Will they be nice? Will their eyes crinkle all cute-like on the corners when they laugh? Will they be the next Zodiac Killer, or will you end up buying a Duplex on the trendy side of town together? With all these nervy thoughts running through your head, surviving a blind date can be a tricky business. Not only do you have to worry about the possibility of red lipstick rubbing off on your teeth as you make it through appetizers and the first round of banter, but you also have to spend an intimate evening alone with a complete and total stranger.
It's a nightmare. Granted, it's an absolutely fun type of a train wreck, but almost always a nightmare. From all the handshakes-turned-awkward-half-hugs, uncomfortable pauses, and apprehensive small talk, it can sometimes be hard to will yourself to show up. But in reality, it doesn't need to be all that bad.
We can make any bad situation interesting if only we try hard enough, and that includes these cringey first meetups. If you come in armed with the right attitude and a couple of tips on how to make the next two hours run smoothly, you'll find yourself enjoying your time. Below are seven tips on how to survive a blind date in one piece!
1. Create Yourself A Blind Date Uniform
You know that feeling where you put together a spicy outfit at home, and then the moment you're outside you think "What in the hell was I thinking?" Pants wedgie, bangles jangle offensively loud, dresses are fidgeted in — these are all things you want to avoid when trying to soothe your nerves during a blind date.
So the solution? Create yourself a little blind date capsule, where you have a couple of outfits that are foolproof and make you want to go "tsss" every time you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror. They're tried and true, and because of it, your outfit will be a non-issue — you'll just throw it on moments before you have to hail a cab.
Lifestyle writer Lyndsay Rush from lifestyle site The Everygirl elaborated, "I have a few ‘date shirts’ that I just throw into the rotation when the time comes, so I don’t have to overthink it or stress beforehand." Easy peasy.
2. Make It A Home Game
Instead of waiting for Handsome Stranger to put the date together, take the lead and suggest somewhere you're comfortable and confident in. Try picking that burger bar with the craft beers you always go to with your friends on a Wednesday night, or to the arcade bar not too far from your apartment where you know the bartender by name. By going somewhere you feel at home in, you'll feel a little more collected and unruffled.
Rush agreed, "Ambiance goes a long way when there are nerves involved. It’s always nice to be familiar with a place so that you know where the bar is and where the bathroom is and, frankly, where the exits are." Sounds like a solid plan.
3. Shake Off The Expectations
I'm going to admit something and share a bit of my "crazy" with you — before every first date, I have this little thought that pops into my head that goes somewhere between the lines of "What if this is my last first date?," and it usually sneaks through somewhere between my first and second glass of rosé. I know, shut up, I grew up on Meg Ryan movies.
But with that comes a pang of disappointment every time I sit across from my date and realize that he's dull as a door nail — which in turn means — that I have many first dates in my future. But if you come in treating the date like a hang out — a couple of new friends meeting up for drinks and possibly fancy appetizers — then you have no stakes. You can't really be disappointed, only pleasantly surprised. It's a game changer, and it also makes you more relaxed and at ease, allowing you to act like yourself and not a jumpy, stress-sweat-y wreck.
Lifestyle writer Jillian Kramer from Glamour pointed out, "So rather than hope you'll find heaven or convince yourself you'll be running from hell, try instead to simply keep an open mind — lowering your chances for disappointment, and upping the excitement factor if you end up hitting it off."It's so much easier that way.
4. Do Just A Skosh Of Research Beforehand
I'm not saying to go into week 52 of their Instagram feed, but doing some light snooping can really help you move past the usual first date small talk and get into more interesting, telling conversations. Kramer explained, "You can also spot any mutual interests or activities — vacations to the same destination, a love of football, or an obsession with your local gelato cafe — and use that intel to slyly revive a struggling conversation."
For example, did you see that they went camping with friends? While sipping on your Manhattan, casually mention how you're making it your summer goal to go hiking at least once, and how you have your eyes on the Smokies (or where ever.) This will prompt them to be all, "Oh! I actually went a couple of months ago with my friends..." and you can sip on that cocktail with the smug knowledge that you're crafty AF.
5. Get Over The Fear Of The Awkward Pause
This is something you're just going to have to walk yourself through: Conversations have pauses. Period. A 10 second beat doesn't mean you're boring or they're wishing they could Irish exit the minute you go to the bathroom. You need a moment or two to think of something interesting to say — which is infinitely better than blabbing away so you don't have to sit through a pause.
Lifestyle writer Ashley Papa from StyleCaster confirmed, "If your nerves get the best of you and you can’t think of one intelligible thing to say, don’t worry — and don’t assume that moments of silence mean a lack of interest." So the next time you're in one, make a mental effort to smooth your feathers, and take the opportunity to think of your next brilliant story to share.
6. Go In There With The Intention Of Keeping It Short
Your first date is like a sample plate — you're there to meet someone new, and to be entertained with their experiences and anecdotes, not to figure out their life story. It's a friendly meetup, one where rounds of drinks are ordered and you can flirt and laugh with someone before it's time to go to bed. Because of that, go in there with the intention of sticking around for two hours or so. That mentality will keep it casual and alleviate some of that first-date pressure (not to mention curb that "ugh, I wish I was in bed right now" mentality. Because what's two hours away from the couch?)
Papa explained, "The first date is more of an exploration to see if you have chemistry, enjoy being with each other, and can build fun and friend rapport. But dates — just like food — have an expiration date." Even if you're really enjoying yourself, keeping it to three hours max will ensure that you'll be excited to see each other for the big Date Two, which makes things all the more exciting.
7. Come In There Willing To Give Out Second Chances
Even though romcoms promise us something entirely different (I blame you, Hugh Grant,) a lot of us don't see fireworks the very first time we meet. Instead, it takes a couple of nights of tapas and late-night-coffees to click in a way that makes you wait for their text in the day. Papa pointed out, "In the annals of blind date success stories, there’s some sort of magnificently great instant connection the second you sit down for drinks. But for the rest of us, the connection takes time to build."
Which is why you should go in there ready to give it a second chance. See the fun and sweetness in those first date guffaws: Them not having much to say is nerves, them rambling on about their pet parakeet is a way they don't lose you with an awkward silence, and that terrible goodbye hug slash cheek kiss was them overthinking things way too much.
How can you not give that a second chance? They're probably really awesome — give them time to show you that. So now that you have all these tips underneath your belt, you're ready to slay your next first date. Get to Tindering!