I think back to my days of being single and going on first dates and I shiver. Ugh. I hated it. And at times I loved it. There were great first dates that seemed very promising, but then those guys would reveal serious red flags on the second date. There were first dates that were total flops, but the guys somehow convinced me to go on a second date (I guess I was just hopeful?), and I would discover that, yup, I was right, this thing is a flop. There were guys who I had great online and phone chemistry with who, in real life, I had zero chemistry with. The high expectations, dashed dreams, and terrible roller coaster of doing it several times a week was hard on my poor soul.
I only finally found some reprieve when I had this breakthrough: there’s no need to even worry at all about how you behave on first dates. So much of the reason I found dating to be exhausting was, without perhaps even realizing it, I was putting on an act. Not a big act—I still wanted to be my true self—but, to some extent, I was trying to present the most polished version of myself. I was just so aware of how I was coming off. I was working so hard to edit myself, to make sure that I said exactly what I meant to say. No fumbling around. No mess-ups. No wonder I was so damn tired during my dating days.
Really, you don’t need to care or worry about how you behave on first dates. Screw any piece of advice on how to be on first dates. I promise you, the right guy is just on the side of the hill when you stop giving a damn about how you come off on first dates.
The right person will put you at ease
You have to understand that, when you meet a guy who could be good for you, he will put you at ease. You won’t have to think about how you’re coming off. You won’t have to edit yourself. Something about him will be so comforting and disarming that you will stop being self-conscious. If you find yourself feeling self-conscious, you’re probably on a date with the wrong guy already.
The right guy will (mostly) get you
Though in the beginning, we’re all still feeling each other out, whoever you end up with will, for the most part, get your vibe from the beginning. He’ll understand your intentions and your overall personality. You won’t have much explaining to do. And if you make a mistake or misspeak, he’ll understand what you meant. If he gets you totally wrong, he wasn’t right for you, anyways.
Smart men will try a second date
Any mature man will, even if there was a slight hiccup on an otherwise great date, want a second date if things went mostly well. So chill. Maybe you’ll say or do a wrong thing or two. If the date was otherwise a success, any adult will say, “Ah, we’re just getting to know each other. She may have been nervous. We can give this another shot.” And any guy who would run so quickly over one little mistake on your part is immature, so let him go.
You don’t want to be with someone judgmental
You don’t want to end up with someone judgmental in the long run. Don’t attempt to be perfect, because then you’ll attract men who expect perfection. Who you are is bound to come out eventually. But if you pretended to be flawless from the start, and wound up in a relationship with someone like that, that person will probably be off put by the real you. My point is that, you’ll attract up-tight, judgmental dudes if you don’t show your true self.
Actually, be a bit more judgmental
You, on the other hand, could probably stand to be a bit more judgmental. Not in a bad way, but in a fair and eyes-open kind of way. Rather than thinking about how you’re coming off, focus more on your date, and assessing whether or not you like how he is coming off. That’s the whole reason you are here, after all, and it will distract you from being so self-conscious.
Being “good” at dating is weird
Think about it. A good dater. Can’t you just see him now. He knows exactly when to fake being quirky and self-conscious, but even that is a contrived act. He’s good at making small talk and seeming genuine. Barf. It’s normal for first dates to be a bit clunky and awkward. Don’t be good at first dates—I think that makes you a sociopath.
Don’t you always want to relax?
If this were to become a long-term relationship, wouldn’t you want the option to always be able to chill? Wouldn’t you want, with a serious boyfriend, to let your hair down and never think about how you’re coming off or fear he’s misinterpreting you? So, if that’s what you want in the long-run, you’re best off being like that from the start.
There really are POFITS
If you need a thought to help you relax, keep in mind that there are seriously plenty of fish in the sea. I mean really. If this date doesn’t go well, just hop on the app, and there will be 25 guys waiting to go out with you this week. I’m not saying that you should totally slack off on this date, but I am saying that the knowledge that this isn’t the last possible person for you could help you chill.
What if you get a 2nd date the wrong way?
So, let’s say you’re great at the first date because you curated it. You’ve prepared your stories that you feel really show who you are. You’re polished and suave and funny and confident. But, it’s all a ruse. Now, this guy wants a second date. Great so…you just have to do that exhausting act all over again?
A care-free nature is attractive
You know what’s more attractive than someone who seems perfect on so on her sh*t and together? Someone who clearly doesn’t care if she seems like any of those things. A care-free nature is one of the most attractive things in the world! So, when you give up trying to appear perfect on a first date, you gain being care-free.
But also, if you’re neurotic, that’s fine, too
And hey, if your real self is neurotic, says the wrong thing, and messes up a lot—if that’s who comes out when you stop caring about how you come off—that’s fine, too. The right guy for you will find that cute. And, if that is who you are, it’s not like you could hide it for very long.
Everybody sucks at first dates
Truly, people are meant to suck at first dates. Everyone walks into this with the understanding that people will misinterpret each other, need to back pedal, have to explain themselves, and fumble around a bit. Knowing that that’s the expectation should also help you chill out a bit.
Who you are shines through
Honestly, you—your true self—has your back. Who you are will likely shine through, no matter what. So you don’t even have to worry about the whole “being yourself thing” because, like, who else would you be? Who else are you bringing to this date? You are bringing you. And you probably couldn’t hide who you are if you tried.
Who has the energy?
If you’re out there dating a lot, are you really going to put on an act for every date? Really. Think of how exhausting it has already been to do it a few times. Now, imagine doing that for months or years. Yeah. Think about that. It isn’t sustainable. You will burn out eventually, so maybe just stop now?
Don’t even see it as a date
Don’t even think of it as a date. Think of it as two people who, for some reason—a work thing, a common friend, the restaurant was too crowded—were forced to share a meal. If this were just anybody you don’t really have a social dynamic with, how would you make it fun for yourself? Focus on making it fun for you, and the real you will come out big time.