PREPARING FOR A FIRST DATE
Establishing human connection and finding special someone to spend time with is something that many of us desire. It’s natural for us to seek happiness and want to experience this happiness with someone else. Although everyone has their own unique path to finding a romantic relationship, if you’re reading this post, you’ve likely already entered the dating world and are now preparing for a first date. To support you on your dating journey, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you prepare for a first date. As you read these tips, you might also want to consider implementing these strategies with the support of someone in your social circle such as your parent(s), caregivers, friends, or supports.
Tip ONE: “Get familiar”
Going on a date can fill anyone’s stomach with butterflies, but there can be a way to reduce them. Getting familiar simply to make what is unknown known to us. In this case, the ‘unknown’ is the date and the different elements that make up the dating experience. A simple way to “get familiar” is by visiting the location of where your date will happen before the actual date. For example, if you know your date is at the movie theaters, then exploring the entrance, location of the ticket booth and concession stand can be great ways to learn about the environment and help prepare yourself for the date. Alternatively, if your date is at a restaurant, you may find it helpful to take a look at the menu online ahead of time and consider what you might like to order. Becoming more familiar with aspects of a date, such as physical space, menu or expectations, help calm some nervous butterflies by making you feel more comfortable, prepared, and confident.
Tip TWO: Make a plan
Now that your date is scheduled, it may be very beneficial to have a more detailed plan of the date. You can ask yourself the basic WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, and HOW questions to make sure your plan covers everything in advance. These are some considerations you may want to think about:
Who are you meeting?
When are you meeting?
Where are you meeting?
How will you get there? How will you get home?
How will you contact your date?
What are you going to do after the date?
Who will pay for the date?
It is helpful to start making this plan ahead of the date to ensure you are familiar with all the details. It also allows you to ask for help or make any necessary arrangements (for example, asking for a ride from a family member).
Tip THREE: Practice social skills
Just like any other skills we learn, developing social skills also take practice. As you prepare for your first date, consider practicing your social skills with people around you. You can discuss some common scenarios, brainstorm conversation topics, and practice listening as well as sharing in conversations. You can discuss and think how you might handle rejection if there is not a connection between you and your date. Above all, don’t forget to be kind and encouraging to yourself as social skills and dating both take practice!