1. Don’t be too keen
So, best case scenario: you meet them, and they’re everything you hoped they’d be. In fact, they’re even better. That profile photo (in which they look like a top model), simply doesn’t do them justice. This is the most gorgeous person you’ve ever seen, but now it’s more important than ever that you keep your cool. Compliment them, but don’t over flatter them - and whatever you do, don’t (as I once did) tell some pretty but vacuous Brazilian “I think you’ll always be beautiful” (mega-cringe) when it’s obvious that they a) know that and b) are just fishing for flattery.
￼ 2. Don’t give too much away
Just as you should try and temper or at least conceal your urge to fall in love at first sight with your date, be careful about how much you reveal about yourself. Telling them your life story in the first ten minutes will not only bore them but show that you’re nervous. Carefully placed silences work well - they give the other person a chance to talk and help the conversation to flow naturally. Remember that having some sense of mystery about you is alluring - and it’ll hopefully get them coming back for more.
3. Don’t lose your nerve
Dating is nerve-wracking, there’s no denying that, particularly if you haven’t done it in a while. You’re likely to be anxious about making a fool of yourself or being rejected. These are normal emotions. Short of swallowing a Diazepam before you leave the house, what can you do to take the pressure off? Try not to think about how the evening is going to go. Avoid catastrophizing but also keep your expectations in check. Think of the date as a two-way interview. You need to like them as much as they like you. Be open-minded, but don’t compromise yourself out of existence just because you feel you need to be in a couple. There’s little more tragic than that.
4. Don’t be too quick to judge
There are, of course, exceptions to this. If the person is a Donald Trump supporter, then it goes without saying that you should run for the hills - but in most other cases try to keep an open mind. You’re not going to meet anyone who agrees with everything you stand for, and if you did, wouldn’t you be bored? A good rule, however, is to try and avoid talking about big global problems on a first date. Keep it light and fun and suss them out first.
5. Don’t put yourself down
Ok, you’ve had a terrible year: you’ve lost your job, your mother’s died, you’ve been made homeless twice and, on top of all of that, your hair has started to fall out. Your date is not your therapist. Keep a cap on the misery. And, at the same time, don’t let your weaknesses show. If you’re fragile or have self-doubts about aspects of your life, keep quiet about them. Don’t pull yourself to pieces in front of a stranger. Confidence and positivity always win out.
6. Don’t talk about the ex
This one seems obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many people do it - and, to be fair, it’s easy to lapse into maligning that vile, controlling ex who ignored your phone calls for days and then dumped you with a “come back to me when you’ve pulled yourself together.” After all, it was the end of that relationship that has brought you here. Dwelling on the past and bitching about others (however justified it may be), won’t give the impression you want. The same goes with talking about your sex life. Yes, the group Chem sex orgy down the sauna may have been sensational last week but it could, just possibly, suggest you’re the town slut rather than marriage material.
7. Don’t over indulge
Alcohol loosens things up; it helps conversation; it lowers your inhibitions - and it can transform a good evening into an embarrassing disaster in just a few moments. Don’t be tempted to hit the bottle before you meet your date - and watch what you drink when you’re with them. Even better, meet somewhere that doesn’t serve booze. You can always save that for later when you know one another better.
8. Don’t drop your pants
Well, this one is entirely up to you. People often say don’t have sex on a first date, but there are different rules for gay people. In fact, we make our own rules - or at least we should do rather than aping what straight people do. If there’s electrifying chemistry between you then why not put it to the test? Or perhaps it’s better to raise the anticipation levels until you meet again. Judge the evening carefully and make sure that you both want the same thing. Who knows where it will then lead?
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