By Natasha Ivanovic
However it all came to fruition––whether they asked you out, you asked them out, or you were set up––you’re about to go on your first date. Though it may feel a bit nerve-wracking, what’s important is that you’re taking the chance to meet someone new and possibly a potential partner. And if there’s one thing we all want, it’s for the first date to go as smoothly as possible.
If you’ve gone through our toolkit on ‘What Dating Can Teach You About Yourself,’ you’ve already invested some time in getting to know what you want out of a relationship through some hefty self-reflection. Now, you’re ready to take what you’ve learned and apply it to your dating life.
This toolkit is intended to help you mentally prepare yourself before the first date, and thoughtfully process it afterward. Whether this is your very first first date, or a first date with someone you’re interested in, we’re going to guide you through this initial interaction and all that it encompasses. After reading this toolkit, you’ll hopefully have a better understanding of what to focus on, while being mindful of your needs.
The 1-Hr. Countdown: What to Do Right Before the Date
One of the worst parts of the first date experience is the hour before the date. You might be anxious, and either rushing to get yourself together or sitting on the couch watching the clock tick. It’s the final countdown.
It’s human nature to place pressure on ourselves because we want the date to go well and for there to be a mutual chemistry. But expectations we place on ourselves can create anxiety before the date, and ideally you’ll find ways to circumvent those jitters through reflection, confidence, and a general sense of open-mindedness.
Below are some resources to remind you who the most important person is on this date: you. The links also point out some must-have items to bring along with you, as well as some science-backed first date questions.
Reading & Resources
The odds are that you’re going to spend the hour before your date running through a checklist in your head: Did I put deodorant on? Do I have gas in the car? It’s a first date, not a seven-day trip to Hawaii. Keep your checklist to a minimum with these five essential items.
We’re all trying to show the best version of ourselves on the first date, but we often forget one thing: we’re all human, and perfection is not real or attainable! Not every date is going to be picture-perfect, nor will your date be. We spoke with health and wellness influencer Jo Encarnacion about the importance of authenticity and human expression––key notions to keep in mind when going into a date.
During these times, dating comes with extra precautions. On its own, dating can be an awkward experience, but now there are masks, social distancing, and a contagious virus to worry about. Piece of cake, right? Hardly. But, this New York Times article astutely highlights the new rules of dating during a global pandemic so you can go into your date with certain guidelines to follow.
To help with the get-to-know-you process, here are thirteen questions you can ask to help you gauge whether there’s a connection, learn about your date’s history and personality, and develop a flowing conversation. There are some gems in here that you probably wouldn’t think of asking on a first date, but evoke very telling and (hopefully) genuine responses that help you in holistically understanding what the person is all about.
Dating During Quarantine
Navigating dating during a global pandemic certainly makes the process feel even more complicated. If you’re sheltering-in-place, you’re not going to be able to go on a traditional date. This can make things a little tricky. So, what do you do?
If you’re really ready to date, you don’t need to put your dating life on hold because of the pandemic. Instead, you just need to get creative and change the way you see dating. If you’ve been wondering how to approach a first date during quarantine, we rounded up some helpful resources you’ll need to go about dating with thoughtfulness and care during these times.
Reading & Resources
If dating wasn’t hard already, now we need to be mindful of the health risks when meeting new people. But if this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that you don’t need to initially meet in person to go on a successful date. This article is going to teach you how to date virtually during quarantine.
Whether there’s a global pandemic or not, self-care is essential. However, since we are in a health crisis, you need to take extra care of yourself by creating boundaries and being mindful of your own actions. In this BBXX Podcast, we talk to Rashawnda Williams as she explains practical self-care tips and gives some helpful advice on how to show up for yourself, first.
You’ve decided you’re going to try virtual dating during the pandemic, and honestly, it’s not a bad idea. But how do you actually have a virtual first date? This article will guide you through this new medium and provide you with some tips on how to have a decent (maybe even great) virtual first date.
Though sex during the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t recommended, we understand that sex is an important part of the equation and that as things progress, you’ll want to become physically intimate. If you’re going to have sex with someone you recently met, this article will present the risks to be aware of, as well as some tips on staying safe if you choose to get pysically intimate.
Perhaps you went on a first date, and it went well––so well that the person asked you out on a second date. While this is a great indicator that the person wants to get to know you more, how do you feel about the experience? As we’ve learned, dating isn’t just about the other person; it’s about you and your needs.
So, use the time after your first date to reflect on how you felt around that person (virtually or not) to see if you really want to continue seeing them or move on to the next. Below we provide you with some insights on the questions you should ask yourself, and how to make the next move.
Reading & Resources
First dates aren’t black and white; in fact, we’re often confronted with a lot of grey area unless there were major red flags that made it very clear that the two of you are incompatible. You’re just starting to get to know this person, but that doesn’t mean you’re obliged to a second date if you weren’t feeling it. After the first date, it’s important to ask yourself questions to gauge how you feel about the person and whether you should see them again.
What if your first date went really well? Now you want to see them again. But how do you follow-up and ask for a second date? In this article, you’ll learn how to show continued interest after the first date, and ways to naturally transition into a second.
Sometimes, when we’re not entirely sure about someone, we’ll push ourselves to keep seeing them even though we’re not settled on them. Though “fake it ‘til you make it” works for certain areas in life, it doesn’t bode well for relationships. In this BBXX Podcast episode, you’ll hear Vanessa Marin talk about the importance of staying true to ourselves and practicing authenticity.
Tying it all together
The dating world is a wild one. You’re getting to know new people, while simultaneously learning more about yourself in the process. While there’s no step-by-step formula to follow when it comes to finding a partner, this is also what makes dating so exciting. It’s unpredictable, and you really can’t control the outcome.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, what’s really most important is understanding who you are, what you want, and what your non-negotiables are. Once you establish this baseline, your dating experience will be more defined and focused.
While dating, try to practice self-awareness and reflect on each date through talking it out with a friend or even journaling. It’s easy to get excited about a date and caught up in the idea of a person, meanwhile ignoring your needs and potential characteristics in the other person that won’t work for you down the line.
We hope you found this toolkit helpful, and encourage you to use it while navigating through the dating world. Mindful dating isn’t easy, as it’s something we need to continuously work on; but as long as you understand your needs and remain authentic, you’ll have meaningful experiences.
Whether you’re testing out the dating world or going back into it after some time, we hope you were able to take something from this toolkit to support you in your journey. If you have any questions or thoughts that weren’t addressed here, we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org or on IG at @bbxx.world.