The media and TV shows sometimes make us think that single people are dating all the time. The truth is, most single people don’t go on dates often, and it can be scary and worrying when they do. So the best thing we can do to prepare for a date is: Plan For The Next Day, Focus On What’s Right, Stop Shopping Around.

So maybe we have been set up by a friend, maybe we met someone online, or maybe we met someone briefly somewhere and this is now the official first date.

So what do you do now? How do you prepare?

The obvious answer is to iron your best clothes, put on makeup or trim the beard, and make sure you look nice. But how do you give the date the best chance of success?

Dating Fail

Back when I was dating, I was set up a couple of times with friends of friends. Neither of them went well. I would meet them, think they were great and start texting the next day. I later found out that they thought this was a bit intense. In hindsight, it was too much.

I’ve also had other friends who got excited about their next date, got carried away imagining what he or she will be like and how they would act. Then afterwards, my friends would come away feeling disappointed and upset because their date didn’t perfectly fit the ‘list’ in their head.

Knowing what to do on a date and what to avoid is very important. (Read What Should We Do On A First Date? Part 1) However, there are things we can do before and afterwards which will not only help us avoid the disasters we just read about, but actually increase the chance of success.

3 Dating Tips

The 3 things we can do is:

  • Plan For The Next Day
  • Focus On What’s Right
  • Stop Shopping Around

Plan For The Next Day

This sounds odd, right? I mean, naturally an important event in the week, like a first date, will take our attention and focus. But I think it’s just as important to plan something for the next day too.

This day should involve something you love doing. Playing a sport, going to a museum, meeting up with good friends, watching a film, whatever it is. I say this because it will help us and give us a good perspective, no matter how the date goes.

For example, if it goes badly, doing something we love the next day will not allow it to affect our self-confidence too much. It will allow us to keep a good perspective and realise it’s not the end of the world. It will also allow us to fill up with something good after something bad happened.

Plan something for the next day, it will help protect us and give us time to reflect

Alternatively, if the date went well, it will allow us to create some space. Instead of getting carried away, texting them and jumping in too quickly without knowing how the other person really feels, we will have a distraction that allows us to not rush in and get too intense too quickly.

Plan something for the next day, it will help protect us and give us time to reflect.

Focus On What’s Right

Before we go on a date, we can naturally start to imagine what they will be like, how they will act, their sense of humour, what they like doing. We can easily end up arriving with a mental checklist in our head.

We then make a decision based on how many boxes they tick.

Now I always say we need to think about our values and what is really important to us. And think about the kind of person we want to invest in and grow with. But I also say no-one is perfect. No-one will tick off every single criterion. (Read How Dating Is Like Painting A Room.)

Instead of focusing on what is wrong, on where they ‘fail’, focus on what’s right. Focus on where you connect.

You can allow a romantic spark to grow, instead of trying to force it

Naturally, there will people we date where we realise there isn’t enough in common, or they could say something and a massive alarm bell goes off. That can happen, that’s understandable. But by focusing on what’s really important to us, and focusing on where you connect, you can allow a romantic spark to grow instead of trying to force it via a list.

Stop Shopping Around 

If you have arranged a date with someone, then stop shopping around. Stop arranging dates with other people and commit to what is in front of you.

I have spoken before in more depth about why I think this is a good idea; I believe committing to the relationship in front of us means it has more chance of working, and fosters better relationship principles whether this specific date works out or not (Read What Does Faithfulness Look Like When I’m Dating?).

Give the relationship the best chance of success

It’s best to go into the date looking for ways we connect, and stopping ourselves thinking about other people we may like and arranging other dates. This can give the person in front of us our respect and attention, and give the relationship the best chance of success.

Imagine If…

Imagine if we stopped treating dating like something to fear, and instead focused on the best ways to prepare for it. Imagine going on a date where you both focused on each other, gave yourself the best chance to connect, and were able to keep a healthy perspective no matter how it goes.

The best way to try and do this is to remember: Plan For The Next Day, Focus On What’s Right, Stop Shopping Around.

Is it easy to focus on who’s in front of you when technology now means we can meet more people than ever? Comments welcomed below. 

Originally posted 25/9/2017