It’s finally here. Friday night. You’re freshly showered and wearing the perfect outfit; you’re counting down the minutes until your date begins. After mustering up the courage to ask out your latest crush, you’re finally going out on a date with them. There’s only one problem: the nervous butterflies in your stomach just keep going…and going…and going.
“Dating is awkward for everyone, so just remember that whoever you’re with feels just as nervous as you do,” says Dr. Dylan Selterman, a psychology professor at the University of Maryland. “You’re both trying to make a good first impression on each other.” The best thing you can do is act confident, which will put your date at ease. Let him or her know that it’s ok to relax around you.
According to Selterman, men and women react differently to feelings of attraction, and this will be evident on dates. Men, says Selterman, should strive to stand out from the other men in the room and not openly display feelings because mystery appeals to women. Women’s attractiveness, on the other hand, is based more for males on physical appearance; Selterman thinks women will benefit the most from taking a straightforward approach, since research shows that women’s signals are more difficult to interpret.
“I think the best way to master a first night out is to show your date you are genuinely interested and excited to be there,” says Laura Cohen, a freshman at Syracuse University. Women should show obvious interest rather than trying to play hard to get, since men read sexual signals on a more basic level.
“My best advice for guys on a first date would be to just be yourself. If you don’t tell the truth with your date they will definitely know, Brian Mersman a junior at the University of Maryland Baltimore-County said. Think of it this way: you wouldn’t want someone lying to you about him or herself on a date, would you? If you aren’t yourself on a date, then your partner can’t get to know you. A real relationship is an honest and open interaction between two people; without this, there’s nothing to build on.
In case you want something a bit more straightforward to try on a first date, Selterman recommends trying these three tips:
1) Wear red clothing: The color red tends to ignite romantic attraction in the mind.
2) Get your heart beating: Do something physiologically exciting on your date, like riding roller coasters. Increased heart rate leads to sexual arousal.
3) Keep things toasty: Instead of getting ice cream at the end of the night, go for hot beverages like coffee or hot chocolate. Chocolate has many feel-good chemicals built in; studies suggest that caffeine increase sex drive.
Although a first date can be a source of anxiety, try to instead focus on feelings of excitement. While men and women differ in many aspects, both want to feel desirable and interesting to the opposite sex. So instead of keeping your guard up, give them the benefit of the doubt. Relax, open up, and be honest. Let yourself laugh; treat the butterflies in your stomach as a sign of attraction rather than one of anxiety. When your date sees you being yourself, he or she will do them same.
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