Your First Date: Getting into the Groove

It’s important to take time to plan a first date in advance but this advice often gets overlooked due to the rush of emotions. Part of this planning can include putting yourself in the shoes of your date and understanding their mindset. Empathy is an effective way to get off to a great start.

It’s important to take time to plan a first date in advance but this advice often gets overlooked due to the rush of emotions. Part of this planning can include putting yourself in the shoes of your date and understanding their mindset. Empathy is an effective way to get off to a great start.

Here are the most important things to understand about first date empathy:

  • Making plans: it’s important to carefully consider where to meet on the first date. Sometimes, a venue is easily decided by mutual agreement. However, on occasion a woman may expect the man to play host and let him choose where to go on the date. In this way, a man may design an experience for that evening and politely guide his match through it. It’s also possible that a woman may take control of the evening, especially if the couple is dating in her hometown. Try to understand the first date dynamics at the earliest opportunity.
  • Sharing decisions: you should be conscious of your partner’s wishes when making decisions during the evening (i.e. where to sit and what food and drink to order). It’s important not to sound too much like a bully by refusing to let your date choose. On the other hand, you shouldn’t make every decision sound over complicated. Never let the minor decisions cloud the process of deciding what you think about each other. Be conscious of your partner but don’t be over-polite at the risk of sounding indecisive.
  • Staying relaxed: your biggest concern about the first date is that things don’t get too awkward. It’s possible that one or both of you will be nervous. There can be a number of reasons that the date may get awkward – worries that your online profile won’t live up to the real thing, that the conversation will get boring, or that the attraction won’t be mutual. Try to relax and have a few topics to fall back on to focus on the fun.
  • Timing: it’s likely that neither of you will know how long the date will last. It’s best to plan for multiple scenarios. If there’s no mutual attraction, then things will likely end fairly soon. If there is attraction then you might need to follow Plan B or Plan C. It’s likely that your date has planned for several different outcomes so you should be prepared.
  • Distractions: whatever you do, don’t let distractions (especially your cellphone) take control of the evening. Keep your phone in your jacket. There may be an urge to check in with friends and let them know the progress, but it will come across as very rude. You should focus your full attention on your match and not let anything get in the way of your evening.
  • Fun: one thing matters more than the rest. You’ll both want to have fun. That’s the single most important thing about a date. More important than anything you learn about each other. More important than anything you say, feel, or do. If you both have fun, it’s the best predictor of a next date. Anytime you feel things moving too much toward serious questions or conversation, gently steer it back to fun.
  • Behavior: you’ll both be looking for clues in each other’s behavior whether conscious or subconscious. A woman will want to observe gentlemanly behavior. That means the man holding open doors, carrying the drinks, speaking to the restaurant hostess, and making sure the woman gets home safe. The man will be looking for proof that a woman is good fun, romantic, on the same wavelength, and shares common values. He will be watching for telltale signs of attraction. If there’s mutual attraction then flirting is a must. It’s important for both of you to show relaxed confidence.
  • Intimacy: physical intimacy is an art. It’s important not to be too physically assertive or over-eager. Such behavior can be both unsettling and disappointing. But it’s also important to get the balance right – don’t be too shy or reserved about showing your interest and admiration for your date. Don’t leave them feeling disappointed, unattractive or just confused.
  • Sealed with a kiss: If the attraction is mutual then it’s essential to share a kiss at some point. If you read the signals right then don’t miss the chance to take action. Most couples will want to kiss if a first date goes well. So keep this in mind. Remember that if the date is going well, you’re letting each other down if you don’t kiss!

 

Once you understand the mindset of your partner before a first date then you’ll be well prepared for anything that might happen.

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