7 Small Ways To Immediately Turn An Awkward Date Around
First dates are always really exciting, especially if you're already really into the person you're going out with. Unfortunately, first dates can also be really awkward. When you're trying to make a good impression on someone, there may not be a lot of room for you to relax and just be yourself. While awkwardness is pretty much inevitable on first dates, you don't have to hope for a second date in order to have a better time. According to experts, there are a few easy things you can do to turn your awkward first date around.
"First dates are often awkward, but the awkwardness is part of what makes them so exciting," Dr. Jess O’Reilly, relationship expert and sexologist at Astroglide, tells Bustle. "When you feel nervous or unsure, it can heighten your attention and attraction; it’s part of what makes new love so exciting and passionate."
Nerves can get the best of anyone, especially during a first date. And it can be hard to be the best version of yourself when you're a nervous wreck. So the key is to find ways to reduce the tension within yourself and the person you're with. So here are some simple things you can do to turn an awkward date around, according to experts.
1. Playfully Call Out The Awkwardness
If things take an awkward turn, call attention to it. Embrace it. Trying to ignore it will only prolong the awkwardness and make things worse. So be genuine and laugh it off. "Radical authenticity can help both of you to feel more comfortable," Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle. "Just by naming what is actually happening, you immediately lessen the tension and give your date permission to be radically genuine, too." It can immediately put you two at ease.
2. Do Something Silly And Random
Make a funny face or a weird sound out of nowhere. As silly as it is, Michelle Baxo, international love coach and dating expert, tells Bustle, these random and unexpected little things can create a shared "moment" between you two.
3. Change Up The Venue
Sometimes the best thing to do is to get out and switch it up. "You know what's more exciting than another date at a bar? A date that suddenly turns into a bar crawl," Tom Ella, relationship expert and host of The Undesirables dating podcast, tells Bustle. "Don't feel married to your location just because you're there." Taking a walk around the area can also ease any awkwardness. According to Ella, moving will help to take the pressure off since you're both doing something. "You may even find yourselves 'accidentally' bumping into each other a lot," he says.
4. Take A Moment To Breathe
One of the biggest reasons why first dates get so awkward is anxiety. According to Ella, there's so much pressure to "perform." So in order to ease that anxiety, just take a deep breath. Relax. "Silences are fine," he says. "In fact, a sign of a great date — and a great relationship — is a capacity to sit in silence with each other without it being weird or uncomfortable. You don't need to fill every second with something."
5. Tune Into The Sound Of Your Date's Voice
In addition to taking deep breaths, find other ways to ground yourself in the moment. Do subtle things that will help you to get out of your head. For instance, Dr. Jess suggests paying attention to how your body is feeling in the moment. You can try tuning into the sound of your date's voice or listening to the song that's playing. "Don’t think about what’s working and don’t assess your date’s compatibility," she says. "Instead, just enjoy the food, drink and company without the need to consider what might come next."
6. Observe Your Environment
If you're struggling to find something to talk about, just take a moment to observe what's going on around you. As Kate MacLean, dating expert at Plenty of Fish, tells Bustle, this is a great way to find a new topic of conversation. "Perhaps someone sitting next to you is eating something that looks appetizing, or maybe the bartender is making a drink you've never seen before," she says. Use the environment to your advantage.
7. Change Your Perspective
“First dates are awkward because we feel like we are auditioning for the partner role," Scott-Hudson says. So one simple way to lessen your anxiety is to change your perspective. Instead of trying to find ways to impress your date, flip it. "Concern yourself with being your authentic self and see if you like your date," she says. Let them try to impress you. This change in mindset can even help to boost your confidence.
First dates are almost always going to be awkward. But if you like your date and there are no major red flags or compatibility issues, don't let that awkwardness put you off. Chances are, they're just as nervous as you are. Luckily, these simple expert-given tips can help you turn your date around.