Article written in collaboration with Kindling Dating.
1. Manage your expectations with the “Pre-Date” strategy
The problem with first dates is that we often build them up too high in our minds. We set the expectations too high, we allow our imaginations to run wild (let’s face it, who doesn’t have an active imagination when it comes to romance?), we make it into such a big deal that we create nerves in ourselves.
By building up a fantasy around the person and the date before meeting them you are creating a pedestal for your hopes to fall from. Paul Brunson of Married at First Sight fame talks about how when we build up the expectations of the first date too high then one little thing can chip at that fantasy. And if we have built the expectations so high then the disappointment feels more crushing.
When it comes to planning your first date with someone, Eimear Draper known as The Straight-Talking Dating Coach at Kindling Dating recommends using the “Pre-Date” Strategy.
The Pre-Date strategy means that you don’t even think of the first date as being a date! It’s a Pre-Date, where you meet someone ideally just for an hour and the only question you are answering is if you want to meet them again. No running away thinking if they would make a good life partner, or are they “the one”, you simply allow yourself to enjoy their company for that hour thinking do I want to spend a couple more hours with them?
2. Don’t let not wanting to waste time kill the spark
Often people when talking about dating will say they don’t want to waste time. They don’t want to waste time going on a date with someone that they may not be romantically attracted to. However, the reality is on an app or website which is very one dimensional it is hard to assess attraction and you probably can’t feel a spark. We try to work out if there is a spark by exchanging messages before arranging a date, which isn’t really possible.
Think about how many times has a friend said something in a text message that you have completely misunderstood?
You need to meet to assess attraction. So rather than trying to save time, just go on the Pre-Date, and look to learn something.
As I often say to my clients, “well what were you going to do with that one hour of your time?” Usually they answer, be home alone!
Think of dates as broadening your horizons. Even if you don’t click with the person, it’s likely that you will learn more about a different profession, background, culture. You may get a new movie or book recommendations or try a new bar or restaurant. These are all valuable outcomes for an hour or so of your time.
3. See them for the first time
We are all prone to judgement, particularly when dating. Our brains seek to make short cuts, taking in information and then jumping ahead to conclusions. Often without even knowing it we can apply our past experiences onto people that we have just met. Have you ever caught yourself thinking oh they are just like this other person based on one comment they made?
A way to stop this is to say to yourself ahead of the date “I want to see this person for the first time”.
Yes, you will encounter not great people, players, ghosters; but we can’t go on a date looking for someone to be these things. We have to give them a chance to show their true selves.
What I have seen in my work as a Dating Coach is that 99% of people are the same as you, looking for genuine connections.
4. Watch out for “Confirmation Bias”
You’ll have heard it before, what you believe to be true will come true. But maybe you thought that’s just something that people say. It is a thing, there is research to back it up and it is a behavioural bias called confirmation bias… basically, it means that you will find things to prove yourself right.
If you believe that online dating doesn’t work for you, it won’t.
If you think that there is no one out there for you, you will be too blinkered to see the people that come your way.
If you think the date will be a disaster, it probably will!
Turn this to your advantage and cultivate an unshakable belief that you are meant to be with someone and that you will find that someone. Spend time when you are getting ready for the date thinking positively that you are going to have a nice time learning about someone new.
5. Think outside the box
A first date doesn’t necessarily have to be in a bar. In fact, many people now choose not to drink on dates.
Meeting someone for a coffee can be a more relaxed date setting.
Walking dates are a great way to create connection, studies show that we find it easier to talk when walking! We are more relaxed when walking, less inclined to be distracted by things like our phones, and we can find something to see that sparks conversation that may lead us down a lovely tangent.
It’s all about doing what makes you feel comfortable and able to show up as yourself.
If going to a bar makes you feel nervous then don’t. If the person that you are meeting finds that odd then likely that they are not the person for you, so don’t be afraid to steer the date to something that will enable you to be your true self.
6. How to style your hair for a first date
A 5-min hair bun for a casual coffee/walk date
A hair bun is an excellent and effortless way to transform your look before a relaxed date:
Time Efficiency: Creating a hair bun is a quick process that can be accomplished in just a few minutes, in the office or on the go.
Elegance and Timelessness: A well-executed bun exudes elegance and timelessness. It's a classic hairstyle that transcends trends, ensuring that you look effortlessly stylish without appearing too trendy or dated.
Comfort: Unlike some other hairstyles that may require constant adjustments, a secured bun provides comfort throughout the date. This allows you to focus on the moment rather than being preoccupied with your hair.
Suitable for All Hair Types: Regardless of hair type, texture, or length, a bun can be achieved by virtually anyone.
A 30-min wavy blowdry for a date night
Date night can be a great way to have fun and enjoy a romantic night. It can also be a great time to experiment with fun new styles! Getting over done is a definite no, but not doing anything at all may convey the message that you don’t care. If you feel like spending a little time on your hair to boost your self-confidence and impress your date, a good option is a wavy blowdry.
A wavy blowdry adds volume, texture, and a touch of effortless elegance to your hair. Visit your favourite hairdresser for a flawless look and a relaxing experience, which can help settle down your nerves before your date. Alternatively, why not be a bit more adventurous and try a DYI wavy blowdry? You can achieve a stylish result with the right tools and a bit of practice.