Never mind butterflies in the stomach … You’re on your date, sitting there with clammy hands and nothing to say. Whatever happened to your blinding wit? You feel like disappearing off to the loo and never coming back …
There is no way of telling whether a first date will lead to a lifelong relationship or whether it will just be another one to put down to experience. But every new encounter could hold possibilities, especially if the two of you have come together through PARSHIP’s compatibility matching. Whatever ultimately transpires, there are ways of getting the best out of every date.
A special experience
Where’s the romance in meeting up with strangers to find out if you could be compatible? If that’s the way you feel, maybe you need to take the view that online dating is an adventure, an opportunity to get together with people you’d never have met in the normal course of things. And if you end up having a nice time, maybe making some new friends - and possibly finding someone special - then all well and good. And if you find yourself on a first date where the two of you don’t have much to say to each other, then see it as a learning experience: it can give you clearer picture of the kind of person who is NOT right for you. If you’re a PARSHIP member, you will gain an even clearer idea of what to look for as you go through your list of recommended partners. And if the person you meet doesn’t seem to have much of a clue about anything, you’ll become aware of how much you have to offer by comparison.
Be all that as it may, you shouldn’t plan for a date to last a whole evening - an hour or two is plenty, preferably on neutral ground - a bar or café. Alternatively, you could go to an exhibition or visit the zoo - both provide material for conversation. Or you could organise a get-together with single people you know and maybe some you don’t ... You might even have a friend who would like to join PARSHIP too. Having some extra people along can liven things up and lighten the atmosphere. And what are you going to wear? Jeans or pinstripes, something low-cut or something very casual - it all has a major influence on the impression you create. What’s important is for your clothes to reflect you and the environment you’ve chosen, and that you should feel comfortable.
Eye to eye
Well, this is it. You arrive, as punctually as you can, at the appointed place and take a look around … You probably already know something about the person you’re meeting, thanks to emails and the phone, but it’s only in ‘real life’ that you gain a proper impression of what a person is like - from their handshake, their smile, even their smell.
Ideally you want the conversation to be a relaxed question-and-answer session. Just go ahead and ask: most people are happy to talk about themselves. You should be too, but it shouldn’t be a monologue! You want to find out some more about your companion, and - after all - you’ve told your stories before. If you’re the kind of person who talks a lot when you’re a bit excited, tone things down a little. If the conversation seems to be getting sticky because your date isn’t contributing, be ready to give him or her a chance - wait a moment or two and he or she might well break the silence.
If you’re lost for something to say, just try asking your date how he or she spent last weekend or what he or she has seen recently at the cinema, or make a comment on something he or she is wearing - a striking shirt or nice earrings. Or you can always talk about the influence of the Zodiac on relationships - after all, you don’t have to come up with anything of world-shattering importance. It’s not a competition and the other person isn’t going to dwell on your every word, though you should avoid discussing previous relationships, your sex life, illness, marriage and whether you want children. Don’t make an issue of the fact you are single (“I’m so alone all the time …”). You should rather show that you’re someone who can look after yourself, but don’t misrepresent the real you in the process!
Goodbye or Au revoir?
If you liked your date and had an interesting time, then you are going to suggest meeting again. If you’re not sure, you should give things a chance. It’s not as if you are going to have to get married and you might still need some time for the ice to break. If you don’t see any future in it all, just take your leave with a pleasantry such as: “It was very nice to meet you, but I’m not sure we’re a match.” And if you’re on the receiving end of a line like that, it can be tough. It’s not the same as getting the brush-off from someone you have just met at a bar or at a party, where you can make yourself feel better about things by saying that he or she just isn’t open to any possibilities. But the truth of the matter is that you are not going to appeal to everyone. You win some, you lose some - and every date is a new opportunity.