How can you be yourself on a first date?

Avrilox26 asks: A guy from my school (but with 1 class “bigger”) noticed me a while ago… We started to talk on messenger about a lot of things! He’s known me a lot of time, but didn’t notice me until now… Until now we just said hello and how are you ‘live’, the rest online… (I need to mention that I’m kind of a shy person and it took me a while to be myself with other people, but online it’s easier for me to be myself, so I was myself with him online) I think that he really enjoyed me, so he invited me out… Today, we decided the date, time, and place, but I’m really nervous! I don’t know how I’ll act! (I also need to mention that is my first date – if he sees it like a date – ever! A lot of guys have asked me if I want to be their girlfriend, but I didn’t want to, because I didn’t like them or didn’t want/can). I’m so nervous! I’m having a lot of questions now in my mind about what he will think (I always care about what the people around me are thinking about me!) and I don’t know if he’s as nervous as me! He told me that at first he was ashamed to ask me out. Then today he said that he can’t wait to see me and he warned me: “make sure you won’t be late!”… I’d like to invite my BFF to come ‘by mistake’ there, but I think now that he will feel uncomfortable… Do you have any advice/tips about this? What should I do? I’ll be so nervous! And, how can I be myself with him? It’s easy to be myself with other people (those that I know), but with him… I need to mention: I am 14 years old and he is 15 (but he will be 16 in July :/). Thanks! This means a lot to me!

Wow this is really exciting! A first date! It makes me think of my first time in the local dog park. I was so nervous, and SO excited, to play with all the other dogs. And I ran out to play with them and… nothing happened. They wouldn’t play with me. I didn’t know how to play with them, and they didn’t care about me, and… it really hurt. But Handsome kept taking me back there, and over time I got to be one of the most popular dogs there. So my first advice to you is, whatever happens, it’ll all get easier later, so relax and enjoy the fun of it.

I have some other postings on here about dates, with some very strong advice about how to deal with boys who get overly… well, let’s just say dogs aren’t the only ones with paws in this world! Definitely check those out (you can use the “Search” box and put the word “date” in, and they should come up). I always say the most important thing is to make sure you’re safe. So that’s my biggest concern here. Do you trust this boy? Do you just want your BFF around to make it easier to talk, or are you thinking you might need some ‘backup?’ A 14-year-old girl and a 15 or 16-year-old boy is no problem at all, as long as he respects any boundaries you have.

But it seems like what you’re mainly worried about is how to be yourself. Well that is one problem we dogs never have! We’re always ourselves! And that is absolutely the best way to live. So my big question to you is, what makes you not yourself? Is it that you get so nervous you can’t talk? Or are you pretending to be different than you are, just to please him? If you’re just shy, or giggly, or something like that, then that can be adorable and you shouldn’t worry. But if you feel the need to be something other than you are, then please take this bark from me: YOU DON’T NEED TO! This guy asked you out! So he must find you interesting and attractive. And think about it, the more yourself you are, the more anyone who really likes you is going to like you!

The only thing in your letter I don’t understand is his comment about being ashamed to ask you out. Does he mean that he was embarrassed about himself, and too nervous to ask you out? If that’s the case, then fantastic – you’ll both be nervous and probably really nice and concerned about each other, and the night should go perfectly. But if he means he felt shame about you, like you weren’t good enough for him or something, that stinks. You ARE good enough! You’re certainly good enough for him, and if he’s feeling that lousy way toward you, you’re TOO good for him! So again, I’m hoping it’s the first one, and he’s just as nervous as you.

Then I have one other suggestion, to help you be yourself: Breathe. I know that sounds silly, but when people get nervous, they often stop breathing fully (as opposed to us dogs, who pant!). Whenever you realize you’re getting really nervous, just stop whatever you’re doing for a second, and take a really deep breath. You won’t believe how much it’ll help. You’ll relax a bit, it’ll center you and help you connect with what you want, and it’ll even make your voice better!

But even more important than that, just have a great great time. The better time you have, the better any nice boy will feel about himself (Boys, and Men, need to feel accomplished and successful, and showing you a great time and leaving you happy will do just that!). Besides, hopefully you’ll have dates from now on, whether with new connections, a boyfriend, your husband, whatever. So in a sense, this is the beginning of the rest of your life. ENJOY!!!

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