It's funny how the things that you once relished and looked forward to can often become less desirable. My recently divorced friend was telling me how she was lonely and would like to find someone new but really didn't fancy going through the torture of a first date. Now this was a woman who in her youth was never short of men offering to take her out, and she was all too willing to be wined and dined on a Friday night. So of course it took me by surprise when she was so set against the idea.
Her thinking was that when she was younger she was in that rhythm, you were out doing things you had interesting stories to tell you looked like you were part of the crowd. But who wants to hear someone go on about taking the kids to school while looking 20 years older than everyone else in the bar.
She described it like the first day of school after summer vacation - putting on these funny clothes you haven't worn for ages, feeling like you're being judged and graded, looking around and seeing everyone else knowing what they're doing.
I think we pile the pressure on ourselves far too much. A first date isn't really anything more than having a chat with someone. Ok it may lead to more. But you know what I mean. If it doesn't work out, well then let it be. Nothing ventured nothing gained.
The first thing to remember if it's been awhile since you've dated is to relax. It's not an exam you're not being judged. Have fun, don't worry about a few silences it's completely normal. If you don't know the other person that well I think a first date at a restaurant or a bar can be a little confrontational if you're already nervous about it. Sitting across from someone can feel like an inquisition. I think the best first dates aren't really dates at all. If you have a spare ticket to see something or there's an interesting exhibition in town it's nice to have company. Having something else to focus on can take a lot of the pressure off. The conversation develops more naturally rather than you struggling to pluck something out of the fast depleting Shiraz.
Should you talk about your kids? Well they are part of your life and I would never say lie about them. If someone's interested in you then it's natural it'll come up. Do watch out for it being a conversation crutch though. If you spend the night talking about your kids thats less of a date and more parents night at your kids school.
If you've been talking online or via our site beforehand it may well not feel like a first date at all. You'll probably already know a lot about each other of course meeting someone face to face is always a little different but getting to know someone before hand can really help ease the nerves if you've been off the dating circuit a while.