I have a friend, we’ll call her Michelle, who loves getting to know new people. When you talk to her, she’s so engaging that she makes you feel as if everything you said is the most interesting thing she’s ever heard. She’s confident, not cocky, and has the ridiculous ability to connect with people she just met. Not surprisingly, this girl has no problem in situations where she doesn’t know anyone. Her congeniality and charisma has gained her a great group of friends and helped her receive an offer for every job she’s ever interviewed for. But arguably more impressive, this girl has never had a bad first date.
Granted, it’s not like Michelle has a revolving door of men in and out of her life, but I would think even hitting 5-6 first dates and they’ve all been good is pretty damn impressive.
I have to admit, I held onto a little contempt for her since I’ve had my fair share of bad dates. But then I started thinking about some of the reasons she gave for why she thinks that they usually go so well, and admittedly, I realized there are a few things that I could be doing to make my dates better too.
One thing I learned I need to work on is giving people the benefit of the doubt. Everyone wants to put on their best impression during a first date. But there are plenty of things that could cause people to be off their game on a first date. Of course there are nerves, but sometimes, there are other things that might be making them uneasy. For example, my co-worker once told me that he had to leave a date early because he had horrible gas after eating a Fiber One bar. Apparently these things are no joke. There’s even a message board dedicated to the topic on My Fitness Pal, and the comments span over three years. The poor guy had no idea the bars caused such “unpleasant” side effects. He simply couldn’t stand it any longer, and had to cut the date short. His date left thinking he was a squirming weirdo and declined his invitation for a rain check.
When your date seems to be a little on edge (hopefully from nerves, not gas), Michelle says she’s tries to reassure them by saying something along the lines of “I was a little nervous but I’m having a great time!” or she compliments them on their restaurant choice or wardrobe.
And it’s not just Michelle that thinks it’s a smart idea. A blogger over at “Adam and Eve” said that, “Most ladies will try and make an anxious date feel more comfortable,” in a recently shared dating guide for guys blog post. I tend to be more passive and I suppose I usually just absent-mindedly hope that the guy will make me feel more comfortable. I guess I figured that because he asked me out, he was confident and didn’t need reassurance. Now I’ll be more conscious about being just as complimentary to the guy as he is to me.
She also said that if her date’s nerves seem to be getting the best of them, she tries to take the reigns a little throughout the night. To engage her date, she asks them questions about things that they’re passionate about. She’ll also suggest something fun to do that won’t interrupt the night, like stopping for ice cream or popping into an interesting shop that they pass. Not only does it help take the pressure off of the other person, but it also gives you a sense of responsibility for having a good time throughout the night.
Finally Michelle said she always tries to keep an open mind. There are plenty of guys that turned out to be amazing once she got some one-on-one time with them. Even now she’s dating one such guy, and is still great friends with another. Obviously a lot of men and women are guilty of not giving the other the time of day if they don’t feel that “spark” right away. It seems like a waste of time when you don’t feel anything from the get go. But like the “Huffington Post” says, if you’re still single, it’s obvious that your past type hasn’t been working for you.” You’ll never know if there’s something better out there for you unless you give someone new a shot.
Maybe I won’t have a spotless dating record like Michelle, but by changing my own behavior, hopefully I’ll set myself up for some better first dates in the future.