Ah, first dates. Some people look forward to them with excitement all day long, while others would rather wait in line at the DMV for the rest of their lives. But first dates are a fairly unavoidable part of dating, so if the idea of meeting a stranger for a date, making chit-chat, and figuring out if you two are compatible gives you election night-level anxiety, Elite Daily has some first date tips to help you out.
I spoke to dating coach Evan Marc Katz about first dates and, to be honest, he kind of blew my mind. There are the obvious things to do on a first date like smile, make eye contact, and ask questions, but the most important thing Katz says people should do on a first date is to let go of their agenda.
"If you go into the date with an agenda — I'm going to figure out what this guy's deal is, I'm going to figure out what's wrong with him, I'm not going to get hurt, I'm not going to waste my time like I did with the last guy — then they're not going to have any fun and they're not going to want to see you again." While there's nothing wrong with dating with the intent to find a relationship, Katz suggests staying present in the moment and letting the date unfold naturally.
"It's really, really common, but don't try to figure out if he's your husband on your first date," Katz says. "You're not there to ask him pointed questions to try to figure out if he wants kids, how he votes, whether he's financially stable, or whether he's looking for a serious relationship or not." Of course, you'll want to know these things if you get into a relationship later on with your date, but the first date isn't about that stuff. Katz explains, "It's like trying to read the last page of the book before you turn the first page."
Katz believes that most people on a first date want simple things — to be liked, appreciated, and to feel good. "Initially, someone will want to go on a date with you based on how they feel in your presence." There are simple ways to make someone feel appreciated and good about themselves. Katz says, "Look them in the eye, touch them on the hand, ask them questions. Metaphorically, if you go into a date with your arms crossed like, 'Show me what you got,' it will make the other person defensive."
A lot of stress and anxiety surrounding first dates simply comes from wondering whether or not the other person likes you, and likes you enough to go on a second date with you. Will they ask you out again, or will they ghost out, never to be heard from again? Katz has a smart fix for this, "The best thing you could do on a first date is not to spend half a second worrying if you're going to get a second date," he says. "Assume the answer is yes. Assume that the person sitting across from you likes you, is attracted to you, and wants to date you." Assuming all these things will help you relax, give you confidence, and let you be yourself.
After the date, Katz suggests asking yourself three questions, "Did you have enough fun, were you comfortable enough, and were you attracted enough to go on a second date? You don't have to figure out the whole future." Relieving yourself of the pressure of sorting out the rest of your life will help you determine if you did feel a connection with your date and if you want to feel it again.
So the next time you walk into a first date, consider setting your agenda to the side and focusing on your date, finding out who they are in a non-interrogative way, and making them feel appreciated. It's just a first date, it's not forever, but if you follow Katz' advice, it just might lead to something more.
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