The simple pleasure of getting to know another human being can sometimes buckle under the weight of unrealistic expectations or the baggage of previous relationships.
How do you know that you are ready to date? Even consider becoming a couple?
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Ask yourself these questions before you jump right in with your eyes wide shut:
- Do you know what you can’t live without and are you willing to consider less?
- Are you clear about what you need from a relationship?
- Do you have boundaries and know how to enforce them?
- Do you have a vision for what you want in life and what type of relationship will meet your needs?
Understanding what you value, what you need in a relationship and knowing when to disengage from toxic people will help you assess your readiness.
If you are not sure you are ready, maybe you need to dig deeper. Even get help if you need it.
Or, if you believe you are good to go, here are some ideas and insights to help your explorations…
A shared sense of humor is important. Try to get a laugh. That way you know you are on to something. If he doesn't get your jokes, what else is he going to "get" about you?
Give your dates a chance. Take time to listen and look for their special qualities. One mistake people make on first dates is to judge the other person too quickly and harshly.
Be yourself. Yeah, sounds easier than it is. But people sometimes try too hard to impress. If they just relax a little more and exaggerate a little less, they will not have to worry about any small embellishments backfiring later.
The worst thing people do on first dates is outright lie. There is a human tendency to improve our image so others will find us more interesting. Just don’t do it. You will live to regret it.
What if you do decide to take a chance on a “mystery” date and step into the unknown?
Be prepared. Take your cell phone. A discreet call to a friend can help you engineer an early end to the date.
Go to a place with plenty of other people around. Keep the conversation general: sports, activities, music, books, movies…
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Remember that the first date is supposed to be fun. You are getting to know this person and he is getting to know you. It should not feel like a meeting with your boss. And don’t spill your life story on the first date!
Look for something creative to do and make sure it allows you to interact. It will help if the activity relates to a shared interest. Doing something you enjoy takes the pressure off.