8 Wichi-Tips for a Successful Summer Date Pt: 1 of 2
Woo hoo! You’ve been texting/talking to someone new for the last few days (or weeks) and one of you worked up the courage to the other one out. Don’t drop the ball now – start planning your first meet!
I know this can feel like a crap-shoot, especially if you don’t know much about their habits and preferences. You want to plan your date so that he or she has a good time and because planning shows a level of interest. To simplify the planning process so you can focus on what’s truly important, here are the first four of my eight tips for a successful summer date – in Wichita!
Get Your Mind Right
One of the most important things to do before you even set up an online dating profile or leave the house is setting up your mental game. All battles are won or lost before the first shot is fired. The same is true in dating. While you can’t predict whether you’ll be deeply attracted to each other or have hot chemistry (or even long-term compatibility) you can make sure you’re in the right headspace in case that happens.
If you start talking to someone feeling undesirable, unworthy, bitter, or defeated, that negative energy will permeate what you say and do. Your own self-doubt will sabotage any chance the two of you might have had. This is why I teach many of my clients the practice of self-compassion. When we learn to be loving and compassionate toward ourselves, we naturally become more loving, accepting, and compassionate toward others.
If the term self-compassion made your eyes roll or you drew a blank, I get it. It’s easy to misunderstand. Sometimes it sounds too woo-woo to be a worthy of working on. But science has proven that adopting self-compassion can have a perceptible impact on our lives.
The goal is to give up thought patterns and behavior patterns that reflect self-judgment and replace it with self-kindness. This also means you get to stop ruminating on all the bad dates or failed relationships. It’s a part of a mindfulness practice which helps us realize that all humans fail and make mistakes, that all life experiences are necessarily flawed and imperfect. Rather than feeling alienated from others when things go wrong (because yah, sometimes dating is hard and relationships are painful), self-compassion actually underscores our connectedness. We teach our clients how to lean into the fear, be brave enough to hope for something wonderful, and put yourself out there anyway. Then just relax and have fun.
Pick a Great Location
The location you choose sets the tone for your date – Are you going for a chill, sophisticated, or whimsical? It’s best to pick a familiar (but not crowded or noisy) low-pressure place where you can focus on getting to know each other and forging a connection. For wine and craft cocktails, I like Cana. For ice cream, I like Little Lion. For craft beer I like CSB. And for coffee I like Sente. The casual but unique environment of these places serves as a good backdrop for engaging, no-pressure conversation. If you’re not vibing, you can leave after the first drink. But if you hit it off, you can extend the date by going for a walk or playing a game.
Preparation meets Opportunity: Connect through Conversation
If you’re anxious or shy, the most challenging part of a first date is trying to have an engaging conversation with someone you hardly know. As dating coaches, my partner and I have developed some “power openings” and conversational strategies to keep the banter rolling. We don’t teach cheesy pick-up lines (though talking about icky pick-up lines you’ve heard can be a funny conversational topic!) We also teach how to pay sincere compliments and steer clear of attempts at humor that are executed poorly and doomed for failure. If you come armed with conversation topics that show you are curious, intelligent and have fun or interesting things going on in your life, you’re equipped for dating conversation!
Learn from the Past
If you’re having a hard time moving past bad dating experiences, focus on what you can learn from them rather than dwelling on what went wrong. All of us (whether we want to admit it or not) have probably been unkind or unfair – on a date or in a relationship. So, ask yourself: Is there anything I could have done to improve that situation? In my way of thinking, there’s very rarely an irredeemably “bad date” or “bad relationship” because there’s something to be learned from just about all of them.
Too often, we expect something from others first, and then we’re angry or disappointed when they don’t deliver it. Remember, the person across the table from you is hoping and expecting YOU to bring something awesome to the table – just as you are hoping for the same from them.
Also, consider that our dating/relationship histories may say more about us than they say about the other people we were involved with. Take time to self-reflect and understand yourself so that you can take responsibility for how you may have contributed to bad situations and grow from them. Then you’ll truly be in a position to put your best foot forward.
Next month, I’ll finish this two-part series with 4 more tips. In the meantime, don’t be a stranger! Share some of your best dating tips (or worst dating stories!) on the Facebook group The Date Maven: Dating Advice for Elevated Singles. It’s a select community of professional, growth-minded single men and women who’ve come together (online) for camaraderie and support and to elevate the dating game!
About Suzanna Mathews
Suzanna is a writer-turned-media personality-turned-educator-turned-entrepreneur who's passionate about helping single men and women to experience love an social connection. AS a dating coach and matchmaker she is responsible for creating mindset tools, social strategies, and digital strategies that help her clients elevate dating and deepen connections. When she isn't working, you'll find Suzanna listening to EDM music and trying new recipes.