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You’ve been texting potential bae for a week or two, and both of your schedules have finally cleared: it’s time to meet up for a first date. Of course a rush of emotions and questions comes over you–will there be chemistry? Will there be a second date? Will I like them? Will they like me?

All of that anticipation builds up until you are sitting face-to-face for dinner. And those first minutes can be painfully awkward. Embrace them.

First dates are often awkward, but the awkwardness is part of what makes them so exciting,” Dr. Jess O’Reilly, relationship expert and sexologist at Astroglide, told Bustle. “When you feel nervous or unsure, it can heighten your attention and attraction; it’s part of what makes new love so exciting and passionate.”

Here are a couple of ways to turn an awkward date into an awesome one, according to Bustle’s experts.

Call It Out

“Radical authenticity can help both of you to feel more comfortable,” Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, told Bustle. “Just by naming what is actually happening, you immediately lessen the tension and give your date permission to be radically genuine, too.” It can immediately put you two at ease.

Change The Atmosphere

Don’t be afraid to ditch the generic dinner and a movie and try something new, like bowling or playing pool.

“You know what’s more exciting than another date at a bar? A date that suddenly turns into a bar crawl,” Tom Ella, relationship expert and host of The Undesirables dating podcast, told Bustle. “Don’t feel married to your location just because you’re there.”

Sit In The Silence

You don’t have to be in such a rush to fill the empty space of conversation. Take a deep breathe and allow yourself to sit with your date in the land of no words.

“Silences are fine,” Ella told Bustle.  “In fact, a sign of a great date — and a great relationship — is a capacity to sit in silence with each other without it being weird or uncomfortable. You don’t need to fill every second with something.”

Be Present

Try to just listen. We can get so caught up in the potential of our connection that we miss the sparks flying in the present.

“Don’t think about what’s working and don’t assess your date’s compatibility,” O’ Reilly told Bustle. “Instead, just enjoy the food, drink and company without the need to consider what might come next.”

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