How To Get To Know Someone On A First Date
By: Sarah Fader
Updated February 03, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Judson Haynes
It can be nerve-wracking to go out on a first date with someone new. You may stress about where to go, what to do, or what to talk about. Dating and getting to know new people is tough for many, and it is not uncommon for people to become very nervous. It is not always easy to get to know someone, but fortunately there are small tips and tricks you can learn to break the ice, keep yourself calm and comfortable, and actually enjoy your date without stress or pressure.
How To Get To Know Someone
Almost everyone experiencesthe 'first date jitters' when getting ready to date someone new. There are many possible outcomes to getting to know someone, and we all want our first dates to go well. Sometimes that the feelings of nervousnessalone areenough to cause you to act differently than you normally would. Some shut down, others ramble, and some even may behave inappropriately or in a way that is not reflective of your natural personality or expectations. It can be tough, but it is important to just be yourself. It can be stressful to act like your completely normal character since it puts you in a vulnerable position, but keep in mind that your date is just as interested in getting to know you and developing a positive, healthy relationship as you are with them. Being open and honest helps your date feel comfortable with being open and honest as well, and can help a great deal to lessen the pressure to enjoy your time.
Checking in is helpful in gauging the comfort and quality of the time you both are spending together. It is important for you to both check in with your date and with yourself. To check in with your date, you may use the following techniques:
- At some point toward the middle of the date, ask if your date is having a good time. You’ll likely want to only ask once, though. Asking more than once may put pressure on you both.
- Pay attention to body language. Body language is important and can be helpful in determining whether your date is comfortable. Common signs that your date is comfortable include:
- Maintaining eye contact
- Staying engaged in conversation and activities
- Keeping arms and palms open and relaxed
- Smiling, laughing, nodding
- Asking and responding to questions
- Keeping a smooth thought process that does not indicate distractibility
These behaviors are ways you can communicate to your date that you are having a good time, as well. Your date will be happy to see that you are enjoying their company, and the communication through body language will promote a light and fun atmosphere.
The best way to get to know someone on the first date is to ask questions. It can be difficult to know what to ask initially, so here are some tips to asking the right questions:
- Be sure to ask open-ended questions, or questions that require more than a 'yes' or 'no' response.
- Ask questions that seek details. Using 'Who,' 'What,' 'When,' 'Where,' 'Why,' and 'How' will express genuine interest and keep the conversation flowing.
- Do not get too personal. Remember it is the first date. You don't want to get too personal too quickly. Consider talking about the following topics:
- Where each of you grew up
- Common interests and hobbies
- Your date's career aspirations
There are a number of thought-provoking questions you can ask. Here is a list of 38 questions you can ask on a first date:
- Best first date?
- Could you date someone who doesn't vote?
- Are you concerned about climate change?
- Do you know anyone who has married someone they met on a dating app?
- Do you prefer that your date shares your political views?
- Freedom of the press is…
- Do you answer work emails on the weekend?
- Is it important to you that your partner practices the same religion as you?
- How would you feel if your partner earned more money than you?
- Have you attended a protest march?
- Would you live with a partner before marriage?
- Do you watch Game of Thrones?
- How do you feel about having joint bank accounts in a long-term relationship?
- Are you open to being in a long-distance relationship?
- Would you prefer a group first date or one-on-one?
- Do you meditate?
- How often do you speak to your parents?
- Are you currently saving to buy your own home?
- Do you speak more than one language?
- Would you date someone who was in considerable debt?
- How important is religion/God in your life?
- Which word describes you better: carefree or intense?
- Could you date someone who was really messy?
- Do you enjoy discussing politics?
- Which would you rather be: normal or weird?
- Are you currently employed?
- Is astrological sign at all important in a match?
- Could you date someone who does drugs?
- Do you smoke?
- Choose the better romantic activity: kissing in Paris or kissing in a tent in the woods.
- Is jealousy healthy in a relationship?
- Which best describes your political beliefs: liberal/left, centrist, conservative/right, or other?
- Are you ready to settle down and get married right now?
- About how long do you want your next relationship to last?
- Do you like scary movies?
- Do you often find yourself worrying about the things you have no control over?
- Which of the following types of intelligence do you value most: logical/mathematical, social/interpersonal, or visual/artistic?
- Regardless of future plans, what's most interesting to you right now: sex or love?
Of course, these are not all of the possible questions you can ask—just a few options for if you are experiencing a lull in the conversation or want to get a fuller picture of the individual. Also, you’ll want to gauge whether certain questions are inappropriate given what you already know about the person. If you want even more help with connecting to potential partners on a date, a licensed counselor can help you better understand how to foster meaningful relationships.
Navigating Dating With BetterHelp
There is an increasingly large amount of research pointing to online therapy as a useful method of treatment for those experiencing difficulty connecting with others due to mental health issues. In one study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, the effects of online therapy—and online cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in particular—on symptoms of social anxiety were examined. The study was a five-year follow-up of 80 individuals who had undergone an online CBT treatment for social anxiety disorder. Researchers noted that the improvements participants had experienced after treatment were sustained after five years, and concluded that online therapy could produce “large and enduring effects.” These findings are consistent with those of a number of similar studies that have concluded that online counseling can be useful when helping manage symptoms of an array of mental health issues.
As outlined above, online therapy is a powerful tool for those seeking help with nerve-wracking social interactions. If you’re already feeling uncomfortable in social situations, you may not be ready to seek in-person treatment. With online therapy through BetterHelp, you’ll have the opportunity to connect with a licensed counselor—via videoconference, messaging, live chat, or voice call—from the comfort of your own home (or wherever you have an internet connection. The qualified mental health professionals at BetterHelp know how to provide you with techniques and tips to make dates and other social interactions more pleasant and enjoyable. Read below for counselor reviews, from those who have experienced similar issues.
“Seeking out counseling for the first time made me nervous for numerous reasons. After meeting with Katie a few times my outlook regarding counseling completely changed. She’s never judgemental and has an arsenal of tools to help with anxiety, grief and loss, and personal growth. I’m thankful for the work we’ve done so far and meeting with her has become one of the best parts of my weekly schedule.”
“Mark has been extremely attentive to everything that I disclose. He’s not only provided me support but insight and encouragement to let me know I’m on a good path to self improvement and discovery. Furthermore, Mark has provided me valuable insight on my romantic relationship, specifically with learning more about the relationship dynamics and how to build a stronger, healthier relationship.”
Sometimes we need a little extra support to get through a date without being too uncomfortable. If you find yourself being very nervous and irritable, or generally struggle with dating, consider talking to a professional. They will help you learn new ways to address such situations to reduce nervousnessand help you make dating a positive experience.
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