1. Jump Out To An Early Lead, Then Kill The Clock.
Start the date with prepared jokes and statements — ones that you may or may not have gotten on the Internet. They’ll make you come off more intelligent or witty than your tongue-tying nerves typically allow. Once you’ve used your best material, proceed to milk the brownie points you’ve earned by playing it safe and saying/doing very little. Ideally you’ll have done enough positive in the first few minutes to earn a second date, allowing you to do pretty much nothing but exist for the latter portion of the rendezvous.
2. Play Conservatively
When you meet, will there be a handshake or a hug? If it’s a hug, will it be like a full on bring it in chest smush, or a side shoulder, one arm type deal? Fundamentally sound awkward daters know not to initiate the first greeting. Instead, wait for your date to extend a hand or open their arms — this is a preventative measure that ensures you won’t be responsible for a really awkward handshake/hug situation. Because let’s be honest, those are the worst and we’re still thinking about how much of a disaster they were thirty minutes after it happened.
If the venue selection ball is in your court, choose a place that isn’t going to be at capacity. Avoid crowds when possible, because more people are only more opportunities to bump into that guy, step on that woman’s foot, trip on someone’s shoe, bump a waitress, knocking a meal out of her hand, etc. Not only do crowds often lead to misfortune, they might also force you into a long wait, which is simply bad news when you’re already nervous as it is.
4. Call Time Outs
For a quick, 20-second timeout, scoop food into your mouth so that chewing and swallowing buys you a few minutes to think of what to say next, or how to respond to a question. A full timeout would be a trip to the bathroom. When you need to regroup or take a break from the unspoken intense anxiousness that comes with a date, the lavatory is a perfect place to regain composure.
5. Get Home-Field Advantage
As mentioned earlier, isolation is one method when deciding where the date takes place, but choosing one that you visit regularly is another option. All things considered, it can be pretty beneficial. You know the menu, the floor plan – you may even know the waiters, bartenders or regular customers, which is always more comforting than being a complete stranger to the bar/restaurant. Plus, you look like a cool person who knows, and is friendly with everyone.
6. Intentional Foul
If you’re not feeling the date and would like to make certain that there isn’t a second one, be as unappealing as possible. Maybe talk about your ex, eat sloppily with your hands or order Raisin Bran – whatever it takes to be clear that you’re not datable. This is easier than being the mean one who doesn’t return calls or has to gently let them down; do what you must to ensure they won’t feel the urge to text or call you after parting ways.
7. Hail Mary
If towards the end of the date things are looking grim, take a chance by inquiring about a potential second date, even if you know it’s a long shot. It’s bold, it’s risky and the chances of it going well might be slim – but if it actually works and earns you solid, concrete plans for a sequel date, you’ll gain boatloads of confidence that might put your awkwardness in remission.
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