There are many reasons why someone might be new to the dating scene. They might only be just dipping the toe in the water for the first time, or maybe they’ve come out of a long term relationship, or perhaps they’ve been frozen in carbonite for a hundred years and are only just being thawed out.
Whatever the reason, dating can be scary for the uninitiated. Hell, it can be scary for those of us who are considered veterans of the dating world. The first time you agree to meet someone in real life is a big deal, and many people never take the leap to actually turning up for fear of it all going wrong.
So here are some bits of advice for anyone new to the dating scene.
First things first – take a breath! It’s so easy to start panicking and worrying about all the things that might go wrong. What if he doesn’t like you? What if she doesn’t even turn up? What if you run out of things to say? What if they want to go back to yours? What if, what if, what if?!?!?!
Take a moment, close your eyes and breathe. Dating is supposed to be fun. Meeting people is usually fun. One of my favourite dating blog’s very title spells it out – there are no bad dates, just good stories. In most cases, the worst thing that can happen will be you don’t get along and the night is a real let down. You know what? That gives you a good story to tell the next time someone asks you if you’ve had any really bad dates.
Clothes maketh the date
There’s little better than looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing someone looking back who is sharp and wearing clothes which are on point. Whilst it should ideally be what’s on the inside that counts, in reality the outside has a fair bit to do with it too.
That being said, Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you need to go out right now and buy something new for your first date. Not only does this get real expensive, real quick, but there’s a decent chance that you won’t end up feeling as comfortable in it as you think. You’ll have no idea how it sits on you if you slouch a little in an awkward trendy bar seat, or how comfortable it will feel after you’ve downed a bottle of wine and a mega-burger.
For the first date it’s probably better to wear something you already own and which you know with absolute certainty looks good on you and feels comfortable too. They will never have seen it before, after all, and it’s one less thing for you to have to worry about.
Take your time
Being fashionable late is never a good fashion to follow, and is even worse if you genuinely didn’t intend to be. The feeling when you’re walking too fast in order not to be too late, knowing that you’re starting to sweat as a result, is definitely one to avoid.
Take your time, but make sure you have that luxury by leaving early for once. If you end up arriving early yourself you can either grab a drink and wait, or you can take an extra walk around the block to kill some of that final nervous energy you might have. It will also give you extra time to think back over all of the brilliant and interesting things that you’ve done over the years that will wow your date. Just make sure that you always mean what you say!
They’re probably not the one
This isn’t meant to sound defeatist, and of course they might end up being the one, but there’s a decent chance they won’t be, especially if you’re new to the dating scene. It’s nothing more than statistically unlikely at best, so temper your hopes, dreams and expectations accordingly.
Instead, see this as more of a first meeting than a first date. It’s a chance for them to impress you and earn a shot at getting to know you better. This subtle change in wording, moving away from you impressing them to the other way around, is super important and takes all the pressure off you and puts it onto them. It also does wonders for your self-confidence too! And if you’re running a little low on self-confidence, there are a few things you can do to improve on it.
Oh my goodness, what’s happened?!
No-one likes to feel trapped on a date, so arrange for a friend to give you a call about 40 minutes into the date. That should be long enough for you to know whether or not you want to spend more time with them, but short enough that if you don’t then it’s not too painful.
It doesn’t even matter what your friend says. They can hang up for all the good they’ll then do – all this does is give you an easy out. If the date is going well then you can give them a code word to let them know, or if you’re feeling extra confident you can say loudly enough for your date to hear that they look hot, are really funny and you’re having a really good time.
If, however, things aren’t going so swimmingly then you can put on your best acting hat and pretend an emergency has come up at home. Perhaps one of the kids has had an accident and is off to A&E, or your cat swallowed a bee, or a deadline has been pushed back to the morning, or Tom Hardy has swung by yours with a bottle of wine. It really doesn’t matter what you come up with, all that matters is that you feel comfortable getting up and leaving.
There are loads of things you’ll learn as you get back into the swing of things, but if nothing else keep remembering that dating should be fun. The minute it stops being enjoyable is the minute you should delete the apps for a bit and reassess things. But until then, kick back and have the very best of times.
A Dating Dad will be going along to the Dating Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham on 29/30 June. The show promises to be the biggest and best dating show in the country ever, and is a must-attend for anyone serious about finding love or serious about having a great time. If you want to join him and 10,000 other people you can use his affiliate link to book your tickets, which will mean A Dating Dad gets a couple of quid to put towards maintaining this blog.