Navigating the waters of dating can seem like an exciting adventure to a new land or a perilous journey through the storm. Often, it depends on your perspective and your preparedness.
We all know how crucial first impressions are. Whether we want to or not, we tend to mentally place people into “categories.” This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it’s one way that our brains have learned to make sense of the world and to move forward in the midst of endless information. This is especially true in the world of dating: our senses and judgments are “dialed up to 11” since choosing a mate is such an important decision.
So we want to do our best to leave a first impression that:
- Reflects the real us, and
- Shows our best (true) qualities
Here are a few tips that will “change the game” on any date:
1. Check your state.
When are you smartest and most charming? Typically when you are out having fun with your friends. When do you tend to fumble the most? Typically in the middle of interviews or important exams. Why is that? Well, there’s plenty of brain science behind it, but essentially, when you are feeling stressed, all of the “higher thinking” parts of your brain shut down. We tend to be at our “best” when we are totally relaxed.
Here are a few practices that will help you transition into that more peaceful state:
- Intentional, deep breaths: 99% of people underestimate the potential of five consciously deep breaths. Slow and steady: in through the nose, out through the mouth, 5-10 times. You will notice a difference in your emotional state. Try it out in your car before you meet your date.
- Consider journaling prior to the date: Writing down your thoughts can be a wonderful way to clear the mind of all the miscellaneous details of work and life. By transferring the thoughts from your head onto the paper, you open up space to be present in the moment (and that’s when you shine).
- Be your own friend: This one may feel the silliest, but it’s okay to give yourself a pep talk. Remind yourself of your amazing qualities, and that there are many fish in the sea. Your entire life is NOT riding on the success of this date. Life goes on. You’re just here to meet someone new and have a good time.
2. Ask questions more than you talk about yourself.
Interesting people are interested. When you are genuinely interested in getting to know someone else, it makes the person adore you. We all love to talk about ourselves, and if you give someone the permission and room to do that, you will create a meaningful connection. Here are some great questions to ask:
- (After you ask what the person does for a living – if you don’t already know) What do you enjoy about what you do? (And when they answer, you can say … Tell me more about that.)
- Favorite place in the entire world?
- Who has been the biggest influence on your life?
- Got any pet peeves?
- Favorite way to spend a Saturday?
- What were you like as a kid?
- Do you have any favorite books?
- Have you figured out your calling in life? What do you think that might be?
- What do you hate most about the dating process? (Tell me so I can avoid it!)
3. Be mindful of the booze.
Don’t drink too much. You want to get to know each other sober since that is (hopefully) how you spend most of your time. Plus, there tends to be a ratio between ounces of alcohol consumed and poor decisions made. That “best” self we talked about … it’s not exactly present when you’re intoxicated. So let the real you shine, and don’t over-do the wine. 😉
4. Put the phone down.
Remember what we said about being interested? One way to loudly show your lack of interest is to constantly check your phone. Get it out of the way, and pay attention to the human being in front of you.
5. Make sure your breath is “on point.”
Nothing kills the mood quite like bad breath. Long story short, get yourself an alcohol-free mouthwash, and keep your breath fresh all evening long. Your date will appreciate it, and your first impression will be much better.
How About You?
Do you have any dating tips that have helped you on the quest for romance? Anything you wish you would have known sooner? Comment below!