It’s a big ask these days to go on a first date.
You have HBO. You have Amazon Prime. You have a PlayStation 5 and an Oculus Quest (or at least the cool people do).
So when you do dress up and step out your door, you want more than over-priced drinks and mediocre conversation.
But we also have to be willing to do our own part as well. I’ve noted some of the common annoying mistakes people make on first dates, and though this isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s also not a bad place to start when we check ourselves:
1. Not revealing enough…
Most people on a first date try to go for “suave”, “sophisticated”, “mysterious”. It doesn’t work. It just seems stand-off-ish and makes for awkward silences where you’re both desperately trying to find another topic to talk about.
Everyone flows easier when you talk about your FEARS, your DUMB moments, your CRAZY experiences, your WEIRD thoughts on Robert Pattinson in the new Batman movie (as long as they’re within reason…)
Although over-sharing is a very real thing, it’s more important to lean on the side of letting someone see who you are instead of hiding behind pleasantries and one-word answers.
It’s very tempting to brag when we’re trying to impress someone.
If you’re especially career-focused person, it’s easy to get locked on a wrestling match, but not the sexy kind. Rather, a wrestling match about who has the more important, awesome, difficult, high-status career, or who has travelled the most, or how many achievements you’ve ticked on your life bucket list…
In other words, we can sound like a conceited asshole.
It’s cool to love your job. It’s cool to be passionate. It’s not cool to make your conversation a one-sided diatribe of self-promotion as if you’re desperately trying to get a job on your LinkedIn profile.
Let your achievements come out naturally in conversation, and while we’re at it, make sure not to fall for the next terrible habit on the list…
3. Forgetting to be impressed by them
Look, you know and I know that not everyone is impressive. You have high standards, that’s fine. But if you like someone and they actually do impress you, show it!
“That sweater makes your shoulders like big”, “That’s such a cool job, it must be great to help people”, “You sound like you’re really thoughtful/dedicated/inspiring”…
We can show we’re impressed in so many ways, even tiny ones. But people don’t. Either because they want to look cool, or they’re too wrapped up in their own stuff to actually express their feelings.
4. Talking about how bad dating is
This one might be the most controversial. Especially given that people f**king hate dating these days.
Yet once we’re actually on a flesh-and-blood date? It’s time to leave our misgivings about Tinder/Bumble/Hinge at the door. Yes, we all have sucky dating stories. Yes, it’s dispiriting to endlessly swipe only to be ghosted after 2 conversations. But there’s no reason someone needs to hear why men or women or dating sucks in 2022 – it always comes off as bitter and cynical.
If we’re going to spend time in a someone’s company whom we might fancy romantically, it serves us to give ourselves the benefit of showing who we are when we believe the best about the world.
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