How To Make First Dates Less Awkward

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The large majority of my single friends HATE going on first dates, and for the life of me, I can't understand why.

You see, I freaking love first dates.

First dates were one of my favorite parts of being single. You go meet up with someone you're decently interested in for a few drinks, and it is not only expected, but encouraged for you to just ramble on about yourself.

WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE?

But according to my friends, they hate first dates because first dates are "awkward."

Now, I'm a pretty awkward person myself, so it's not that I don't understand their point. There's obviously going to be an inevitable element of awkwardness when it comes to going on a date with someone new for the first time.

I just think there are plenty of ways for you to make it less awkward and more enjoyable, so here are some of my best tips:

Quit it with the small talk.

Small talk is always boring, and honestly, I think it's pretty unnecessary.

If you don't want to talk about the weather or the neighborhood you live in, then DON'T talk about it.

Choose something you're actually passionate about and steer the conversation in that direction. There's nothing more attractive than listening to someone talk about something they're actually excited about.

If you're not going to quit it with the small talk, actually seem interested in the small talk you're having.

If you still choose to go down the small talk route, that's fine! But just make sure you're actually excited about the small-talk topic you have chosen.

Maybe you really love your neighborhood and want to tell him all about it. Maybe you were REALLY bothered by the rain today and want to vent. Maybe you really, genuinely want to hear about what he does for a living.

Yes, small talk can be boring, but a first date is also your first chance to learn all these basic things about someone. If you're actually excited about this new person, some basic conversation topics might be worth a shot.

But the trick to keeping small talk from being a mind-numbingly boring, awkward conversation from hell is actually investing your energy in it.

Be interested in what your date has to say, ask questions, and in return, only say things you're actually interested in talking about.

Don't pregame the date.

Pregaming a first date can seem like an easy fix. You feel awkward and nervous, so why not take a couple of shots of liquid courage before you go, right?

Well, that's a terrible idea.

First of all, you're telling yourself you need a couple shots to endure this normal human interaction, which is simply not true.

Second, odds are, you'll be getting some sort of drink during your date. And for every drink you have with him, you'll be in a few drinks even deeper because you pregamed it.

This means you risk actually getting drunk at what was supposed to be a casual setup, and trust me, that's about a million times more awkward than just showing up sober.

Finally, even if you don't drink on your date, and it does kill your nerves, and you do kill it on your date, you're always going to know that your date liked "you with a couple drinks," not just you. And that's a pretty awkward mixup in and of itself.

Call your best friend, your mom or someone else who thinks you're dope to pump you up on your way there.

Swap the liquid courage for some courage from your nearest and dearest.

We all have our own personal number one fans. Maybe it's your mom. Maybe it's your dad. Maybe it's your great aunt Sue. Maybe it's your best friend since college. Maybe it's that guy who sits across from you at work. Whoever it is, give them a call on your walk/drive to your date.

Talking out your nerves with them will make you feel more calm and ready to power through any awkward moments.

They'll also provide you with the little ego boost you need to go into the date feeling confident and more like yourself. And a sense of confidence can absolutely overpower feelings of awkwardness on a first date.

Go easy on the texting leading up to it.

Even if you and this guy have been texting nonstop since the moment you met and/or matched, maybe try cooling it with the texting the day of your actual date.

Why, you ask?

Well, this way, you're saving some topics of conversation for the first date. The date can get a little awkward if you've already talked about everything there is to talk about throughout the day via iMessage.

So save some funny stories and interesting thoughts for the actual date.

If you get drunk, make sure you're getting drunk together.

Even though pregaming the date alone is a bad idea, I'm not saying getting a little drunk on the date is out of the question.

Getting a little drunk on a date can be a pretty fun thing, so long as you're BOTH getting drunk (reasonably speaking, of course).

It can become an infinitely awkward situation when you're the only sloppy mess, and your date has to take care of you or vice versa.

Put your phone away.

This one should be obvious, but DO NOT take your phone out during dinner or drinks with anyone, especially on a first date.

This is obviously because it's extremely rude. The time you and another person spend on a date should be devoted to getting to know each other. The least you could do for the other person is provide your undivided attention.

Now, you may want to take out your phone to show them something you were just talking about. BUT TRY NOT TO DO THAT EITHER because this could lead to a million other awkward situations of a completely different nature.

For example, it's just a first date, so odds are, you might have other guys in your life who message you. There's also a very good chance one of your friends may text you to ask how things are going. And there's an even better chance of you clicking on Safari and accidentally opening up the last page you were on... which was his mom's LinkedIn profile.

You get what I'm saying. Just keep your phone in your bag.

Stop taking it so seriously.

If I had to pick just one piece of advice from this list to give you, it would be this one.

The main reason so many of our first dates are so nerve-wracking and awkward is because we take them SO seriously.

In reality, a first date doesn't mean all that much. Sure, it could lead to something great. But you won't know that based off one interaction. And if it goes horribly wrong, you literally never have to see this person again.

So just chill out, give this other person a fair shot, and have a good time.