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Today, you can meet people on dating apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge and Match. But whether you pick one or several, the basics remain the same. Just remember the small talk, the flowers and the return texts. If you are looking for love—or just friends with benefits—check out my guide to modern dating.
First Date: Throwback to the ’90s and there’s Always a Dater
Dates can be awkward. Your date might say something painfully honest and then offhandedly make a judgmental comment that only confirms your worst fears. Any good date will make you feel uncomfortable. So, don’t sweat it. Your date just wants to keep you talking. Even if he or she just wants to make small talk with your closest friend, your best bet is to keep that person entertained. You should never be bored on a first date.
If you’re looking for love and the relationship is meant to last, you will want to set yourself up for success. Following are my basic recommendations when meeting a new person for the first time.
Don’t text on the first date.
Yes, it is super tempting. You have at least three minutes of your life to text your new potential match, and it might be a little awkward seeing a text pop up on your phone while you’re sitting across from them. Don’t do it. Wait until you’ve gotten to know someone a little. For one, you might be surprised at how difficult it is to text someone you’ve just met; the amount of time you have to make a decision is limited. If you’re someone who is intimidated by text messaging, try an app like iMessage, which allows you to quickly type messages that go directly from the person to the person’s own iPhone.
Don’t wear a watch.
While you may love your sleek timepiece, friends have told me that you should never wear your watch or cell phone on a date. It’s a dead giveaway that you work in media and are too busy to focus on anything but the show, the person, the conversation. It’s a rule of thumb: If you are busy, don’t look like you’re busy. Likewise, if the lights are dim, don’t look like you’re too excited about the sushi. The show doesn’t have to be on your phone, but it should be off. (More about that later.)
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Photo by Oliver Cox (Flickr) Photo by Oliver Cox (Flickr) Dating apps vs. real-life meeting A free app like Tinder or Bumble is your new best friend, says relationship expert Sam Min. “When you are looking to go on a date, it’s just as important to be at ease as it is to be a good conversationalist,” she says. “Being on your best behavior is hard to do when you are nervous and uncomfortable. Apps like Tinder and Bumble have really made it easier to get a date, but you should still make an effort to meet someone in a real-life environment to get to know them better.” Photo by Sebastian Ruede (Flickr) If you’re holding back because you’re self-conscious or you think you might be judged, ease your anxiety by embracing your quirks. Min says that if your sense of humor is really unique and you can make everyone laugh, you’re immediately attractive. “If you can put a smile on a person’s face and they are smiling back at you, that says so much to a potential partner. When you do this, you’ll start to see that you’re not as alone as you might think.” Photo by Eli Muñoz (Flickr) Photo by Eli Muñoz (Flickr) Get the less-than-sneak peek If someone were to read your dating profile, how would they describe you? While they could spend hours reading your bio, remember that anyone who is ready to date can certainly assess if someone is worth dating in seconds. If you’ve gone out on a few dates with a guy (or girl) and your instincts say it’s not going to work, you can always change things up and possibly find someone you are more compatible with. Photo by Elliot Earls (Flickr) If you’re in the market for a relationship, there are some questions you should be prepared for—like if your parents would approve of your partner. “Asking someone if they have been through any major heartbreaks and if they are open to having a good relationship is something you should consider early on,” Min says. “You want to be able to take someone into your family if you are going to take them into your life. You will have a great time going through life together, but you don’t want to get into anything where it’s a struggle for your kids