The Love Guru: Love is like war: “Easy to begin but very hard to stop.”

by Staff

Jitterbug: I’m taking this girl out on our first date, but I don’t have anything planned. I don’t know whether to stick with the cliche dinner-and-a-movie, or do something more creative. Do I even need to be the one to plan the date or should we decide on something together? Love Guru, what do you think?

Love Guru: You got her number, worked up the courage to ask her out, and she agreed to go out with you. Now you’re wondering, “What next?” First dates, both nerve-wracking and exciting, are the initial step toward a potential relationship. It’s the first opportunity you have to spend time with someone you are interested in, and the chance to discover whether the two of you click. That being said, the location of your date plays a crucial role in helping set your rendezvous up for success or failure. Here are my general rules for where to go on a first date:

 

1. Don’t take her to a movie. While it may be a safe choice, with two hours to escape potential awkward conversations, it doesn’t leave any opportunity to get to know each other. Not only that, but it also opens the door to other obstacles, such as reaching into the popcorn bowl at the same time or deciding whether or not you should put your arm around her.

 

2. Go somewhere that stimulates conversation. Figure out what your mutual interests are and decide what would be enjoyable for the both of you. Love sports? Take her to a game of your choice or engage in one of your own. Have a shared passion for the arts? Take a trip to a museum or art gallery. Listen to the same bands? Rock out at a concert. Whatever the case, make sure you do something together that you would both appreciate.

 

3. Don’t ever, under any circumstances, use the words “Let’s go to my place.”

Don’t even use it as an option at the end of the date, no matter how much you are into this girl. Refrain from using this phrase as the basis for your date, either. Once these words are uttered, they immediately reveal you are after one thing. Not only that, but she’ll think that you are either too cheap to take her out on a proper date, or embarrassed to be seen with her in public.

As for who should plan the date, ideally, it should be you. Talk to her first about what she might want to do, but ultimately it’s up to you to have something planned. Be thoughtful, creative, but most of all, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make the date perfect. Just be prepared—and the rest will come easily.

 

Great Expectations: I like this guy a lot and he’s interested in me too. Things have been going well, and I think we might be heading toward starting a relationship. Problem is, this is the point when I always mess myself up. I’ll say too much or have high expectations that fall short, and the guy will end up running for the hills. How do I avoid self-sabotaging something that could potentially be really great?

 

Love Guru: Girl, keep it cool. You’ve realized you are doing things wrong that put a potential relationship in jeopardy—so remedy those mistakes and vow not to repeat them. It’s understandable to want to be close with someone and share intimate details about yourself, but there is definitely something to be said about maintaining a little mystery. In the beginning, a guy doesn’t need to know your entire dating history or every piece of your personal baggage. Opening up is great and shows you are vulnerable, but do it in moderation. If you reveal everything about yourself too quickly, what is left for the guy to discover? That’s half the fun in getting to know someone. As for having high expectations, it doesn’t hurt to lower them a bit. That’s not to say that you are going to settle for whatever comes along, but it’s healthy to keep an open mind about who might come your way instead of having a picture of the perfect man built up in your mind. In fact, keep an open mind about dating in general—if it works out with someone, great! If not, someone else will come along. Keep this in mind and you are bound to be successful.

 

Chatty Cathy: I think my boyfriend gets embarrassed of me in front of his family. He and his family are all really shy, but I’m super outgoing. Sometimes I feel as if I’m talking and talking, but they just give me one-word answers so I feel like I’m being annoying. My boyfriend says it’s fine, but I feel like they don’t like me.

 

Love Guru: I don’t think you should be embarrassed. Sometimes people just take longer to come out of their comfort zones. Just avoid talking about yourself too much. You should just tone down the chatter and try asking a few open-ended questions to get to know your beau’s family. Also, sometimes silence is OK. Don’t feel obligated to fill space with words. You can offer to help prepare dinner or decorate the house for a family gathering and create activities where conversation will come more naturally while you bond. Overall, be respectful and patient and they’ll come around.

 

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