First dates are basically a necessary evil. You have to go on them if you want to find love or at least your next boyfriend, but you probably don't love them... or, let's be honest, even like them even a tiny bit. You tend to think that first date anxiety is pretty normal and you also probably think that being a total commitment-phobe is pretty much a guy thing. Since you want love and your single friends feel the same way, you can't imagine being scared to call someone your BF. That's all you want in the world right now. But sometimes you find yourself in a situation where the idea of a first date actually going somewhere can be pretty terrifying. It's confusing, and you never thought you would be in this place, but it does happen. But you should slow your roll and focus on the moment because first dates don't have to be a big deal at all. Here are 15 reasons to stop freaking out about first dates.
15 It's Not A Marriage Proposal
This may sound super obvious and kind of silly, but it really deserves to be said. A first date is very different from deciding to spend your entire life with someone. You're not even agreeing to a second date... or even to spend four or five hours with this person. At this point, they're still basically a perfect stranger, and you're not making any kind of major life decisions. You're still single at this point, and you're going to still be single even if you two hit it off and start dating because it takes a while before you make things official and can honestly say that, yeah, you're in a relationship. So it's probably best to chill out, calm down and stop thinking that the first date means anything, because it honestly doesn't. It can lead to something, yes, but it doesn't have to. There shouldn't be any pressure.
14 You Can Walk Away
You pretty much know by this point in your single and dating life that just because you find a guy super attractive, it doesn't mean you're meant to be together. It doesn't even mean that you're meant to go on a second date. You can have fun and like being with him and think he's pretty cool, but at the same time you realize that it would never work. That's totally and completely okay. Not every guy is going to be The One or even second date material. Give yourself permission to walk away if that's what your heart and gut are screaming at you to do. It's not a negative thing to remember on a first date that you aren't obligated to see this person again. It should actually make you happy because you're giving yourself permission to listen to yourself and only do what you feel comfortable with.
13 You Never Know
How many times have you talked to someone who's in a serious relationship and has been with their partner basically forever -- whether it's a family member or good friend -- and they say "you just never know?" A lot, right? People love to give this kind of advice to single people, but the truth is, it's amazing advice and it needs to be said. You literally have zero idea what could happen and that's basically the coolest part of this whole thing called life. You could go on a few dates with this guy and decide he's not for you, or you could be convinced the moment you start chatting that he's honestly the best. At this point, when it's still your very first date, you need to keep an open mind and just remember that you honestly never know what's going to happen to you next.
12 You Need To Get Over Yourself
Of course, you want a boyfriend, and you probably want to find love even more when you've been on your own for a while now. You can enjoy your life and still want that, and it's definitely not a crime. But every time you go on a first date, you freak out about the idea of leaving your single life behind. You love what you're doing every day, but honestly, you need to stop it right now. You can't skip this step. There's no such thing as an insta-boyfriend. Honestly, we wish that was possible, but it's just not. You pretty much should learn to love every awkward, weird and quirky moment of each first date. Forget about giving up your single life. Once you find the right guy, you won't be leaving anything behind because you'll be so into this person, you won't care, and you won't see it as such a negative thing.
11 You're Super Normal
It may seem like when your friends enter new relationships, they have zero fear and it's all rainbows and butterflies and total excitement. Nope. Not true. Not even close to being true. Everyone is scared of falling in love and being vulnerable with someone new, especially if they've been hurt before... and we all have. No one wants to get their heart broken or be ignored completely (thanks ghosting, you're the best!). It's honestly normal to be scared of going on first dates because they're pretty inherently scary. You're staring at a stranger, talking to them, trying to get to know them and you're not sure what they think about you or if they even want what you want. Things get awkward pretty fast and nothing makes us more afraid than awkwardness.
10 You Can Go On More Than One First Date
Okay, so technically that would be a second and third and fourth date. But sometimes you want to take it slow, especially if you're online dating. Think of the first date as a preview of the real date. A sneak peek, if you will. It's not the be all, end all, and you don't have to decide about this person right away. Sure, if you don't connect and you can tell he's not for you that's totally fine. But if you want to get to know him better and think it's worth it, then go ahead and see him a few more times. You can take a step back and invest in getting to know him before making any snap decisions. Think of the first three dates as pretty much three first dates. That takes the pressure off for sure and can honestly be a game-changer when you're trying to find an amazing partner in life.
9 You're Not Agreeing To Anything
Sure, you could marry this person. But you're probably not going to. No, that's not a crazy negative thing to say. Here's why: you go on a lot of first dates when you're single. That's just a fact. Stop thinking of a first date as the chance to meet your future husband because that's not the point. He's not even your future boyfriend, to be totally and completely honest. Just remember that you're not agreeing to anything. You're just there to chat, hang out, have fun, try to enjoy each other's company and see if you honestly get along. Whenever you start to spiral, remember that all you really want to do is hear about his career, what he does in his spare time, and maybe some funny stories from college or vacation. Period.
