First dates always elicit a bit anxiety, excitement and anticipation but I have noticed that my approach to the scenario is different at 30 than it was in my early 20’s. Back then, I was ultimately looking for a boyfriend, someone to bring to the upcoming social function or to fill up my weekends with. Still looking for a relationship, I now recognize that my next boyfriend could be my weekend partner for life. The stakes are higher and so my attitude and behavior towards the first date has also changed. Here are three first date rules for dating in your 30’s:
• Stay Sober – Yes, the first date is supposed to be a fun night out but it is also the first and sometimes only chance to make a good impression. And while you may garner yourself hilarious dancing on the bar in a state of euphoric intoxication, your date most likely will not be impressed. Online daters often find themselves on first dates with complete strangers so stay safe while keeping your guard up and your alcohol consumption down.
• Pay Attention – Sure, Mr. Charming is fun, witty and complimentary but before you consider him a front runner for your affection, make sure you listen for red flags. I made this colossal mistake with Mr. Activity Dater (detailed further in my blog) whom I deemed a fun loving, charismatic “gentleman” after our ice cream and mini golf dates. He said all the right things to me, however frequently referred to his exes as psychos or other derogatory names. I should have known that a major character flaw was grinning back at me on our very first date. Instead, I ignored the signs and was ultimately treated in the same most un-gentleman like manner.
• Bow Out Gracefully – Many times we leave first dates knowing that a second will never happen. Years ago, admittedly, I may have feigned interest in the moment and then ignored Mr. Unsuspecting follow up call or signs of interest. Now, as an adult, I answer honestly the “would you like to go out again?” question at the conclusion of the date and have found a response of sheer appreciation and sometimes even friendship. After all, we are all looking for the same things – love, affection and respect along the way.