I’m not exactly what you’d call a “people person.” I don’t like hugs, group outings, work parties, or bonfires. But of all the social activities that I’ve been forced to partake in during my lifetime, undeniably first dates are one of the worst. They are awkward, uncomfortable, and inevitably traumatizing; no way around it. So, I’ve begun to compile a sort of to do list –– using my, albeit very limited, experience in this area –– to try and help out my fellow antisocialites. Here we go!
Step One: Don’t Freak Out
People go on dates all the time. For once in your life, don’t be pessimistic. Stop thinking about everything that could go wrong, and concentrate on the things that could go right. If you don’t try, you might end up bonding over a favorite movie or your mutual hatred of Tom Cruise. Worst case scenario: He’s a psychopath, so make sure you bring pepper spray.
Step Two: Be a Stalker
Facebook stalker that is; if you are expected to sit and converse with this person, you best know what you are getting yourself into. Anyone who says that they don’t do this is lying, so just own up to it and learn all you can beforehand.
Step Three: Be Realistic
If you’re like me, then most of what you know about dates comes from one of the many romantic comedies you have watched –– alone… in your room… while eating a gallon of ice cream drowning in chocolate. REALITY CHECK: Those movies are not real life. You are not Sandra Bullock, and he is not Hugh Grant. Chances are he (or she) is not your “ideal,” and most definitely there are going to be awkward pauses. And although you may want to run away screaming, you will be a good person and not climb out the bathroom window before the check comes.
Step Four: Don’t be Afraid to Say No
The above being stated, don’t lower your expectations for the sake of not being alone. If things are not looking promising by the end of the first date, don’t be afraid to end it. Sad as it is, dating is not usually an even two-way street; sticking around if you’re not in it at the beginning will only end up hurting you both later.
Step Five: Be Yourself
Cheesy as it sounds, if a future with this person is something you are even remotely considering, then they are going to have to like all of you. Now, I’m not saying show up with a manila envelope containing your medical history and a lifetime of embarrassing photos (that comes later), just don’t pretend to be Batman if you are actually Robin.
Step Six: Plan Outfits Ahead of Time.
I found myself doing that stupid outfit montage thing 15 minutes before I was supposed to be out the door; trust me, in real life it’s not adorable, and there is no background music to keep you going, so just pick something you like and wear it.
Step Seven: Dress Comfortably
I don’t care what anyone says, the last thing you need to be worrying about is the fact that your little black dress has been riding up for the entirety of dinner, or whatever miserable getting-to-know-you activity you plan on doing.
Step Eight: Have Fun
Dating is scary, life is scary, and people are always going to let you down. But you can’t just sit holed up in your bedroom marathon-ing Supernatural forever. So, get out there and try to enjoy the ride. Don’t think about the fact that you would literally love to be anywhere but sitting across from the idiot on the other side of the table because, you never know, that idiot could be your soul mate.