1. Aim Low
The Dodgeball motto really applies here. Just like the college admissions game, set your expectations remarkably low. This way, any and all positive outcomes are pleasant surprises. Anticipate the worst ensures that you end up with, if not the best, something better.
2. Schedule The Date At A Time That Doesn’t Allow You To Get Nervous
If you’re meeting up right after an evening class/work, you’re not gonna have time to sit in your apartment for 3 hours, lamenting the fact that you’ll never be able to find somebody. Being occupied is the best way to quash nerves.
3. Pretend You’re Going With A Friend
Trick yourself into thinking that you’re just meeting up with a friend. Pressure is completely gone, and now it’s just a nice excuse to experience some ambience.
4. Make Good Use Of Pre-Date “Research” (Internet Stalking)
You don’t want to come off like a total creep, but in 2013, pre-date internet stalking is a universally acknowledged behavior. Use what you’ve learned to your advantage by steering the conversation towards subjects, as opposed to hitting them on the nose. I.e., if your date is into surfing, discuss how you’re longing to chill out at the beach.
5. Pregame With ONE Drink
There’s some hidden placebo here, and by the time you reach your destination and order that first drink, you’ll be at a level where you’re a lot more sociable. Any more than one drink can be dangerous by night’s end.
6. Blast Some Inspirational Music
“Your song” gets you on a level that you yourself can’t get to. Play this to your advantage.
7. Make Sure The Food Is Manageable
Avoid linguine like the plague. Remember that this is sorta like a job interview, or important business lunch. Tough to go wrong with a chicken cutlet.
8. When In Doubt, Make PITHY Observations
If there is ever a lull, remember that your date is probably also on crisis mode. Save the day by saying something as inconsequential as “these croutons are huuuge!” This can provide a nice segue into talking about Chop’t, which your date incidentally goes to for lunch almost every day. You’ve now bought yourself five minutes of talking about Chop’t.
9. Nervous Is Good
It means there might be something here. No nervousness, while convenient, is bad for the long run. When the nervousness becomes too much, remember that it’s something you want–like being really tired during the last lap of your record-setting mile pace.
10. It’s Only Awkward If You View It As Such
Get out of your head and take a deep breath. Easier said than done, but take a sip of water and just relax. Even if the date ends up a cataclysmic disaster, you’ll at least have a funny story.