Congratulations. You are having a first date. You have made to the point of saying good-bye and now you don't know what to say or do. Assuming your intentions were to get acquainted rather than just hook up and have a one-night stand, you have now arrived at an awkward moment of navigating the graceful end to this first date.
The way you conclude the first date is worth considering and even pre-planning to lessen the propensity for getting nervous and tongue-tied. Regardless of the option you choose to wrap up the date, I suggest going to the restroom and taking some deep breaths first.
In the restroom, smile and check your teeth for food and take at least three deep in-and-out breaths to lighten any tension that might have built up. When you feel composed, decide on which exit strategy you are going to use and return to your date.
Here are some suggestions based on how you felt the date went and how much you would like to see the person again.
Scenario #1: The date did not go well. For whatever reason, you don't feel attracted or connected and have no interest in seeing the person again.
This feeling may or may not be equal, so this is the time to be polite and honest. No matter how awkward you feel, be truthful now!
Here is a possible dialog: "Thank you for meeting with me today/tonight. I don't feel a connection though. I wish you luck in your search. Good-bye." Optional: shake hands or hug, but then leave. Usually the message is clear but if for some reason the other person interjects with asking you for another date despite what you said, simply say, "Thank you but no thank you." If you do not want to date again, make that crystal clear even if you have to repeat yourself. Do not be vague or give false hope if there is none. Cut the tie and close the door!
Scenario #2: The date went fairly well and you are neutral or open to a second date. Again, this may or may not be an equal feeling.
Here is a possible dialog: "I enjoyed meeting you. I would be open to getting together again." Pause and wait for a response. If your statement is echoed, then suggest another activity or a time to reconnect to plan a second date. Be as specific as possible such as setting a day to get together or a time to connect by phone, text or email to select your next meeting.
If after your pause you receive a decline in your open invitation, be as gracious as you can and reply that you appreciate their honesty. And even though it might sting, be grateful that the person is not going to string you along. Simply say to yourself, "Next!"
Scenario #3: The date went really well, and you are excited to continue and plan the next event. Again, this may or may not be an equal feeling!
It is time to express but temper your enthusiasm. Too much overt expression of your excitement may scare off the other person! Certainly be clear that you would enjoy a second date, and verbally express that sentiment, but don't go over board and gush. Scream and hoot and holler in your car once alone or jump up and down at home, but curb your exuberance while in the presence of your date.
Assuming your direct verbal expression of the desiring to plan a second date was reciprocated, make plans and then cool your jets. Avoid excessive email, text or calling between the first and second date. It is fine to communicate the next day with a simple thank you and expression that you look forward to seeing the person again, but reframe from elaborating. You will have plenty of time if a relationship develops to become increasingly more demonstrative and prolific in your communication, but many a hopeful start is sabotaged by drowning the person with your excitement too soon.
It may take every ounce of your willpower and patience to go slow at first, but the payoff can be worth it. Think of the first 3 dates as dining at a fine restaurant. Begin with an appetizer or small plate on date one. You are tasting in small portions to see how you like it.
The second date is salad or soup. You are approaching the main course but not there yet! Again, go slow and consider the second date as a warm up.
The third date is often the turning point. You have been served the main course. By the end of this main dish or third date, you will usually have decided if you like the restaurant or the person you are with enough to know if you ever want to go back. If you move onto dessert or the 4th date, there is a good chance you loved the restaurant or you are very attracted to your date and you will return to the establishment and continue into a relationship.
If during the second or third date your feelings change from neutral and open to turned off and closed, be honest and kind. But do not mislead or just vanish. Be clear and polite so you do not waste your time or theirs. Sort your prospects quickly and clearly. Respect yourself and respect the other person with polite and clear words.
The more you practice honest and direct communication, the easier it will be for you. The momentary awkwardness and courage it takes to be forthright is worth it. No one likes playing games in dating. So set yourself up for your ultimate success by vowing to treat the other person the way you would wish to be treated. And remember to have fun along the way!
If you liked this article, it likely resonated with you. You may also like the article, 8 First Date Conversations Mistakes That Scare Him Off also written on YourTango.
Let's connect on Facebook or Twitter and I'll share more healthy dating and relationship tips with you. And learn more about me and the books I have written by visiting my website: www.LisaJShultz.com.
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