Leslie Knope & Liz Lemon Teach Us About Dating

by Nick Romano

First dates are the worst! No matter how confident we think we are, most of us turn into stark-raving Mad Hatters in the days — and the especially the hours — leading up to the first official get-together. Thankfully, though, we've had Amy Poehler's Leslie Knope of the dearly departed Parks And Recreation, and Tina Fey's Liz Lemon of the equally dearly departed 30 Rock, to guide us through the dating arena.

Will they like me? Will I make a fool of myself? Will they think I'm stupid? Maybe I am stupid. These are all things that have crossed the minds of these beloved characters from Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock. No matter how much of a hot mess both these ladies can be sometimes, they always manage to thrive in the date scene. And look at them now! They road off into the sunset with their own doting hubbies by their respective series' end.

Whenever I feel start sweating bullets and pulling my hair out before a first date, I always turn on Netflix and binge watch a few key episodes of these women on dates. It always makes me feel better, because even though their circumstances are grossly exaggerating circumstances, they prove that I can survive no matter how awful the date might go.

1. First Off, We're All On The Same Page

It's real easy to become cynical about dating. All kinds of work is difficult, and it would be far more pleasant to just pick things up in the middle of a relationship than to put in the effort required to form long-lasting couplings. However, turn that beat around, Liz Lemon. Otherwise your fantasy of entering spinsterhood with a ton of cats all named Emily Dickinson will become a reality.

2. Admit When You're A Nervous Wreck

It's okay to be nervous. It proves that you're human. And if you are, don't hold it in. It'll force you to react erratically and accidentally smash your cellphone into a million pieces. At least when Knope did it, she didn't have an iPhone.

3. Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Sometimes we can all get wrapped up in our heads and all the stress of metaling preparing for the first date. That's when we call in some outside help, often times in the form of a BFF. They will always be there to tell us that cargo pants are not appropriate first date attire.

4. Psyching Yourself Up Is A Great Way To Build Confidence

We all have our own unique ways of psyching ourselves up. No matter what form it might take, just be sure there's no microphone secretly attached to relay your mumbling to all your old business school chums.

5. Sometimes Your First Response Isn't The Right One

As Leslie Knope taught us on more than one occasion, the ability to edit oneself is a necessary quality. There are some inappropriate questions that pop into the back of your mind, but use your best judgment when it comes to actually asking them. Don't be like Knope.

6. Keep The Alcohol Consumption To A Minimum

Don't become another first date urban legend. Don't get so consumed by the awkwardness or, if all is going well, the good times that you overindulge in the wine. A two drink max is a good rule of thumb, otherwise you might end up mixing your words.

7. Try To Laugh At His Jokes...

It's always nice to show interest in the other person. There are many ways to accomplish this, one of which is a slight giggle if your date decides to be funny. Try not to force the laugh too much, though. They might pick up on that.

8. ...But Honest With Yourself When Things Aren't Working Out

Most importantly, you need to remind yourself of your value. If your date is being a total jerk, is just plain boring, is obnoxious ,or displays any number of these disheartening attributes, know that you're worth more. And sometimes, you even have to tell him that.

And always remember, no matter how awful things might go, you will survive!

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