The first date is an exploratory one. You meet for a low-key coffee, drink or meal, and you size each other up for mutual interests and sensibilities. You get to know one another, however incompletely, through that old series of softball questions: what do you do, what are your interests, what are you looking for in life?
Then, at the end of the night, when you’ve both decided that, yes, you had a great time together, you make plans to put together a second date. It’s this second date that really counts. It’s the one that’s probably going to determine whether this is something real, or something that’s doomed from the start.
Enter the so-called “second date slump”. It has nothing to do with your chemistry together, or your mutual compatibility; the second date slump is the struggle that all daters feel when faced with the high stakes of a follow-up date. It might manifest itself as strained conversation (you don’t really know what to talk about), premature expectations (trying to push things along too quickly) or forced self-promotion (when you try desperately to oversell yourself).
Don’t let the second date slump ruin a good thing. Before you meet up with your date, keep these simple tips in mind.
Keep It Relaxed and Entertaining
Forget the stakes. Forget what the all-important second date “means” and just have a relaxed, fun time together. Take your date somewhere low key but exciting, like axe throwing, where you can enjoy some lighthearted activity and competition, but still leave room for conversation. Take your date axe throwing – or some similarly fun activity – is way preferable to sitting across from one another at a bar, sizing each other up again.
Be Exactly Yourself
Don’t undersell yourself in a bid to appear modest. And definitely don’t oversell yourself in a bid to look cool or successful. Most people can see right through that (or, at least, the people that you want to date should be able to see right through that) and it only sets you up for failure down the line.
Listen and Learn
In an attempt to add as much value to the conversation as possible, you might find that you’re blabbing, that you aren’t leaving room for your date to speak and be understood. Throughout the conversation, do your best to listen and learn. If you find it’s your date that’s doing all the talking… well, then that’s a separate problem.
Resist Doing a Postmortem
The second date is over, and you’ve gone home. Restlessly, as you fall asleep, you run over everything you said, wondering if it was wrong or weird. Everyone’s been there before. It’s not an especially helpful exercise, so when the second date ends, just move forward. If it went well, text your date in a couple days, and if it didn’t go well, don’t sweat it.
If all goes well, congratulations: you’ve cleared the second date slump, and you’re into third date success territory!