When you're going on a date with someone you've never met before — whether that's someone you met on a dating app, a friend of a friend, or a totally blind date — it's normal to be a little nervous and worry that things won't go well. After all, who's to say you'll even have an IRL connection with this total stranger? But it's important to remember that first dates don't necessarily have to be cause for stress: even if it doesn't turn into a second date, that's OK!
"While it can be disappointing if a first date doesn’t turn into a second one, especially if your mind wandered to thinking they could be 'The One,' having a first date, regardless of the outcome, is both an ego and a confidence booster," dating coach Julie Spira tells Bustle. "It reminds you that it’s fine to go out and have fun with someone interesting, rather than staying home staring at your phone, wondering why someone hasn’t texted you back."
Of course, it's great if you and your date hit it off and form a connection right away — but if you don't, you shouldn't sweat it. Dates are just an opportunity to meet someone new, have fun, or, at the very least, learn something about yourself (like what you don't like in a date). Here are nine expert tips that can help any first date go a little smoother... even if it's with a total stranger.