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- Going on a first date with someone new can be a nerve-racking experience, but there are ways to make the most of the often awkward meeting.
- You shouldn’t stress out about the date or put too much emotional weight on how your date perceives you.
- Being honest about your relationship deal breakers and how the date went for you will also help.
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If you’re in the market for a committed relationship, chances are you have at least a handful of first dates in your future.
But first-time interactions can be nerve-racking, especially when you know the person you’re meeting is judging your fitness to be their partner. And if your first date is someone you met on a dating app and have no ties to, those feelings of awkwardness could be heightened: One study found that college-age students expected their first dates to be more casual and intimate when they knew their date as an acquaintance or friend first.
Still, it’s possible to make the most of a first date, even if you go into it as strangers.
Kelly Scott, a therapist at Tribeca Therapy, told Business Insider that she has integrated online-dating advice into some of her single patients’ sessions to help them find quality first dates and understand why past experiences may have fallen flat. Here, Scott offers three steps she thinks all daters should complete when going on a first date.
Online dating Be upfront about your deal breakers
Before you meet up with your date, or even before you match with someone on a dating app, it’s important you’re honest with yourself about the things you need in a long-term partner, Scott said.
Whether you absolutely would never date a smoker, or you need to be with someone who also wants to start a family, knowing your deal breakers before you pursue a relationship will make the experience that much more fulfilling because you know you’re not wasting your time (or your prospective date’s time) with a dead-end experience.
Though you won’t necessarily bring up these deal breakers on your first date — Scott said they should come up naturally within your first few dates — knowing them ahead of your first meeting will help you keep your priorities straight and notice any red flags that suggest this person isn’t right for you.
Scott said it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind feeling of an exciting first date, but people should “treat every interaction as collecting data” when they’re initially learning about a love interest. “People misinterpret and ignore things to their detriment,” she added, and may end up dating someone who turned out to be different from the person they thought they were.