“I wondered what happened when you offered yourself to someone, and they opened you, only to discover you were not the gift they expected, and they had to smile and nod and say thank you all the same.” –  Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper

Dating is defined by the Urban Dictionary as ‘where two people who are attracted to each other spend time together to see if they also can stand to be around each other most of the time.” The expected outcome of dating is either a long-term relationship between the two parties or a realization by one or more of the two parties that they are not destined to spend the rest of their lives together.

Tips to help you avoid an awkward first date

Unfortunately, all relationships have a starting point: the first date. Furthermore, the first date has the reputation of being an awkward, uncomfortable experience. The fact is that a first date can be uncomfortable and embarrassing at some point during the date.

Essentially, you are meeting another person who you do not know very well unless it is a blind date, and then you would have never met the other person before. Succinctly stated, the scenario is fraught with the possibility of all sorts of embarrassments occurring between the two parties.

Thus, here are several tips to help minimize the awkwardness of the first date:

Plan conversation starters

It is worth planning a few conversation starters to keep the conversation going, especially when it threatens to dry up. There are some good examples from E-counseling.com that you can use should you run out of ideas.

The other thing to note is that people generally like talking about themselves. Therefore, once you get your date started on a topic (s)he is passionate about, you can sit back and relax for a while.

Be a good listener

Ron Breazeale Ph.D. of Psychology Today, notes that “communication is the foundation upon which we build our lives.” We understand each other by listening to what the other person is saying. A good listener will always make his/her date feel validated. It will go a long way towards making the first date memorable and opening the doors for the relationship to develop.

Be on time

There is nothing that adds to the awkwardness of a first date you arrive late at your meeting place. Ergo, there is nothing worse than trying to explain why you are late, especially if your only reason is that you weren’t cognizant of the time. The underlying tone that is set is one of disrespect. Essentially, you do not place a high enough value on meeting your date, so there is very little reason for a second date.

Be graceful and courageous

There will be awkward and embarrassing moments during the date. Therefore, it’s essential to handle these moments with courage and grace. It will go a long way towards helping your partner relax and look forward to spending time with you. If you embarrass your date, albeit unintentionally, it will put an end to the possibility of any future meetings.

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