Post by guest blogger Jane Yamaykin

I can understand why some people are terrified by first dates. So many steps go into just getting the date in the first place – meeting someone, at least minimally chatting with them to initially vet them, the asking out, choosing a venue… it’s a lot! As a pretty classic extrovert, I truly enjoy meeting new people and have been told I could carry on a successful conversation with a wall. However, first dates can be daunting for anyone.

For me, the most unnerving part is usually the lead up to the date itself. I consult with friends, re-read the profile of my date (for online encounters), overthink, overanalyze. All to wrap my mind around what’s about to happen – especially if I’m excited to meet someone. It’s been my experience for these reasons and more, it’s best not to let too much time lapse between making the date and actually meeting in person. The most sanity saving mantra I’ve found for myself is this: It’s not about deciding to spend forever together. It’s about meeting someone to go on a second date.

At some point, if they seem really great, the questions start to pop up. Why are they still single? What’s the catch? Of course, the mind can have a field day here. Eventually, I take a step back and remind myself, “Well, hey there, Special Snowflake, you’re out here too!” Luckily, if nothing else, curiosity prevails over trepidation forcing me to go on the actual date.

Having been on many first dates, the good and bad memories act as buffers to all of these thoughts. I try not to get too ahead of myself with daydreams. There have been the guys who look or act very differently from their profiles. There have also been the dates that I thought went well only to have the other person tell me they felt no spark or for the less mature ones, totally vanish. This all keeps me grounded – anything can happen. And on rare occasions, I have in fact been pleasantly surprised. I remain cautiously optimistic.

-Eventually, someone wonderful has to come along. We just have to stay in the game.-

The rollercoaster of putting ourselves “out there” repeats over and over. I’m not even really sure what’s the most challenging part anymore – meeting someone to go on a date? Getting through the hurdle of the first date? Continuing to go on first dates when others haven’t gone well? Continuing to go on first dates when you’re crushed to realize your date didn’t think it went well? Not meeting anyone great? Finding someone you think is great but doesn’t hold up in person?

Yeah, all of that. And yet, as my wise friend says, “It’s a numbers game.” Eventually, someone wonderful has to come along. We just have to stay in the game.  Here’s to taking chances and doing our best to enjoy this crazy ride!

Find more joy on this roller coaster ride called love in 2016 with a fresh outlook on finding, keeping, & enjoying the love you want; join me for Cocktails & Conversations on Love in DC