Anna Gragert
October 17, 2015 4:44 pm

A first date can symbolize the beginning of a beautiful chapter in your life. Or, this chapter can end before you even get the chance to turn the first page. That’s exactly why first dates can be so terrifying/exciting: because you simply do not know what is going to happen. You have no control and are living in the unknown.

Then again, first dates can be a bit predictable because, well, human beings can be predictable. When you look at it this way, it’s quite comforting. Because you are definitely not alone in the way that you feel. If you hate first dates, there are countless people who feel the same way. If first dates make you sweat and worry and feel a million butterflies fluttering around in your stomach, there’s a tribe out there for you.

Basically, there are some things we all do on first dates. And in an effort to make you shout, “Hey! Me, too!”, we’d love to share some of these universal first date quirks with you…

We all try to plan ahead. 

Most mortals like to be in control – to know the when, why, how, what, and where of a situation. As for first dates? They tend to throw control out the window because you can’t plan out every last detail. Maybe the food will be delicious and maybe it won’t. Maybe you’ll talk about your love of Japanese candy or you may even find that you have 0% in common. If first dates could speak, they’d all say, “Oh, you think you’re the conductor of this dating train? Well, think AGAIN!”

That’s why we all try to hold on to what we can. Essentially, we all try to plan out how a first date will go before it even begins. This can be done in many different fashions: planning out where to eat, what to say, what to wear, when to leave, and whether or not you want to tell them about your Yankee Candle addiction. When you say to a friend, “Listen. If things aren’t going well, I’m going to climb out the bathroom window and make my escape,” that’s a form of first date planning. And guess what? You’re not alone.

We all have hope.

We want our love lives to reflect the fairy tales and rom-coms we’ve grown up consuming. After all, who wouldn’t want to meet a handsome prince/princess, ride in a carriage that was once a pumpkin, AND wear glass slippers that are both comfortable and chic? With this type of media-related upbringing, it’s almost impossible to settle for something that doesn’t look like it belongs in theaters or on a billboard.

Even if you’re on the most casual of first dates, there’s always that part of you that wonders, “Will this work out?” Pandora may have left Hope inside her box, but that doesn’t stop the most pessimistic of us all from dreaming of a happy ending.

We all feel awkward. 

Somehow, “awkward” has become a word that we fear.  Here’s the thing: feeling, acting, and being awkward is perfectly normal. At some point in their lives, everyone feels awkward. Heck, some people feel awkward on an hourly basis. (Guilty.) And if there’s one time when you shouldn’t feel guilty for awkwardness, it’s on a first date. Why? Because first dates are inherently awkward.

First dates are an anxious situation just waiting to happen because there is so much pressure surrounding these circumstances. I mean, there are countless articles dedicated to what you should/shouldn’t/should NEVER EVER do on first dates. With all the fuss that’s made about first dates, it’s no wonder why first daters feel uncomfortable.

We all try to keep the conversation going. 

If there’s one thing Homo sapiens hate just as much as awkwardness, it’s silence. And on a first date? Silence seems to speak a thousand words. Oh! And what about an awkward silence? That, my friends, feels downright lethal.

Say you’re on a first date and things are going well. You really like the person you’re with. Then – OH NO – you run out of things to talk about. Now, you’re playing with the food on your plate and trying to think of topics that you’d both enjoy. Water-skiing? Scrambled eggs? Everyone likes breakfast foods, right? But, alas, nothing happens and the silence stretches on. You take that as a sign that this is one relationship that isn’t going to work out. Just remember this: You are both human and awkward silences are totally normal. Don’t make it out to be more than it is: A (quiet) blip in time. And sometimes a moment of silence isn’t a bad thing.

We all pay close attention to the little things. 

Analyzing first dates should definitely be a sport.

From glancing at your phone to being rude to a waiter, everything on a first date is fodder for observation. When you’re in this type of scenario, your awareness is heightened because you want to make a good impression. You pay close attention to the signals you’re giving off, but you also pay even closer attention to the signals your company is giving off.

Basically, it’s really hard to live in the moment on a first date because there’s so much to think about. “They glanced at their phone. That means they’re not interested. Should I call them out on it? Or, should I glance at my phone to even things out?” is just one of the million thoughts that could be going through your mind on a first date.

Man, it really is hard to look at the big picture when you’re trying to find out if you vibe well with someone else.

While first dates can be unnerving, there is one good thing about them: they are great learning experiences.  A first date allows you to meet new people, to socialize, and to put yourself in the midst of a novel experience. Hey, maybe you even get to go to that one restaurant you’ve always wanted to try.

And just think – even though first dates are filled with newness, there is one constant that you can look to when you worry that you’re alone in your worries: everyone goes through similar things on a first date. You are definitely not alone.

(Image via Columbia Pictures)

Related:

10 quirky questions to ask on a first date

Subtle signs your first date is going very well

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