First dates don’t mean very much. There’s no need for all the pressure and anxiety.
You are meeting a total stranger (no matter how long you texted or spoke before you met, they are still a stranger). If the date isn’t fun and you never see them again, you lost about an hour or two of your time and nothing more.
You can’t know if the person is going to be right for you based on a first date. It takes a long time to know someone and to see if they’re for you. Even if it’s an amazing first date, it doesn’t mean anything about the future except that you’d like to go on a second date.
If you’re nervous and awkward or you say the wrong thing and someone doesn’t want to see you again, it’s no big deal as you didn’t know them anyway. Plus, that kind of judgment shows a lack of relational maturity. Who in relationships doesn’t say the wrong thing now and then? Who isn’t awkward at times? We all do and we all are, and it’s highly judgmental to eliminate someone on a first date because of this.
So, any way you spin it, first dates are the lowest stakes of any point in a (potential) relationship. That’s why it’s important to treat it as such.
Shift your mindset
Don't go into the date looking to see if this could be “the one.” Instead, adopt a mindset of seeing if you’d like a second date. You can’t know if things could become more at this point. All you can know is if you want a second date. Don’t get ahead of yourself.
Making a first date a long experience and sharing a lot of personal things about yourself can lead to feeling a false sense of closeness and compatibility. It’s easy to get ahead of yourself when you are vulnerable with someone and it feels nice. But remember, that doesn’t mean you’ll ever even see him again. He’s still a stranger.
Keeps it in perspective
Even if the date went well, there’s not that much to be excited about. Don’t go home and worry about this person. Don’t go tell everyone every detail. That makes the person bigger to you than they are. It also makes it easier for you to start imagining and getting attached to the future that may never happen. Stay present with where you are: after the first date, do you want a second? That’s it.
By Caitlin Cantor, via Psychology Today
Caitlin Cantor, LCSW, CST, CGT is a licensed psychotherapist, an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, a Certified Gestalt Therapist and relationship expert.