When I was single, I remember spending hours mentally preparing myself for first dates. I'd run through conversation topics to bring up if we reached an awkward silence. I'd memorize online dating profiles. But this didn't safeguard me against first date mistakes. Apparently, some of the most common dating conventions end up setting us back.
The best way to avoid shooting yourself in the foot on a first date is to chill out beforehand, says psychologist Yvonne Thomas, PhD. I know: It's easier said than done. Thomas recommends taking deep breaths and reminding yourself that nothing has to come out of this. You may not meet The One or even your next significant other on your next date (though you might), so just focus on having a fun night or pleasant afternoon.
Thomas also suggests assessing yourself before you go on a date to figure out if you're truly ready. Are you over all your exes? Are you able to go in with an open heart and mind? Do you even want a relationship?
And, of course, awareness of potential pitfalls is helpful. Here are some of the biggest mistakes people tend to make on first dates.