In support of mental health awearness week in the UK.
First date nights that go from butterflies to anxiety
You walk into the date venue feeling quite on top of it all, you immediately recognize your date, walk over somewhat self-aware about how you look as you cross the room, you say,
“Hi, make a quick nervous joke, wait for a bit and then you invite yourself to sit down, before you fall down, as to your almost joke, absolutely no response, none, nothing, a stone wall, an iceberg, the great unknown, the black hole, a complete nothingness looking back at you. Not even a hand shake!
Now your gut is screaming, walk out now!
But your education and somewhat optimistic personality is suggesting that, you “remain seated, give it a try, why not I am here”, during this internal monologue, your entire nervous system is trying to proses both rational thought (give it a go), and survival instinct (get the hell out of here),and as they continue to violently oppose each other with hardest of pulls like a tug-of-war going on inside between your body and mind, you smile look around and remain quite firmly put. In others words you go against your gut feeling to flee and you remain. (Rather like Brexit!)
After a rather long silence, you’re wondering why your date made and is still not making an attempt to help you feel more at ease, ok so your joke attempt was a non-runner, but why were you not greeted as you approached the table, why no encouragement nor invitation to sit down? Your empathetic streak tells you, that it’s surely because your date is shy or in the same state of nerves as yourself, this explanation clearly indicates just how understanding you are …
Now comes the perfect excuse to relax, well it is drink o’clock after all, and a drink always takes the edge off things, so you pick up the drinks and cocktail menu and ask your date. “Was there something that caught your eye?” And you look over desperately trying to establish reassuring eye contact, as you make yet another attempt at some humor.
Your date looks at you with absolutely no facial expression what so ever, not even a light twinkle in the eyes, no emotionless, no smile, no nervous movement, not the slightest hint that your date wishes to leave, feels un at ease or embarrassed, there is no nervous leg moving of any kind, just a very closed person, then after what seems like a very long while, your date very blandly answers you with “Well, either we can go Dutch on a bottle of red or each to their own on the cocktails”…
Once again your gut is saying go, run, flee, escape, make a runner, be gone, SOS, get the hell out of here, and yet still you calmly remain seated, now you are suppling logic and reason to the rather unfriendly answer you received about the drinks proposal, now you are thinking that maybe this was some kind of a test, to see how you react under pressure, so you calmly suggest the option which involves some exchange between the two of you, talking about wine is great icebreaker you think, with both the hope and the aim of passing the test and getting the conversation going.
“Great then let’s go Dutch on a bottle of…”
You leave the sentence open hoping that your date will come up with a suggestion of color, nationality, grape even maybe, to which you could respond to, instead of which your date calls the waiter over and says (with finger on the drinks menu)
“Is this any good?” the waiter shrugs his shoulders and says, “Sorry, I don’t really drink wine”.
Once again, benefit of the doubt, you are thinking, my date has to ask me something now, mentally you start to prepare a quick savvy wine answer you learnt from the wine tour you did in France last year, as you sit there ready to impatiently share your knowledge and finally get a conversation going. No that does not happen either, there will be no exchange of any kind about wines, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Australian, American, Greek, or any other nationality of wine as your date says to the waiter “ That one then please, with two glasses and some cheese things to nibble, with a bowl of olives and some cold meat cuttings, thanks”….
Your gut has gone mute, your legs have just fled out the door and you sit there totally stunned! Going Dutch on a bottle of wine is one thing but when you don’t eat cheese and have recently decided that you were not doing meat this week, and some almost total stranger just goes ahead and orders without even asking your opinion or thoughts on the matter, you know that it is time to get up and leave, and yet, still you remain seated. The job being requested from that glass of wine is monumental and you know deep down inside that you really should stand up and leave.
This is the kind of situation that could leave you with “First date trauma”.
It is so very important to understand people’s body language and more importantly to listen to your own. Your instincts are telling you what they have picked-up on and if they are screaming “danger”, then you really should take the time to listen to your gut feeling, it saves everybody: time, it reduces heartache, depression, rejection syndrome, feelings of being insufficient, sadness all round and general poor self-esteem. Take two minutes and just listen to yourself, there is always a voice in there somewhere telling you what you don’t want to hear, but it is the voice of reason and should be heard far more often than any of us allow ourselves to hear it.
In the example above there is no need for rudeness, or unpleasantness, maybe the date was super stressed and just felt over powered and was unable to open up, if that is the case from the start there is little chance that you’ll hit it off later. So a simple,
“I am sorry but this is not going to work, but thank you for taking the time to come here tonight”.
This is all it takes to get your self-esteem back, to leave feeling proud and strong, and statics prove that in most cases your honesty will be much appreciated, firstly by yourself and then secondly by your date, it could also give them just the room they need to react to bad start and to open up. Some people simply communicate differently, everyone reacts differently to stress, education can play a large role in differences too, in fact so many other factors need to be taken into account ranging from cultural differences, social back ground, schooling, previous bad experiences with strangers, if you think about it most of us have to deal with our own in-house difficulties that we have collected over the years, combine all this with, the persons state of mind at the time, maybe they had a bad day, maybe they had just received some sad news, were coming down with a cold, and so the list continues, but no matter the reason, if you feel that it will do you no good, get up and go.
In the links below you will find some useful information on understanding no verbal expression, (body language) scientists explain also why we choose the partners we choose. So read on and get yourself ready for your next big date night night.