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Fun and Successful First Dates: Your Guide to Kissing Fewer Frogs

Many people are so eager to meet their soul mate, they enter the dating arena with the single-minded agenda of finding 'the one!'

Does the very thought of going on one more first date make you cringe? Are you starting to wonder if you'll ever find that special someone or if maybe you'd be better off staying single? Well line up and bow to Sensei, because I'm going to show you how to stop wasting your time on awkward, painful first dates and start enjoying the process of getting to know new people and learning what type of person best fits you. Not only might the dating journey lead to an incredible match, but you may just make some lifelong friends along the way while learning a LOT about yourself.

Many people are so eager to meet their soul mate, they enter the dating arena with the single-minded agenda of finding "the one"! And while it's true that a first date may lead to a lifetime with a very special someone, or even to a great friendship, you are better served by just relaxing and enjoying the date. Whether it's the only date you'll have with this person, or the first date of a lifetime, there's plenty you can learn about the kind of person you're looking for, what feels right and what most definitely does not!

Think of dating as a process of opening to possibilities, revealing yourself to new people and new ideas, then honing in on the qualities that best fit you. Do your best to keep an open mind, so you don't miss something or someone wonderful and unexpected. With this approach, you'll have more fun and far less "performance" anxiety.

Keep first (and second and third) dating light and casual. Go somewhere that allows for easy conversation. Go for a walk in a park or botanic gardens, to the zoo, or out to lunch, drinks, or brunch. Take the time to share a bit about yourself and listen to what your date is sharing (or not sharing!). Avoid the temptation to tell your date everything you can spit out in an hour. If you're compatible, you'll have plenty of time in the future to share your thoughts and dreams, as well as "confess" to all of your past misdeeds, if you so choose. If you're not compatible, think of this as honing skills for future dating.

You'll be happy to hear that the stress of a first date can be lessened with a bit of forethought. Before the date, think about things you might share and questions you could ask your date. Excellent topics of conversation include places you've traveled, what you do for fun, family, pets (don't overdo this, and NO pet voices!), music, movies, TV shows, and current events. Be sure to stop to ask questions and listen to the answers. Heavy-duty topics (tmi!) should be avoided on a first date and early dating. Taboo topics include exes, death, serious politics, your medical history, finances—anything that might overwhelm the person you've just met. If your date broaches these topics, gently redirect to something less serious. Conversation is an art, but its mastery will help you get to know someone new and allow them to get to know you too!

Find at least one positive take away from each date: qualities you admire, energy and chemistry that feels good, what makes someone interesting. Even a disaster date provides important information about your dislikes, tolerances, and dealbreakers. Even if you aren't attracted to this particular date, these discoveries are important and will benefit your future dating. So, take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy!

p.s. If sometime toward the end of the date you feel you'd like to get to know this person better, find an opportunity to ask for a second date! To learn how For excellent ideas about how to ask, read "Don't Be Shy! How to Ask for a Second Date."

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