Last week I went out on a first date with a woman I had met on JDate about a week and a half prior. She had originally instant messaged me and the conversation had gone so well that we began emailing the day after. Our email correspondence was so interesting and engaging that it led to us making a date to meet for dinner at 7:30 last Wednesday. I was coming straight from work and was going to have to drive through downtown Chicago in order to get to the restaurant, so how long it would take me to get there depended heavily on whether there was traffic in the loop.

Despite worrying that afternoon that I wasn’t going to get out of work in time to make dinner, I ended up leaving only a little after 6:30. While walking through the parking lot to my car, I used the GoogleMaps™ app on my iPhone® to confirm directions and predict my approximate travel time: 35 minutes, so it said.

Now with the knowledge that I would arrive in plenty of time, I drove confidently to my date with the tunes cranked up and little on my mind. As I flew through the city and reached my exit quickly, I realized that all I needed to do once I got off the highway was go about half a mile west before I would be at the restaurant. However, subsequent to this realization, it also dawned on me that I would be arriving twenty minutes early.

Even though it’s obvious that I would rather be twenty minutes early than even a few minutes late (call me old-fashioned but a woman that I’ve asked out on a date shouldn’t be the first one to arrive and have to wait for me), I was slightly unsure how I was going to pass the time. Furthermore, standing outside the restaurant, which was located on a busy street, became more and more awkward the longer I loitered. Unfortunately, as the result of my discomfort, after about 10 minutes of waiting I started to get inside my own head.

I began to get nervous thinking about how much she would look like her pictures, if we would have anything to talk about and whether the date would go well, in general. When she finally arrived, just about exactly on time, I definitely wasn’t feeling as good as I had when I was flying through the city, blasting music and singing at the top of my lungs. As a result, it definitely took me longer to settle into the natural flow of the date, though I must say that I think I rallied well and we both ended up having a nice time.

Even though you only get one chance to make a first impression, which obviously puts extra emphasis on it being a good one, that isn’t always going to happen. Ultimately, you just have to try to keep your confidence up, (in spite of the fact that you haven’t initially made the impression that you had hoped to), and do the best you can to be yourself and feel comfortable during the rest of the date. In life, how we look when we finish is often far more important than what we looked like when we started.


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