6 Easy Steps to Having First Date Confidence

ThinkstockPhotos-487174973It's a date! Whether you mustered up the courage to suggest a get-together with the cutie on your bus route or it was specially arranged by one of our matchmakers at It's Just Lunch, you are probably experiencing a bit of the first date jitters. You know, that butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling. Those feelings can be exacerbated for those of us who have been out of the dating scene for a bit, wrapped in our careers or in another relationship. 

The best thing about those feelings -- they're totally normal. We all want to look good and put our best foot forward. It's normal to be nervous about whether or not you kiss on the first date, who pays (hint: if it's through IJL, the check is split) or what to wear. Our minds are programmed to get us worked up by triggering anxiety over "what if" scenarios. It has helped us survive centuries.

But dating has changed, and the key to surviving first dates isn't about living through the night (at least not for the majority of us). It comes down to confidence.

Don't believe me?

Have you ever known men or women who aren't necessarily "10s" on the attraction scale, but they never lack for friends or dates? What makes them so attractive, you may wonder? Confidence. These people are glowing with bright, friendly, fun attitudes and they have a genuine interest in others. They're happy with who they are and know what they have to offer. Think of confidence as a positive energy that pulls others to you.

Self-confidence produces amazing results. Here's why:

  • It's sexy
  • It allows you to relax and live in the moment (not worrying about what may happen or things that were said)
  • It means you take rejection lightly, not personally
  • It means you're content with yourself, your looks and life, which adds to your attraction

So, how can you up your confidence for your next big date? Well, us matchmakers at It's Just Lunch Vancouver have a few ideas:

Ease Into the Evening
Many of us are going full steam ahead before rushing out the door for our lunch or dinner dates. Whoa! If you are in a hurry or rushing about, you will bring that same anxiety to the Italian restaurant with you. Slow down. Give yourself about 30 minutes to decompress from the day and shift your focus to what lies ahead. A little bit of separation will gear you up for the date and present you in a better light.

Put a Positive Spin on the Self Talk
Take a few moments before a first date to give yourself a bit of a pep talk. A new study from the University of Illinois, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology says a little bit of self talk may be the best thing to boost your dating success.  According to an article on Fast Company.com, "previous studies have found self-talk can boost willpower and help you psych yourself up when you need to calm nerves" before a first date.

The study also found that the pronoun we use to talk to ourselves matters. Using the pronoun "you" when talking to yourself can help elevate your confidence and give you that "can-do" attitude.

Dating is About Enjoying Life
Approach dating as if you are looking to meet a new friend or widen your circle of contacts. By looking beyond the end goal of finding a lifemate, you will experience the joy along the way. Think of it as an experiment or trying on clothes. Not every pair of jeans is a great fit -- but when you find one that is, it lasts a lifetime. Open yourself to the idea that you are just browsing and that it doesn't have to work out. Remember it is just a date. Stay in the moment and enjoy what it offers you.

Accentuate the Positive
It's easy to spot our flaws (yet another survival technique that may be out of date). It is within our nature to notice what is lacking or missing. But not on a date. Share your strengths and unique qualities. Build yourself up rather than working on tearing yourself down. First impressions are everything. Keep the date in a positive light.

Your Date is Human Too
Remember that the person on the other end is a person too. They have emotions just like you and are most likely just as nervous. Relax in this acknowledgment. Treat the other person as you would want to be treated and, most likely, you'll have a successful evening. Even if you don't work out as lovers, perhaps you will meet a new friend. Each person we meet brings to us a new point of view, a new perspective to see the world. Even if you never meet this person again, there is something he can teach you. Try looking at your date from this perspective and you find it much easier to relax and be confident for the experience.

Smile
A genuine smile goes a long way. It's friendly, warm, open, and inviting, Try not to focus so much on the end result of the date and just be happy to be having the experience. Greet your date with a smile, smile throughout the date, and say goodbye with a smile.

Good luck!

This post originally appeared on It's Just Lunch Vancouver's blog


Should You Reveal You’re a Sports Fan to Your Date?

ThinkstockPhotos-147067540In the midst of March Madness, it appears everyone is a sports fan . . . at least for the month. An estimated 40 million Americans fill out brackets for March Madness – otherwise known as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament – with the average person filling out nearly two brackets, for a grand total of 70 million brackets. That’s more than the number of ballots cast for either candidate in the 2012 presidential election. Sad, but true. 

And while you might know to steer clear of controversial topics like politics on your first few dates, you might not think to tone down your interest in sports. A recent survey conducted by It’s Just Lunch suggests perhaps you should. 

Sports can ruin relationships 

We’re being serious. Nearly 20 percent of respondents in the survey revealed they’ve had a previous relationship ruined by sports. The younger the respondent, the more likely they were to say sports had sabotaged a relationship, with a staggering one-in-three 18- to 24-year-olds saying sports had gotten in the way. 

Women were more likely to say the source of the angst was the amount of time and money spent on sports, while men were more likely to admit that a bad mood after a “crappy game” caused the fight. 

 

Stay away from stadiums and arenas 

There’s a reason It’s Just Lunch sends couples to lunch for their first date instead of say a baseball game. It’s a low-pressure atmosphere where you aren’t stuck trying to talk between pitches for three hours. 

Not sold yet? Check out the results of our survey: over 30 percent of men in the survey said they’d rather not go to a sporting event on a first date, along with 23 percent of the women. Those who thought it was a bad idea thought it was a really bad idea: 

Gamble on love, not sports 

Two billion dollars is expected to be wagered on March Madness this year, with the average person spending $29 per bracket. Whether you’re doing some serious damage in Vegas or throwing money in a jar for the office pool, you might be exhibiting qualities potential mates don’t find attractive. 

