Sometimes, first dates are the best—there’s a sense of promise, the belief that your life might change over wine and spaghetti (or, more accurately in 2017, a liquid meal at the dive bar around the corner from your date’s house, split in the dutch manner, of course). Other times, first dates are the worst, replete with awkward small talk, accidental land mines and a lot of dead air time. Ideally, the former outnumber the latter in your life, though that’s unlikely to be the case as a good first date should, technically, eliminate the need for additional first dates, right? To help you endeavor toward this enviable outcome and have fun in the process, we asked Alex Williamson el-Effendi, Head of Brand at Bumble, for some pointers. Here, her tips for surviving—and thriving—on a first date.
"I always tell people when they match on Bumble to see it as a digital first date. Ask the questions you'd expect to ask when you first meeting them in person. This will help you gauge whether or not you have things in common, and the likeliness of hitting it off in person. The in-person date can be viewed as a second date. I have a lot of friends who have Facetimed with people before meeting them in person. It keeps things lighthearted and creates some familiarity when you meet in person."
"Set your expectations. Don't put any pressure on yourself for the date to be perfect—or to meet the love of your life. Dating is fun because you're expanding your world and potentially your network. Maybe you meet the love of your life, maybe you meet your favorite new friend group through the date or maybe this person introduces you to the love of your life. There's no fault on anyone if the vibe isn't right for love."
"If something feels off, it probably is. Make no excuses for someone if you feel uncomfortable. You can remove yourself from an unpleasant situation. True romance begins with loving and respecting yourself."
"Opt to go on a date during the day in a public place. I always recommend going for a walk with your dog, meeting for coffee or doing an activity together, like going to a concert. It helps keep the date low pressure, so you can get to know each other in a casual environment. It also gives you a choice: You have the ability to leave if you aren't feeling sparks or you can transition into a meal or another location if the date is going well."
"Bring a deck of cards. I know this one sounds weird, but sitting across from a stranger completely reliant on a conversation being successful can create unnecessary stress. Having something else to focus on while you get to know each other helps create a more relaxed environment."
"As tempting as it may be, don't drink to qualm nerves. A drink or two is fine, but remember that almost everyone with a pulse has some sort of social anxiety before a new meeting. Stay in control so you can get to know the other person. When you can focus on them, you can actually make a decision on whether or not you enjoy their company."
"Life's short—don't be afraid to make the first move, regardless of your gender."