Let’s face it – we’ve all been there. Whether you’ve been the initiator or the recipient, no-one likes to sit through an awkward first date! Having said that, most dates do have an inevitable level of awkwardness – that’s not to say we can’t limit it though! Below is a set of handcrafted tips, exclusively picked by the experts at CLiKD, showcasing the all-important hacks we need to be reminded of – to embrace the comfort and ditch the awkward nerves.
Step 1: Pre-date Planning
Plan your outfit
So you’ve organised the first date with a time and a place, what now? Don’t panic! Use this time to prepare an appropriate outfit (the one you feel most comfortable and confident in) and make sure it is ironed and in good condition.
Remember – the more comfortable you feel in yourself – the more confident you will be upon arrival at the venue and the less nervous you will seem to your date.
Plan a set of potential topics to discuss
You don’t want to overwhelm your date with the intricacies of your life – well not on the first one (permitted there’s a second) anyway. A good way of eliminating those nerves is to avoid poor conversation, which can be done by a little preparation of a set of potential topics we either love talking about or don’t mind sharing. This could be anything from describing a crazy thing you’ve done last weekend, to summarising where you see yourself in the next 5 years to the latest viral video your friend may or may not have starred in 😉 .
Either way – keep it simple, DO NOT write a speech! Just make sure you can bring some level of creativity to the conversation, especially to avoid those excruciating awkward silences and nervy behaviour.
It can be incredibly unappealing when your date has just arrived and along with him/her, a stench has arrived too – cue the ‘emergency’ situation. Seriously though, personal hygiene can be a huge turn-off and substantially awkward for both parties.
What’s more, it says a lot more about you than what you think. Not only does it show that you couldn’t take the time to adequately prepare for the date, but it may also define your date’s perception of your personality. A lack of hygiene can indicate a lack of care and organisation, but also plain laziness and poor time management skills. Not a good start, no.
So make sure you take extra care in the shower before your time to shine and, if you can, use a fragrance to stand-out. Doing these things should put your nerves to rest, making you feel more confident, less nervous and subsequently more approachable.
Step 2: Timely Arrival
Sometimes a dilemma exists about whether to arrive early, right on time, or late. While being slightly early, right on time or slightly late are all acceptable to most people, being extremely early can signify unnecessary eagerness – especially if you tell your date. Whereas being extremely late can show your lack of eagerness and this can prove especially problematic when you arrive and your date isn’t there – awkward.
On the contrary, a perfect way to get rid of pre-date anxiety can be to arrive a little early and order a drink for yourself, even better – buy a drink for your date too! Not only will this spark a positive reaction, but it will also prevent any uneasy vibes there may be in the air – winner winner, chicken dinner!
Step 3: Be present but not too present
Switch off your phone
How many times have you sat in a café or restaurant and overhead an incredibly slow-moving, mind-numbing conversation from the couple next door? Yes – we’ve all eavesdropped – guilty! Another question: how many times have you looked over to see one person (on the same table) diverting all their attention to their smartphone? It’s common, we all do it to an extent. We hear a ‘ping’ and all of a sudden everyone peeks at their phone to scan for incoming notifications. In a world where distractions approach us from all angles, we cannot always help ourselves.
Our advice: help yourself at least during the first date (and save the social media browsing to the journey home).
It can be severely annoying for the other person when you are present, but not ‘actually’ present. When organising a date, you vow to spend a couple hours getting to know the other person with your undivided attention. You can’t have your cake and eat it too!
Maintain eye-contact, but not too much
Another way of eliminating awkwardness in the air is to maintain good eye contact without gazing for too long or in short increments. According to some research, focusing on the eyes and forehead implies a level of professionalism, while focusing too much on the bottom half of the face (notably the lips) can imply a physical attraction, suggesting a desire to be intimate.
A good rule of thumb is to maintain some level of eye contact during the first half of the date and, should you established some level of chemistry, you can start lowering your gaze to indicate your intentions.
Too much eye contact, in the beginning, can show keenness, too little and you are deemed disinterested. It’s a tricky one really – balance is key to thwart those awkward first dates and minimise those nerves!
There it is! The CLiKD guide to reducing awkwardness to a minimum during the first date! Be sure to check out some of our other articles for some more advice on first dates and all things dating!
By Mila Washington