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  • Writer's pictureDr Joanne Stuart

Dating and ways to survive it - First Date

First Date

It is impossible to know how a first date may go or how your date experiences it. You might think they did not enjoy themselves when they did. Research shows we cannot know exactly what our long-term partners are thinking at any given moment, so how can we know what a stranger is thinking? For the sake of brevity, lets stick to the two obvious ways it could go badly - either you don't like your date, or they don’t like you. If you don’t like your date, then ideally you would have already thought about an out. I would suggest, for a first date, only meet for a quick coffee/drink to see what your thoughts are. Meeting someone in the flesh can be quite different to meeting them on a video call. If you like them and they you, then you can arrange to meet again.


Mind reading

Okay, let’s assume you have met your date, and you like them but then your daemons arrive, threatening to throw your efforts to the wind.  'You are not good enough!' They cry. They blind you to what is actually going on and only allow you to see negatives. One of the most important things to do when we are enjoying a first date is that we MUST NOT MIND READ. This is where we assume we know what someone else is thinking when we have no idea what they are thinking.Research shows we cannot know exactly what our long-term partners are thinking at any given moment, so how can we know what a stranger is thinking?


'Body language' I hear you cry.

Piffle is my response. A good example of this is when someone yawns. You might immediately jump on the idea that you are boring them. But what else could it be? They could have been up all night worrying about the date. They could be an insomniac. They could have slept badly due to work commitments or because they were out enjoying themselves. Who knows? Ideally, of course, people would understand how a yawn may come across and try to hide it, but most people will be focusing on whatever is going in their own mind, which can get in the way of empathy. On the other hand, your date may well be bored but assuming they are won’t do you any favours.

First Date

Here is one suggestion for a first date. Do look at the other blogs in this series about the first date.


Keep the effort in check.


It is important to remember that thousands of years of evolution will impact on how someone experiences us. If we are overly keen when we really do not know someone, this suggests we would accept anyone. If we would accept anyone, it gives off the impression, often unconsciously, that we are not that great.


  • I do not advocate the 'treat them mean and keep them keen' advice either. There are two red flags here. If we are the person who remains in a relationship where someone is treating us badly, we are not protecting our psychological health. In the long-run, such relationship will impact on our confidence and sense-of self and should be avoided.

  • On the other hand, if we go on to a date with the idea that the way to someone's heart is to be mean to them but we are not fundamentally a mean person, then we are beginning the relationship on false pretences. How will that play out in the long-term?

  • If we approach dating with the idea 'if someone does not fit with what I am looking for then I will move on (not matter how long I have been looking), then this will give the impression we are not going to settle for just anyone. If we just focus on how someone looks and what we think they are like, or that we are so desperate to have a relationship we will accept anything, in the long run it is more likely that we will get hurt.

First Date

Top dating tips: The first date.

  • Subtly find out if your date is what you are looking for in a long-term partner. Remember physical attraction is only one part of the puzzle. if you would like to have a long-term relationship there is a lot you need to find out about your date.

  • Remember in the long-term, you will want to be with someone who makes you feel good. Watch how they treat you, how they treat others, how they talk about people. This all gives clues to who they are.

  • Go into a date being you. If you try to be something you are not, you will be found out in the end. And remember, maybe you are just what they are looking for. If you don’t be you, how can you find out if you are just fine the way you are?

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