8 You Can Date More Than One Guy
If you're worried about giving up your solo status, why not date a bunch of guys at once? It may sound crazy and like you're doing something wrong. But remember that you're not doing anything wrong -- in fact, you're doing the best thing you could possibly do for yourself. You'll totally increase your chances of meeting someone you actually care about. Once you fall for someone new, you don't care about commitment anymore -- it's not scary anymore and you really do want to be with this guy. You'll be too psyched to keep spending time with this awesome guy. Sounds pretty good, right? Going on a few first dates with a few different people is honestly no big deal because you'll get the hang of first dates, you'll stop worrying, and you're not actually cheating or anything like that because you're not actually dating any of these people (yet).
7 Simplify Your Dates
Have a list of go-to bars or cafes that you want to frequent when you go on dates. Having an idea of the locations that you feel comfortable in and that aren't a million miles away from where you live is a really great idea. You'll save time when you're setting up dates since you won't have to rack your brain for location ideas, and you'll also make sure that you're going somewhere that you feel safe. If you can simplify your dates as much as possible, then you can think less about all the set-up chat and focus more on getting to know the other person... which is pretty much the number one goal of any first date. It can be hard to remember that, but that's really the point of this whole thing. It's amazing what can happen when you go back to basics and stop making everything so difficult.
6 Ask For Advice
If you're truly worried about your next date, use the best resources that you possibly could: your best friends! They'll be thrilled to give you some help and advice because you would do the same for them, right? Right. You definitely have at least one good friend who is pretty fearless when it comes to first dates. She seems to go on more than almost anyone that you know and even more, she never seems fazed. She can shrug them off when they don't go super well and she never takes herself or the dates too seriously. You want to be like her, so ask her for her tips and tricks. You'll feel much more comfortable and confident after your chat because it's always great to talk to someone about what you're so worried about. You always breathe a massive sigh of relief after.
5 Have A Game Plan
It's easy to say that you shouldn't freak out about first dates, but what about when you go on the date and you're honestly super uncomfortable and weirded out? That's when it really helps to have a game plan. Figure out ahead of time what you will do if you realize this person is a total creep and weirdo and you need to get as far away as possible. You can do the old trick of having a friend call you an hour or even half an hour into the date, and you can answer and pretend she's having a medical emergency or some kind of crisis and that you need to leave immediately to deal with that. If you're having fun, you can not answer the phone, and she'll know that means everything is peachy keen. Tell yourself you'll stay 30 minutes to one hour, max, if you're not feeling it. This plan will give you the confidence to go on first dates and not worry so much.
4 Try An Activity Date
Look, no one likes just chatting with a total stranger, especially when things get awkward as they always seem to on first dates. Why not set up an activity date instead? No, this doesn't mean the movies, because staring at a movie screen while sitting next to a total stranger is almost as bad. It's pretty much the worst first date idea ever, even though the whole dinner and a movie thing is a total classic at this point. You can walk around on the weekend at a street festival if your city has something food or fitness or culture-related, or you can grab coffee and walk around an interesting neighborhood or part of your city. As long as you keep it super safe and make sure you're not isolated, an activity date is a good way to stop feeling so worried about dates, since you're focusing on more than just the other person.
3 Lower Every Expectation
It's sometimes depressing to go into a date thinking that you're not going to have fun, you're not going to like this person, and you're not going to feel anything for them. But sometimes that can be a good idea if you have first date worries. Why? Because it helps you calm down about the whole deal. If you think this is your Prince Charming and expect him to call (or text) after, and he doesn't, then you're going to feel pretty bad about yourself and you don't need to feel that way, because you did nothing wrong and that's just the way it goes sometimes. But if you can lower expectations so much that you literally just think, "I'm going on a first date and who knows what will happen, it's out of my hands" then you will have an okay time. You basically want to get all Zen about the whole thing.
2 Go On Double Dates
Double dates are typically a thing when you're in a relationship and your friend is too. You don't tend to do that for first dates and especially not for online dates. But honestly, why not? You could set up a Tinder date pretty easily and suggest to the guy that he brings a friend and you bring a friend, too. It's really not such a weird idea because everyone has at least one single friend, everyone wants to meet someone, and everyone is having trouble meeting naturally and organically these days. So it would be a win-win because your friend would get a date out of the whole deal too, and you would feel less worried because she's by your side the entire time. Plus it's super easy for the two of you to leave if even one of you is not feeling it or is super uncomfortable.
1 Keep Going
The best advice? Honestly, is to keep going on first dates. Don't stop, because when you stop, that's when you really let the fear and worry and concern take over, and when that happens, absolutely nobody wins. Fear never helped anyone. Continue on your single girl journey and once you can come to terms with the simple fact that first dates are really no big deal and are just an hour of your day or week, then you'll reap the rewards of eventually meeting someone totally and completely awesome. That will never happen, though, if you stay at home and never try. No one ever got anywhere from not trying, and that's true of anything in life, from business to love. The only way out of your dilemma is to fill your calendar with first dates, meet new people and put your best foot forward.