Nearly one-third of men and women who participated in our survey indicated they weren’t interested in dating someone who bets on sports. Another fifty percent said it depended on the amount of money being wagered. 

Our advice? Gamble on love, not sports. 

How important are sports? 

Despite the somewhat tumultuous relationship between sports and dating, don’t be surprised if sports comes up on the first date, however. Especially if you’re under 35-years-old. Twenty-five percent of 25- to 34-year olds in the survey said their partner must like sports and be willing to go to and watch games. That percentage dropped to 16 percent among 35- to 44-year olds and 13 percent among 45- to 54-year olds. 

If you find your conversation turning to sports, remember that most things are fine in moderation. And if you think you might be tempted to watch the game on a television over your date’s shoulder in the restaurant (and scream about how much you hate Kentucky), maybe wait until after the tournament is over to head out on that first date.  

Are you still looking for your match? Let the matchmakers at It's Just Lunch help you. Get started today by calling us at 1-800-489-7897 or click here to tell us a little about yourself. 


Dating Communication: Call, Text, Email or Social Media?

466698613With so many methods of communication these days, it can be tough to know how you should contact someone once you’re interested in them. It can be easier to text, email, tweet, or write on their Facebook wall, but are there times when you really should pick up the phone and call? 

In a survey conducted by It’s Just Lunch of over 26,000 singles on how technology impacts relationships, 65 percent of respondents said they were more likely to text than call after swapping phone numbers with someone to whom they’re attracted. Nearly half of them indicated they interacted with their love interest on social media either daily or weekly. 

Let’s face it: typing is easier than talking for most people, especially when nerves and feelings are involved. Just because it’s the easy thing to do though doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do

Here are four instances to watch out for when it comes to your means of communication:

Plan dates over the phone 

There’s a time and a place for texts, emails and social media, but it’s not when planning dates early in your relationship. 

“Ultimately, relationships are built on communication,” said Julie Lopez, head of matchmaking at It’s Just Lunch. “The best way to develop a healthy line of communication is to start from day one.” 

Want to shoot the other person a quick message to tell them you had a great time on your date? Feel free to pull out your phone and fire off a short text or email. 

Never drink and text 

This one isn’t just a no-no for texting and other forms of messaging, it applies to phone calls as well. Rarely will anything good come from a drunk message. It’s entirely likely you’ll come off as immature if it’s obvious you’re drinking. It’s not outside the realm of possibility you might sound like a jerk. Plus, if you send one drunk message, you’ll probably send ten. Now you’re annoying. 

Not to mention liquid courage tends to make people say things they might not otherwise be ready to say, which leads us to our next inappropriate situation for typing . . . . 

Feelings should be verbalized 

When you need to express a feeling for the first time - whether that’s affection, love, disappointment or anger - it shouldn’t be through a device. It all goes back to developing communication as the bedrock of your relationship. If you can’t express your feelings to their face now, you may continue struggling to express those feelings throughout your relationship. 

Of course, if you’re already saying “I love you” in person, feel free to text, tweet, email or shout it from the rooftops. Just don’t let that first time the other person knows your true feelings be on a telephone screen. 

No fighting and typing 

Don’t be a coward. If you’re upset, speak with the other person (preferably in person). Without tone or body language, it’s easy for both sides to misinterpret the issue. 

Ultimately, the biggest danger in using technology to communicate for any of these reasons is the potential for misinterpretation and misunderstanding. One of the top reasons - if not the top reason - relationships fail is because of a lack of communication. Interacting via text, email and social media is fine for a quick, light-hearted message but should never be your primary means of communicating. 

Are you still looking for your match? Let the matchmakers at It's Just Lunch help you. Get started today by calling us at 1-800-489-7897 or click here to tell us a little about yourself.


Can Remote Working Affect Your Relationship Status?

470761319Did you know the average telecommuter is a 49-year-old college graduate who works for a company of 100 or more? Remote working is no longer reserved for part-timers or working mothers, it's one of the fastest growing benefits for workers.

What impact might this trend be having on romantic relationships? That's what we'd like to know!

Whether you've spent part of your career as a telecommuter or not, please take a few minutes to complete the following survey. We'll share the results once the survey is complete.

You can take the survey below or click here to take a mobile-friendly version. 

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Work Keeping You out of the Dating Game? Check Again.

479146411It's been a trending phrase for months, if not years: work-life balance. It's about finding that elusive sweet spot where your personal and professional life balance, not taking too much out of the other.

However, the idea of "when you're at work, you're at work" is slightly outdated. The truth of it is, our lives have become a beautifully blended mash-up of our hobbies, activities, relationships and goals. We've allowed segments of our lives to bleed into other areas.

If you’re like most professional singles, you may have forgotten what it means to have personal time because you’ve dedicated any free time you do get to growing your career or business. The lines may have even started blurring if your social life revolves around work like it does for so many professionals who spend most of their waking days with clients, colleagues and associates.

Have you ever placed you phone on the table during a date? Just in case something important comes in from the front lines at the office? We are a distracted society that has yet to find a balance between our life demands.

What it comes down to is what is important to you and how much control over the situation YOU THINK you have. You have the power to turn your phone off or at least on vibrate. Most emails can wait the few hours you are spending on a date. It is up to you to set the boundaries within your life. What matters to you?

Just like you need to put time in at the gym to stay in shape, you have to put in the time to dating if you have any shot at meeting worthy of your time and affections. Analyze how you’re really spending your time (binge watching Netflix originals? Surfing the net?) and make the changes needed so you can get more focused on your relationship goals.

In summary, finding balance between love and career is all about segmenting your time, and taking the right actions during time dedicated to improving your personal and professional life. Everyone has their own schedule, but everyone has more free time at their disposal than they realize.

This post originally appeared on It's Just Lunch Vancouver's blog