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5 First Date Problems and How To Solve Them

First dates are a tricky thing – they could potentially be the gateway to spending the rest of your life with someone. Or, failing that, you’ve got an amusing story to tell your mates down the pub. Now, if you’re anything like me, you’re a bag of nerves when it comes to first dates – all that small talk! All that awkwardness! First dates are rife with potential problems, but I’m going to help you out on the quest for love…

1. Showing up late or early

Let’s be honest – no one wants to be seen as a eager beaver when it comes to punctuality. But who really wants to turn up an hour late, sweating and huffing as they’ve just run full pelt from the bus stop?

The key is to turn up fashionably late – about 10 minutes should do it. Being 10 minutes late signifies that your delayed time of arrival isn’t accidental, but it’s also late enough to not make you look too keen.

My top tip is to stop off at a pub or a bar first en route to your date – this way, you can have a bit of Dutch courage in an attempt to calm your nerves.

2. Small talk

Ah, the dreaded small talk, where two people discuss the weather, and weather in the future, and weather in the past, and any other banal topic they can think of.

Now, small talk is the worst, the absolute worst. This is why it’s a good idea to make a mental list of topics to talk about, so that when the conversation hits an inevitable lull, you’ll be armed with a topical comment or two.

Maybe make a list of current TV programmes, news stories, top 5 films – things that aren’t ultra personal, but will hopefully entice a healthy conversation out of your date.

And if all else fails, talk about the weather…

3. Not finding them interesting

You can’t help who you’re not attracted to, much as in the same way that you can’t help who you are attracted to. You should make no apology for this.

But the biggie (for me, anyway) is humour – if a guy can’t make me laugh, I don’t care how gorgeous he is, he’s outta here. I know it’s a massive cliché (and also a bit of a lie) to say that looks don’t matter, but humour is something that can’t be overlooked.

If all they talk about is their cat, or their job and they obviously don’t have any interesting stories or opinions or anecdotes, then is it really worth sticking around? I mean, by all means give them a second chance, but if you do not find them amusing in the slightest, can you really imagine spending your whole life with them.

4. Splitting the bill

This is a bit of a grey area – who pays the bill at the end of the date? A recent study by Chapman University, California of 17,000 men and women in the US showed that 84% of men and 58% of women agreed that men should foot the bill, even when the couples had been together for a long time.

But this is 2015, and gender equality and all that, so I guess it doesn’t really matter – as long as there’s not a standoff at the end of the date where clearly none of you want to pay, there’s no harm in splitting the bill between you.

It makes it clear you’re independent and can pay your own way, and that is only ever a good thing.

5. Have fun!

Now, this shouldn’t really be a tip, but all too often people on dates forget to just relax. We’re so consumed with how we look, how successful we are, how we come across, that we overlook the fact that all we’re doing is having dinner and/or drinks with someone new, someone who hasn’t heard our best jokes and stories before. Anything that happens after that should be a bonus – it’s essentially an evening out with an attractive man or woman.

Obviously the whole point of a date is to potentially progress into a lasting relationship, but rather than stressing about if they’re going to like you, or if you’ll hear off them again, just relax and have fun.

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