Whether single or in a relationship, dating can be a wonderful, exciting, intimidating, and sometimes bizarre event. The stress of just figuring out what to wear can send you over the edge. Then there are all the other details. Who is paying? Where do we go? Do we show affection? How do I flirt? Or more importantly, how do we just survive those crippling embarrassing moments.
Maybe you are like me and awkward moments never seem to end. If so, here are some fun tips to help your dates go a little smoother than mine:
Dating is like a dance.
- For the guys: Learn to take the lead. Initiate. Ask a girl out and make a plan. One of my worse first dates I ever had was getting into a car with a guy and him saying, 'So, what do you want to do?' We ended up driving around the city for 45 minutes never finding a place to eat. It was horrible. Although I like to share my input in the date, I really want the man to show some initiative early in the relationship. It shows me the guy cares and is interested in me enough to think through the date.
- For the girls: Learn to also receive. Accept his compliments. And acknowledge his efforts. Guys need our affirmation, too. So make sure you are appreciative of their time and care. Let them open the doors for you. And don't try to dominate. It is a beautiful gift when we allow men to pursue us.
'Dinner and a movie night' again!? The same boring dates can get pretty lame after a while. So get creative. Go to the zoo, the symphony, or play minature golf. One of my favorite dates was carving pumpkins for Halloween in my boyfriends mom's kitchen . . . Your date doesn't have to even be expensive: Go sleding in the winter. Play in the leaves in the park. Having some fun activities keeps the time moving and conversation flowing.
Good conversation is the key to a great date. There is nothing worse than when there is an awkward silence or when one person is controlling the conversation. And for the gentleman, (let me give you a hint): women like to talk about themselves. It's a known fact! So get to know her: ask about her interests, what she likes, and who she is. This makes us feel desired and cared for. Women, return with a similar interest in the guy. Great communication is the key to a successful date.
*** Top Secret Advice and Tips***
Before the date, spend some time thinking of some questions or ideas, conversations starters in case you get nervous. (Write bullet points out with a few ideas if that helps you) It may sound dorky, but it will ease your anxitey. Think of topics like what happened at school, sports, funny stories from your week, questions about music, your faith, favorite subjects, etc. (I used to prep like this before sales meetings when I had to converse with new people I didn't know. It really helped.) With a little mental prep time, you can walk into the date feeling confident you will have a few stories and questions to move conversation along.
Focus on the Friendship
The key to a happy dating relationship is focusing on the friendship. Guys: don't make jokes or focus on physical aspects with the girls (that's a big turn off). Girls: don't start imagining your children with them after the second date either (you will scare them away). The key is to trust in God and focus on the friendship as the center piece before the romantic.
Don't share too much. Don't talk about your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend or your weird uncle who is in jail on the first date. I have had that happen, too. Bad news. Just remember to take your time to unveil the beauty of the relationship slowly.
Turn off your cell phone!
There's nothing more unattractive then having a date text or pick up calls during a date. (Unless your grandmother is in the hospital or it's some emergency, it can wait!)
Be Yourself and Roll With the Punches
As we all know not everything goes perfect on a date, but if you are perfectly YOU that is all your date can ask for. Don't try to put on a front or something you 'think' you should be. Because the person with you is not trying to date an 'idea' or image of you . . . They are trying to date the true YOU.
- So Ladies: Don't be afraid to eat more than a salad at dinner if you are hungry . . .
- Men: don't be afraid to be show you actually like that chick-flick. It makes you that much more endearing.
Be patient with the dating process, and don't swear the small stuff. If something goes wrong, spinach gets stuck in your teeth, roll with it. Dating is all about the adventure. So jump in, ask Life Teen and me allot of questions, and enjoy what God has in store!