So you’ve met someone you’re interested in and you’re going on a first date – AWESOME! I’ll bet you’re feeling nervous, yet excited about the prospect of starting something new. First and foremost, don’t let your nerves get the best of you! It’s normal to be a ball of nerves at the beginning stages of a possible relationship. Your mind is probably running a mile a minute thinking about what could possibly go wrong and how to avoid accidentally making yourself look silly in front of your date.
First impressions are certainly important, but if you get too in your head it can lead to anxiety, which can hinder your ability to put your best foot forward. Confidence is key! Keep in mind that your date agreed to go out with you because they are interested in getting to know you and probably find you attractive. Showcase your best qualities, and let your date see you who truly are.
Make sure you wear something that makes you feel presentable and comfortable. Your outfit should fit well and accentuate your best features. Pick colors that pair well with your skin tone, hair color, and eye color. Obviously, you want to dress appropriately for the activity or activities you have planned for your first date so you are properly prepared.
Having a good conversation is the best way for you and your date to figure out if you have a connection and chemistry. Ask questions that will help keep the conversation going, but try to avoid anything too deep right out of the gate.
Here are some examples of questions you should and should not ask on a first date:
Try to give your date your full attention. As conditioned as we may be to constantly be checking our phones, try to leave it in your pocket or purse so you don’t seem uninterested in talking to them. If an emergency arises that you have to address via text or a phone call, excuse yourself momentarily to handle it.
Avoid topics that may cause the conversation to get awkward or uncomfortable too soon. Discussing things like politics or religion before you’ve had a chance to get to know someone a little can lead to things going south. Likewise, bringing up wanting to get married or have children too early can be off-putting. Those things are best left for discussion down the road if things progress.
Another topic you should avoid on a first date is your past relationships. It can make things very awkward to bring up people you have dated in the past while you are getting to know someone new. You don’t want your date to think you are still hung up on your ex while you are actively pursuing them. It can be a red flag that you aren’t really ready to date and scare them off.
When your date comes to an end, don’t feel pressured to make plans for a second outing right away. This is especially true if you are unsure about how you’re feeling and need time to process. Don’t feel obligated to promise to go on another date. If your date asks you to make plans to go out again and you don’t want to commit, you can simply respond with something like, “This was nice, thank you for hanging out. I’ll let you know.” This will give you the space to decide whether or not you want to go out with them again without being too standoffish.
The best advice I have when it comes to going on a first date is to simply be yourself and focus on getting to know the other person. Don’t be worried about whether or not they will like you and cause yourself to get nervous. Just put your best foot forward and show them who you are. If they end up not being interested, then that’s ok. You aren’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but eventually you will find someone who values who you are and enjoys your company. And remember to have fun!
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