Find out how to overcome first date nerves and discover what topics are up for discussion when you’re trying to make a first date successful and how keeping it light and relaxed can make it an enjoyable experience for both of you, rather than it feeling like a job interview.
Even though you’re socially skilled and could, without batting an eyelid, chair a conference or give a speech to a roomful of people, going on a first date may make your knees turn to jelly. An effective way to dispel nerves is to own up to them straightaway!
“I’ve been nervously looking forward to this all day. Look my hands are shaking.”
Chances are your date will be feeling the same and you’ll be giving them the opportunity to admit it too. You’ll both laugh, and any tension will be diffused.
Seductive Conversation – It’s not all about talking….
You don’t have to be the greatest wit that ever lived. You can have your date hanging on your every word just by listening in the right way. Proactive listening is the technique of ‘reflecting back’ what your companion says – for instance “Obviously you really enjoy scuba diving”. This shows that, not only are you actually listening to what they’re saying, but that you relate to their feelings and you’ve understood them.
Be mischievous, flirty and say what you think.
The main thing to remember is that a date should be FUN. Keep it upbeat and light-hearted no matter what your date is like. Jokey, teasing, mischievous, original and outrageous are all great. The art of flirting lies in being playful, curious and making you both feel wonderful. Just don’t be too eager, remember the thrill is in the chase. Crude, dirty and sleazy is out and if your date doesn’t realise this – tell them.
Can’t think what to say?
Sitting down with a complete stranger can be enough to make even the most chatty person’s mouth clamp shut. Take a breath, it’s easy to chat about the simple things that make up everyday life: job, family, lifestyle, music, films, TV, sport, culture and so on – small talk rather than serious talk. All of these subjects can keep you communicating through the first date, and allow you both to form opinions and feelings about each other. Dating tip – a well timed compliment can work wonders, even if it’s just “You’re making this experience really easy. I’m having a great time.” Or “Great tie!”.
Before going on a date, always get up to speed on current affairs. Scan the newspapers (or the internet) to be sure you know something about what’s going on in the world. Acquaint yourself with at least one political story and throw in something quirky too. It never hurts to be up to speed on your celebrity gossip either.
Reinforce your message
All in all it’s not so much WHAT you say as HOW you say it. Back up your conversation with lots of eye contact and positive body language. Make sure you say their name from time to time. There is a beguiling resonance in the sound of one’s name being uttered by a relative stranger in an intimate context.
Keep up the proactive listening, keep reflecting back to what your date is talking about at least until you’ve got into the swing of things. Once you’re relaxed you’ll have no problems speaking your mind on anything that arises.
The Body Bares All
Is your date wildly attracted to you, or desperate to get away? There is no sure-fire translation of body language, but you can usually draw accurate conclusions if you’re observant.
We all recognise defensive arm folding and no eye contact as a sign that we’re not perhaps being as engaging as we would like. But is that fidgeting a sign of nervousness because they really want to impress or do they just need the bathroom? Are they genuinely smiling at you, is that more of a rictus grin, indicating that they’re bored out of their mind?
What Does It All Mean?
The more aware you are of your body and the signals you’re giving out to your date, the easier it will be for you read their’s in return. These next observations are to help you to send (and receive) the right messages, and to prevent you falling into bad, 0ff-putting, habits such as not maintaining good eye contact, covering your mouth when you speak and, worst of all, offering a wet-lettuce handshake!
When the hand supports the head
Propping up the chin with our hand when sitting down often indicates tiredness or boredom. If the hand strays over the face, particularly the mouth, it usually signals anxiety/nervousness. The less confident we feel the more our hands tend to be on the move.
Hair patting and grooming
When someone constantly pats and fiddles with hair, it’s an obvious sign that they are pre-occupied with their appearance. They may be anxious about it or just plain vain! It is also a courting signal. When a woman pushes her hair back or twists a lock sensually around her fingers exposing her inner wrists it is a definite expression of warmth and interest.
Fingers touching the mouth
Gently stroking your bottom lip with your finger while listening to your date could suggest you’re thinking about lips touching. Other hand on mouth gestures give a very negative message. Nail or finger biting, picking your lips or sucking your fingers, no matter how briefly, indicate insecurity and anxiety and will almost immediately become the focus of your date’s attention. Once they’ve noticed it they can’t un-notice it!
Touching the neck/Tugging at the collar
A hand moving up to rub or touch the neck generally means that someone is uncomfortable or lying! Clasping the back of the neck may be an unconscious expression of feelings of anger. Tugging the collar is another ‘nervous’ clue. It’s a gesture often made by someone on the brink of a ‘big’ moment (if he pops the question on the first date we advise hightailing it our there pronto) and can also indicate guilt or embarrassment. Noting any of these can help you avert a possible uncomfortable situation.
Tuning into your date’s body language will give you useful feedback on that first date. Watch out for mirroring – when your date unconsciously copies your movements in any way – this is a great way to connect with someone, to make them feel at ease and up the flirting to the next level.
Dressing For The Occasion
Obviously, you wouldn’t wear a three-piece suit to go on a hike, so make sure you know what’s appropriate for your first date. What you want to do with your outfit is make a good impression on your date and dressing inappropriately is a sure way to not impress!
Basically keep it simple and elegant. Wear an outfit you know you look good in and one you feel comfortable in too – you don’t want to be fiddling with your clothing throughout the date. If you’re meeting in a casual setting by all means dress appropriately, there’s nothing wrong with a pair jeans and a top, but NO holes and they’d better be clean!
Topics To Stay Away From
A first date is much too soon to start talking about your life goals and emotional history. It may be tempting to bring up matters that are critically important to you, but talking about your divorce, plans for a family and how badly your ex treated you are a big no-no in a situation where you’re supposed to be enjoying getting to know someone new.
Yes, obviously ‘getting to know someone’ means sharing important information but at the moment it’s more about getting a vibe from the person you’re with, discovering shared interests and opinions before moving on to a deeper understanding of what make them tick. You’ve been warned! You tackle such emotionally sensitive issues this early on at your peril!
Feel like a little extra homework? Try reading Body Language – How to Read Other’s Thoughts by Their Gestures (Allan Pease).
If you are ready to meet someone special, contact the friendly award winning matchmakers at Drawing Down the Moon Matchmaking.