How To Get To Know Someone On A First Date
By Sarah Fader
Updated February 06, 2020
Reviewer 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 anxious. 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 gets the '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 anxiety alone is enough to cause you to act 'not like yourself'. 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. 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 also 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 his/her 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' 'How' will express genuine interest and keep the conversation flowing.
- Where each of you grew up
- Common interests and hobbies
- Your date's career aspirations
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 therapist. A therapist will help you learn new ways to address such situations to reduce anxiety and help you make dating a positive experience.