Dating is bound to be awkward at times, especially on the first date. This is because most people are usually a little nervous in this type of situation, even if they already know each other. While some dates can be awkward for a host of reasons — such as unexpected drama or revealing too much too soon — there are many ways to prevent and handle potentially awkward (and minor) dating scenarios with style.
Below are some tips for how to be on your best behavior on a first (or second, or fourth) date so that you can handle any awkward situations that come your way. Try out some of the below methods, and fingers crossed, your next date will be as smooth as can be.
This Isn’t a Job Interview
There are a lot of ways that a date is going to feel like a job interview at times: you want to get to know the other person, see if she’s a good fit for you, and learn about her strengths and weaknesses, for starters. But the date shouldn’t feel like a one-sided grilling session. If your date is treating you like you’re a candidate for a job or aggressively questioning you in a detached manner, confront her about it (in a nice way!). Make a joke, ask if you could slow things down, or make an effort to change the topic. Try following up with a question for her, but in a more casual and natural manner. Maybe she’ll get the hint. If these attempts don’t work after several tries, be direct with her about how you feel. Worst case scenario, you’re not a good fit and need to go your separate ways.
Your Date Has Food in Her Teeth
This certainly can be an awkward moment on a date, but it isn’t something to ignore. Most people have a preferred way of handling this situation, but because you likely just met your date, you don’t know the best way to let her know she has food stuck in her teeth. The best first approach is often the subtle approach. To help her get the hint, make a comment about food getting stuck in your own teeth or ask her if you have anything in your teeth. The direct approach is also an option to take (if done in a kind manner), but it’s good to be aware that some people are bothered by this approach. Still, this is a better option than not telling your date at all. She might be hurt or embarrassed that you didn’t mention it, or worse, feel like you can’t tell her hard truths (no matter how small). And that’s not a good first impression to make.
A first date is the time to be on your best behavior, and that includes proper check etiquette. When the check comes, offer to split it or pay for it. Don’t assume that your date will pick up the check. Practice your poker face (à la Lady Gaga) beforehand so you’re prepared to handle any potentially sticky situations, such as a check that is more expensive than you thought it would be. Whether you or your date handles the check, don’t show her your hand, even if you’re worried about the amount. (If you are worried, vow to be more mindful in the future of how much you’re spending.) This way, you’ll appear relaxed and mature, as opposed to anxious and a little financially irresponsible.
The main thing to remember during an awkward dating situation is to relax and take a deep breath. Whatever it is might not be a big deal in reality or even to the other person. We all make mistakes and say or do the wrong thing at times. Don’t beat yourself up about it, laugh at it when you can, and try to let it go. And remember: you’ve got this.