Katherine Bouglai, April 2011
It is so natural and normal to feel awkward on a date, the dating package comes with feeling uncomfortable the same way roses come with thorns. There is simply no way around it, unless you’ve only been dating your high school sweetheart and only had one relationship in your life. Even then, I bet there probably were some awkward moments when you first met.
Awkwardness on a date usually means that you’re feeling some kind of pressure. Usually you are the one creating it. You may pressure yourself to perform, try to look the best you can, impress the girl, be nice, try to have fun, find something to talk about quickly, make sure he/she doesn’t notice that you’re feeling nervous, etc. For some people this awkwardness is so intense, they actually avoid dating and even people they’re attracted to. Others enjoy feeling this awkward because it associates with something pleasant – physical and sexual attraction.
You may also feel awkward when you’re on a date with someone you are not attracted to right away, someone you either barely know or just met. The truth is, when you’re on a date with somebody who is really nervous or unsettled, this person is shut down and you’re not really getting to know the real him or her.
You may be on a date with your future husband or wife, but you really have to give it a chance to find out for sure. Don’t assume that just because it went awkward, you will never hear from this person again or they don’t want to hear from you. If it’s meant to be, you will have another date in spite of how weird the first one was.
One of the keys to really transform your dating experience from dragging to meaningful is to be willing to feel the awkwardness.
If you chose to accept it as being a valid feeling, this will actually make a difference. Sometimes you may even chose to verbally admit it to your date that you’re feeling nervous. But beware of your intent. If you say it with an intention to explain yourself or get an approval from your date, it may be a turn off. But if your intent is to just be honest, admitting that you have no control over your feelings and the other person feelings, your authenticity will be attractive.
Many people believe that having a few drinks is a good solution. I would have to warn you on that. If you think that having a glass of wine will help you relax and be more open, unless you have reasons not to drink, I’d say go for it. But it’s not a good idea to push it further.
First of all, having more than one drink in front of your date or smelling like alcohol when you show up would be a red flag for any healthy person who doesn’t want to end up in a co-dependent relationship. Second, alcohol will not only numb your feelings of awkwardness, it will also make you forget about your values and that is the last thing you want.
If you want to attract a healthy loving relationship that works for you, you want to start practicing having a healthy relationship with every date you have before it goes any further. That means never bending or dismissing your values for anyone, no matter how attracted you are to this person, no matter how good you want to look in front of him or her.