The beating heart, the sweaty palms – we’ve all experienced that sense of excited anticipation bordering on sheer terror. No question, the first date is a critical point in any new relationship, but never more so when it has begun on-line and you haven’t yet met face to face!
Those Vital First Ten Seconds!
Regardless of how well you’ve been getting on in cyber space or on the telephone, in a sense you’re starting over now and it can all begin to feel a bit scary. You’re aware that everything’s likely to be rather different from the way it was before, you’re wondering how you’ll come across in real life, and there’s the worry that either one of you may fail to live up to the other’s expectations.
It’s well known that most people make up their mind within ten seconds of first seeing someone as to whether they could be a potential lover. With so much to prove, and so much hanging in the balance, it’s essential to make the best possible first impression.
The Importance of Positive Body Language
Our thoughts may turn instinctively to making ourselves look as attractive as possible and considering what best to wear. Statistics show that most people buy new clothes for a first date – add in the cost of a trip to the hair salon, and it’s possible to end up shelling out a lot of cash. Far more important though, in terms of what it says about who we are and how we feel about ourselves, is our body language.
However well we’re dressed, it may count for nothing if our slumped posture or nervous mannerisms reflect a lack of confidence or low personal esteem. Stand tall and proud, on the other hand, and act like you believe in yourself and, regardless of what you’re wearing, others will believe in you too.
Make it easier on yourself by avoiding arriving late at your agreed venue, which will only get you flustered and add to any sense of anxiety. Being there first, and relaxing as you await your date, puts you in a much stronger position. You have the chance to weigh them up coolly and calmly as they approach you, while focusing on projecting the most positive body language.
Getting Things on Your Side
The smart approach to handling a first date is to organize it in such a way that you have as many things as possible on your side. Of these, picking a good day when you – and the other person – are in the right mood is probably the most critical. The problem, though, is that it’s hard to know in advance how we’re going to feel on a particular day – let alone how someone else is likely to feel.
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Timing is everything, especially where love is concerned – get it right and it can make a big difference to the success of an important occasion. Choosing an appropriate place to meet is also a major consideration. It goes without saying that this should always be neutral territory, certainly not your home or theirs, and preferably somewhere fairly public.
On a first date, most people just meet for coffee or a drink rather than anything more formal. For a start, it cuts out the embarrassment of having to eat a full meal in front of someone you hardly know. Secondly, it allows you both to concentrate on what really matters – which is obviously getting to know each other.
Don’t Put Yourself in a Compromising Situation!
Keeping the first date brief and fairly casual also means it’s much easier to make a quick escape if necessary. However optimistic we are that it’s going to be fantastic, it pays to have an exit strategy in hand. For some, this consists of pre-arranging with a friend that they will call you at an agreed time. If all is going well, you can say you’ll phone them back later; if not you can announce an emergency has arisen and you need to leave at once.
The last thing you want on a first date is to land yourself in a compromising position which could be difficult to get out of. Ensuring you’re totally independent, by setting up your own transport, having enough money on you to take care of any emergencies, and paying your own half of the bill, puts you in control.
If you allow your date to pick up the tab, subconsciously you may feel indebted to them and may agree to see them again although you’d really rather not do. If a lot of money is involved, you may even feel obliged to sleep with them against your better judgement.
First Date Sex – How Much or How Little?
The question of how much – or how little – sex on the first date is a tricky one, especially when you’ve met on-line. Because many people feel they already know each other quite well by the time of the first date, starting a sexual relationship immediately can seem quite natural and easy. Others are concerned that having sex on the first date could devalue the relationship – and that it might just turn into a one-night stand.
Obviously, it tends to vary enormously. Depending on the strength of the attraction between them and what they’re personally looking for, some couples will take things all the way, some will just kiss and some will end the evening simply shaking hands. It’s many people’s hope that the first date will lead to the birth of a wonderful love affair. But the reality is that it doesn’t always turn out that way!
Knowing what to do and say at the end of a first date can be awkward, particularly so when one person is less keen than the other to meet up again – which is often the case. Whether or not you want to take things further though, politeness is the key to avoiding embarrassment or offence.
A good non-commital parting shot that offers both of you time for reflection is “it’s been nice meeting you, let’s talk in a few days”. This gives either one of you the option of contacting the other to suggest a second meeting – or of bringing things conclusively to an end.
If and when you meet for a second time, now you know who’s who and what’s what, it’s all a bit different of course. The excitement is still there – hopefully! – but maybe without quite the same edge. The fact is that nothing compares with the huge adrenaline high of the very first date. It’s hard to recapture its magic, so enjoy it while it lasts!
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