Mastering First Dates in Today’s Diverse Dating Scene

2 men holding one another and smiling while outside.

Modern dating has evolved. The dating scene today isn’t your parent’s dating scene. There’s a more openness and inclusivity involved in today’s dating dichotomy. And that’s a great thing. However, it comes with its own complications and riddles.

So let’s dive into how we can master first dates in the age of diverse dating.

Communication and The Heart of the Matter

No, it’s not a Don Henley song. And sorry if we aged ourselves.

That said, clear and honest communication is central in building an open relationship. There’s a number of points that should be communicated and all of these points should build on the others.

Look to discuss interests. These interests will either turn out to be mutual, or independent. And that’s an important distinction. In this, you’ll discover areas where you’ll both coexist and areas where you might be better off going it on your own. If you both enjoy hiking, you’ve struck a mutual interests that can help build your relationship for the long term, as well as help you both stay healthy. But if you enjoy reading before bed and your partner enjoys watching Big Bang Theory reruns before bed, well, you might find some healthy independent spaces. And that’s not just “OK,” it’s a super healthy way forward for a relationship.

Expectations are another key driver of relationships. In traditional marriage we find that expectations are rarely discussed and this commonly leads to miscommunications and bitterness. It’s important to understand what your partner expects from the relationship and to convey what you expect from the relationship. This is especially important in an open relationship.

To effectively traverse heart-felt conversations, you’ll need to deploy what is known as active listening.

In active listening, we shut down that voice that sometimes causes us to only think about what we’re going to say while our partner is speaking. This not only dilutes our concentration levels, but it’s self-centered. Beyond that, active listening is a key life skill that can help us in many situations.

This means giving your undivided attention to the speaker. You should maintain eye contact, turn off your phone, and have full focus.

When you’re in an active listening mode, it isn’t just for your partner, but for yourself as well. You learn about your partner wants, needs, and desires. This helps you gauge your place in the relationship.

Active listening also includes responding in ways that confirm you’re engaged and understand what’s being said. Verbal affirmations such as “I understand” or “that makes sense” are your friends.

Being True to Yourself and Your Date

Your authenticity should shine through when you desire a genuine connection. And it also sets the tone for future interactions. Unfortunately in the dating world, people feel tons of pressure to be someone they aren’t. Often, they get caught up in an unhealthy loop of fearing that what they say may run the person off.

But a disingenuous beginning only kicks the inevitable can down the road. In other words, you’ll eventually struggle in the relationship and probably go your own ways.

Dealing With Nerves

Feeling nervous is normal. This is particularly true of first dates. First off, accept that your nerves are a perfectly healthy state. Its normal to feel nervous.

There are things you can do to help neutralize feelings of nervousness and angst.

Deep Breathing

Before the date, do some deep breathing exercises for a few minutes. Inhale slowly for a count of four, hold for a count of four, and then exhale for a count of four. This can help calm your nervous system.

Positive Affirmations

Remind yourself of your worth and positive qualities. Affirmations like “I am confident, I am interesting, I am worthy of respect and love” can boost your self-esteem and reduce anxiety.

Prepare Conversation Starters

Having a few topics in mind to discuss can ease worries about awkward silences. Think about your interests, recent events, or fun facts about yourself that can spark engaging conversations.

Exercise

Physical activity can be a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. A short walk, some yoga, or a light workout can release endorphins and improve your mood before the date.

Conclusion

Getting to know someone on a first date is stressful, but it can also be gratifying. In the age of modern, open dating, there’s a lot more to discuss. A genuine, heartfelt connection is the way forward. Understanding someone’s desires and boundaries and having that reciprocated will go a long way in helping you all create a healthy relationship.