You’re out on a date. And it is not going well. Maybe you’re really into the person sitting across from you but feeling nervous and can’t seem to pull it together. Maybe you’re both feeling awkward vibes and would rather slink onto the floor than finish your vodka cran.
Fear not because a weird beginning does not have to mean the date is ruined! Use these simple tools to spin a date from awful to awesome.
1. Skip the boring questions
Let’s be honest, do you really care how many siblings someone has? Do you find where they grew up absolutely thrilling? Probably not. Skip the snoozefest, and come prepared to ask questions that will get the conversation going.
Think about what you’re passionate about. I don’t know about you, but I can’t talk for hours about where I’m from or what high school I went to. The things that you truly geek out over — your hobbies, upcoming vacation plans, a new book you’re reading. These are the things that are fun to talk about. Ask your date the favorite place they’ve ever traveled to, what their favorite movie is, or what they would do if money were no object. Then, sit back and let the conversation roll!
2. Focus on your posture
Fake it ‘til you make it! If you’re bored, nervous, or feeling uncomfortable, your body language is probably showing it. Keep your shoulders back, chin up, and make eye contact with your date. Psychologically, when you straighten yourself up, it can instill more confidence and help shake off that negative energy.
It can also help to have someone to emulate. For me, I just think “What would Serena van der Woodsen do?” She definitely wouldn’t be slumped over her drink looking around the room for a fire alarm to pull for a quick getaway! Choose your favorite celeb or TV character to act as your “date mentor.”
3. Be honest
There’s something so charming about a date admitting they’re nervous, isn’t there? Don’t be afraid to acknowledge the tension in a playful way to move past it. A simple “These awkward silences always suck — tell me about what you’re binge-watching!” can be the perfect segue from tense and awkward to easygoing.
4. Keep your phone in your bag
Our phones tend to be a crutch. When you’re on an awkward elevator ride with one other person, you pull out your phone and start scrolling, right? Resist the urge on a date and keep it in your bag. Not only would it be rude to start texting across the table from your date, but it encourages you to push through the awkwardness and get to know your date. They’re probably just as anxious to cut through the tension as you are.
5. Practice active listening
When you’re focusing on how you’re not sure you picked the right outfit, what your date thinks of you so far, or if you have lettuce in your teeth, you’re not staying present in the moment. Active listening allows you to stay focused on what’s going on and might help you work through any stress, nerves, or initial awkwardness.
Remember that it’s just a date. Take a deep breath and realize that even if your night is a total dud, it’s not the end of the world. Plus, you’ll have a hilarious story for your next girls’ night!