February 16, 2024
Mental Health

Think about the last time you went on a first date. Right after, where was your headspace at? Did this person all of the sudden become a really big deal?  Did you start planning your next date, your wedding, your life together?? Did you find that this person’s opinion of you has somehow become more important than you initially anticipated?


Yup, this is normal.


It’s funny how we can get ourselves wrapped up in a first date. Putting a lot of pressure on ourselves and the other person afterwards. 


  • What if I don’t hear from them?
  • What if they didn’t like me?
  • I wonder if we will go on a second date.


I’ve been guilty of these thoughts too, we ALL have. If it doesn’t work out, we are subject to feel hurt or think that there is something wrong with us – cue the Automatic Negative Thoughts (also known as ANTs)! Automatic Negative Thoughts or ANTs are a composition of internal narratives or ‘go-to’ thought patterns that compel individuals to interpret situations in unbalanced ways without examining the actual evidence at hand. In dating, this can look like you always being the problem. ANTs can come at all stages of dating, i.e., during the online dating chatting, while on the date, after the date, and at every stage of a relationship. Here are some examples: 


I’m boring, that’s why he isn’t responding to me.”

“She doesn’t seem to be into me.”

“If I looked like  ______ , or had a different _____, I would have more matches.”


ANTs can definitely ruin your picnic, but learning to challenge and overcome negative self-talk will help you to have a better relationship with yourself and be more confident in the relationships you have and desire to have.


Here are 4 tips to help you reground yourself if ANTs start to creep up after a first date.


1. Reality check: Check in, how does the actual person and their opinion stack up against the community and the relationships that you already have. Herein lies the problem: The idea of them meant a lot to us. The idea of my future with this idealized person meant a lot to me. The actual person? Well, that could be a different story. There’s nothing wrong with being excited about someone you’ve met. But there is a difference between being excited about someone you met, and being excited about the idea of someone you met. And it’s important to know the difference.


2. Keep it simple. The first date doesn’t have to be anything more than getting a coffee, going to a farmers market, or meeting for a walk (public places though!!) By setting yourself up for a familiar experience, you are also setting yourself up for a lower level of stress about what the activity itself will be. Therefore allowing you to show up as yourself a little more. 


3. Be a better listener. Remember, this isn’t all about the other person liking you, you also have a say. Listening and observing is the best way to learn about another person. Listen actively and respond accordingly. This is the path of least resistance to learning about the other person. Asking questions that are the result of active listening shows that you are interested in the other person. Look for the other person to ask you questions as well. The first date can be as simple as two people who have the mutual goal of getting to know each other better. 


4. Remember that you have just met the person. THIS. This right here is the key to being unbothered in dating. It’s a lot easier to stay resilient, keep dating, or avoid changing yourself for another person when you haven’t built up your dream future with someone after just a few dates. It is also a lot easier to avoid negative self-talk and navigate ghosting or bad date experiences if you remember that you are two strangers who have just met. Their actions are more of a reflection of who they are as a person, not you. It’s also easier for you to spot red flags and make good choices about dating this person when you can see them clearly (which you can’t do if you’re in your excitement and fantasy). 


Lastly, I would recommend having a solid community to help you through the dating process. Dating can be hard, and it can certainly make us doubt ourselves at times. Having close friends that can support you through it all is one of the best palate cleansers I can recommend. Surround yourself with people who love you for who you are, who will celebrate your victories and sit with you in the shit. This will help you see that there is potential for someone to love you just the way you are. 




Need someone in your corner while you navigate the dating world?

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