You’ve passed the 24 hour mark without giving in to a change of heart, sobbed into a gallon carton of ice cream, and graduated to leaving the house in something other than sweatpants. The first few days after a breakup are the absolute worst, and still, you managed to pull through! For some of us, recovery happens as quickly as the relationship ended; for others, the healing time can take months.
Regardless of the timeline you’re operating on, one morning you will wake up and inevitably find yourself ready to dive headfirst back into the dating game. When you’re ready to give love another try, you need to make sure that love is ready for the new and improved you – and so, before you head out on your first date back in the ring, here are a few pieces of advice to make sure you’re fully prepared for that first swing.
1. Don’t Stalk via Social Media
Is there anything more awkward than playing dumb when you have nothing new to learn about the stranger sitting across from you? When it comes to new acquaintances, take the old fashioned route and hold off on doing any preliminary social media research on your date. Trust your gut instinct which tells you that you and this person have the spark to initiate real chemistry once you get to know one another. When you ditch Facebook and Twitter for concrete interaction, you are ridding yourself of any premature judgment and perceptions and opening yourself up to chance, opportunity, and the excitement of getting to hear about someone new: their likes and dislikes, philosophies, beliefs, and personal stories, straight from the horse’s mouth.
2. Don’t Put The Emphasis On Him
You emerged from your previous relationship a changed woman, in control of your own destiny with new expectations for your potential love interests. Don’t let something as trivial as nerves distract you from what you want – especially on the very first date. Forget what he thinks of your job, your clothes, your anxious laugh and rules for first kisses and initial hookups. Focus on you. Do you want a peck goodnight at the door, or to go home with them if all goes well? Do you want to spend a few weeks just getting comfortable with the idea of dating again before making any sort of commitment?
Gage yourself before the first date with questions like: How serious of a relationship are you looking for right now? What habits or behavior do you consider to be a deal breaker? If you aren’t comfortable, what’s your course of action for leaving the date early?
You aren’t committed to a single thing except your own happiness, so get out there and make yourself available for those who deemed to be worth your while. And if the date doesn’t go well or they aren’t into you, that’s okay. Take a deep breath and remember first and foremost, that it’s his loss; and secondly, that trial and error is what dating is all about.
3. Get Excited About Going Out
Give your confidence a boost by treating yourself when getting ready for the first date. Make plans with your best friend beforehand so that you can talk through all of your feelings, laugh together, and get pumped for whatever stories you’ll have to tell her afterwards. Get your nails done together or go shopping for a new date outfit; give each other facials at home with a line like Isomers, sold here. A girl’s day will make you feel refreshed and beautiful on the outside, as well and self-assured on the inside, after spending quality time with a friend who you know will be rooting for you through the good times and the bad.
4. Location, Location, Location
You want to choose a spot or activity that will feel comfortable for the both of you, but also one that will help you to determine how personable the two of you are together. Make sure you have a say in where you’ll be meeting; the location could be a quick test on how they measure up – or don’t – against your deal breakers. If fashion is the game changer, make a dinner date or go out to a social event where dressing up is encouraged. Are you a huge sports fan? Grab a pair of last minute tickets from Stubhub and take them to a game, or else meet at a sports bar where you know it will be showing. Go to your favorite bar or outdoor spot, or take part in an activity you enjoy. If you’re open to something new, ask them what their favorite places or activities are, and be the guinea pig yourself. If one of you isn’t into it, it’ll help you to know right away how well your interests mesh.
5. Prepare for Conversation
You’ll likely come to a point in your date where the dialogue needs a quick nudge. Before heading out, give some thought to a few sincere conversation starters and getting-to-know-you questions that will help you to better connect with this person. Chances are, you’ll get past the silent lulls and wind up off on a tangent at some point during the evening – but whether that happens when discussing careers and family or your greatest passions and memorable life experiences is up to you. Write down up to 10 questions that get more in-depth than “How are you?” and “What do you do for a living?” and practice asking them out loud so you can hear how they sound and also remember them better if you’re feeling nervous. There are plenty of lists for inventive questions online to help you get started, and 101 unique questions found here is a great place to begin.
Every date is simply a test drive for a new relationship. Conversation and other indicators that you felt made a positive impression may not be exactly what the other person is looking for, and vice versa. Take every new date and acquaintance in good stride, and give each your best shot with these tips in mind. Remember that really special connections don’t happen every day, and that is precisely what makes them worth the pursuit.
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