Each week, Miami dating expert Nikki Novo gives us advice on finding love in this hopeless place. Today: How to avoid sabotaging your first night out with someone special.
You have the perfect outfit. Your date actually confirmed. And you're just minutes away from your first outing with a pretty cool person. Now, don't screw it up. No pressure, ok?
While I don't believe in one-size-fits-all dating rules, I do believe there are a few behaviors you can steer clear from on a first date to avoid the post-date hangover of regrets. I'm referring to that feeling you get when you start second-guessing everything that happened the day before. Did you talk too much? Should you not have said that thing about Cuban people -- or Cuban food? Yep, those are the remnants of a post-date hangover.
How to avoid that sour taste? Read on to learn about five things no one should be doing on a first date. Unless, of course, you're a contestant on The Bachelor.
1. Don't Plan for the Future
How many times have you caught yourself liking your date so much that you start imaging how everything would work out once you move in with each other? You begin to think, will he really give me the bigger closet? just as he's telling you where he attended university. Stop that right now!
Girls, we're more likely to partake in this future planning business than guys are, but that doesn't mean we can't get a hold of ourselves. Besides this being crazy behavior, when you begin to let your mind wander to some future time that doesn't even exist, you're missing out on the fun date that is happening right in front of you, in that moment. And you know all that anxiety you feel days later when he hasn't texted as much as you expected? Well, because you've already planned your wedding with the dude, you've become so attached that you fear losing this imaginary happiness. Plus, you begin to second-guess everything that happened on the date because you weren't really there to experience it all.
The alternative is to truly enjoy the date and not get caught up in what will happen next. I don't mean to get all Power-of-Now on you, but honestly, you're missing out on an awesome date biking through Miami Beach if your mind is somewhere two years from now. When it comes to dating, don't get ahead of yourself and watch the anxiety slip away. In the meantime, enjoy your date, the moment, and the scenery. You deserve it.
2. Don't Bring You Baggage with You
We all have baggage. The girl who dumped you out of blue last year still lingers in your heart. The guy(s) who said they would call, but never even sent a Facebook message.
Putting yourself out there isn't easy, and there will always be risks for your heart. But if you continue to carry that old baggage, you'll only experience more of the old patterns you've been trying to avoid.
Even if you don't speak one word of your last heartbreak, the energy you bring and the assumptions you carry will sabotage your date. Just imagine if you would go into the date without the assumption that all girls are gold-diggers and all guys have Peter Pan syndrome. Wouldn't that relieve you of so much stress? Can't you just imagine how much lighter you would feel if you would drop that baggage? You may actually be able to enjoy yourself! And who knows, your date may be someone way different than you imagined -- in a good way. If you want any chance at a second date, leave your baggage at the door.
3. Don't Talk Too Much
Hi, my name is Nikki Novo, and I am a recovering over-sharer. Many of us tend to talk a lot just because we're nervous or to avoid any gaps of silence. Can you think of anything worse than a gap of silence? Awk-ward.
The problem with talking too much on a first date is not just for obvious reasons, but because you're missing out on getting to know the person on the other side of the table. And isn't that what makes these sometimes torturous outings worthwhile?
Another reason you want to avoid spilling the beans is because you want to remain a bit of a mystery. There's no fun in reading an entire book in one sitting. The best is that time in between your next sitting, when you can't stop thinking about the novel's characters because you're dying to know more. Think about it.
An lastly, there's no better way to avoid the post-date hangover than if while on your date you made mindful conversation. Meaning, you didn't just speak to speak. Your words had meaning and substance.
4. Don't Not Listen
Not listening during a date goes hand-in-hand with talking too much. But not listening can be more damaging. Why? Because you may leave your date with a totally different understanding of the person you went out with simply because you did not take the time to truly listen.
Honest listening is hard to do, but all it takes is some practice. First, you want to make sure you're hearing the person out without bringing in your own judgments about what they're saying. Don't judge; just listen and observe.
The other trick is to listen fully. Meaning, don't only hear what you want to hear. Listen to the entire sentence and conversation. For example, your date might mention that he wants a serious relationship, but within the same breath he mentions that he's still hung up on his ex-girlfriend. Those of us who like to hear what we want to hear will have only paid attention to the serious relationship part and completely disregard the ex-girlfriend bit. A few months later when he dumps you with that lasting phrase, "It's not you, it's me," you're totally surprised. Shocking, right?
If you truly listen, your date will show you who s/he really is. Let them, and then believe them.
5. Don't Have Sex
Hold your horses, liberals. I'm not saying to completely brush aside the idea of sex on a first date. I'm not saying that at all. What I want you to do is have a serious conversation with yourself about the birds and the bees -- the kind your parents forgot to have with you.
Sex on a first date can be so much fun, and it could even lead to a lasting relationship. But if you're giving it up for the wrong reasons, you're setting yourself up for disaster, disappointment, and shame.
So, how do you know if you're giving it up for the wrong reasons? If there's even a tiny bit of you that thinks sex will bring the two of you closer or make you appear more desirable, do not do it. You're not in the right place to enjoy the fun that can come from intimacy. And there's nothing wrong with that! You just have to be honest with yourself, and know where you are in life.
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Many of us use sex as a way to create the illusion of a bond. Just because you are physically connected does not mean you are forming the kind of connection needed to create a lasting relationship. It's a complete lie -- and both parties can feel it. Plus, this type of ulterior motive always results in clinginess.
Other times, you may use sex because you feel your hot Miami body is the only thing you have to offer. First off, it's not a thing -- it's you. And second, you're beautiful because you are, well, you. But if you don't see that, no one else will.