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3 Steps To Prep For A Date


These simple moves will have you feeling confident and ready to have a terrific time on your next get-together.

by Elise Nersesian

ou’ve been looking forward to this evening all week. You’ve picked out your outfit, the reservations are set… and you’re so nervous you can barely breathe. Sure, it’s normal to feel flutters before a date but did you know there are ways to put yourself at ease and boost your odds of having a wonderful time? Let us show you how.

Catch up with a friend first
There’s no better way to calm those pre-date jitters than to do something just plain fun. So two hours before you meet your date, schedule a phone call or quick coffee run with a
Sure, you want to impress your date—but he or she has to impress you, too!
good friend. “There’s only one rule,” says Patti Feinstein, a dating consultant in Chicago, IL. “Don’t discuss the impending date—the idea is to put yourself in a total comfort zone: spending time with someone who thinks you’re utterly fantastic.” In doing so, you’ll take the focus off your nerves and feel relaxed and energized. And if you need to, ask your pal to assess your best qualities so you’ll walk into the date remembering what a catch you really are. Oh, and stick to coffee if you meet a friend—not cocktails. Whether drinking makes you feel carefree or mellowed out, you don’t want to be out of sync with your date—if you are, you’ll both notice, and your connection could suffer.

Have your talking points ready
How’s this for familiar: You’re halfway through your appetizer when suddenly you can’t think of anything to say. “Even the best conversationalists go blank sometimes,” says Bev Bacon, author of Meet Me, Don’t Delete Me. But don’t stress. “You can always have specific topics or anecdotes ready to pull out in case
Have a little bit of info ready to jumpstart a conversation.
you hit an awkward patch,” she says. Just do a little prep work on the way to the date. Ask yourself: Did anything funny happen at work? Seen any good movies lately? Watched something hilarious on the Internet? You may find that just having a few icebreakers at the ready — even if you don’t use them — will relieve the pressure that causes those pauses in the first place. Other ideas: Peruse the newspaper to brush up on current events, or subscribe to an email newsletter like Very Short List (www.veryshortlist.com) for a cool culture pick of the day, so you have something fresh to chat about.

Adjust your mindset
“A big reason people get nervous is because they consider the date a sole opportunity for the other person to judge and accept them,” says David Wygant, a Los Angeles-based dating coach. This kind of thinking leads to worries like, Does she think I’m smart enough? Is he attracted to me? Am I being funny? And while this type of anxiety is perfectly normal, stressing about what the other person thinks can result in a big confidence crash. So before the date, conjure up an image of someone else you’re interested in, or better yet, someone who’s sweet on you. It sounds counter-intuitive, but focusing on another cutie eliminates the fear that your entire love life is riding on one night with one person. And remember this: A date is a chance for both people to put their best foot forward, and your crush wants to impress you just as much as you want to impress him or her. So do some listening to see if this person is right for you. We don’t have to remind you that love is a two-way street…or then again, maybe we do! Recognize that you are both just getting to know one another, and that if this person isn’t The One, that’s OK. Maybe your next date will be…


Elise Nersesian has written for Redbook, Stuff and other national magazines.
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