Hey, congratulations! You’ve made it this far! You like each other, you’ve shared a few moments, some entertaining conversations. Now you have to face that next hurdle. Don’t panic. The hard part is over. You found one another. You’ve already overcome awkward moments and first responses.
Things don’t need to be perfect or go completely as agreed upon to be a success. Some of the most memorable occasions occur precisely because the unexpected happened. Compromises had to be made, plans changed and those involved came to realize all over again that it is the people who matter, the ability to be together, not the outing or event.
Take a breath
The simplest action is the one we always seem to remember last, if at all. Deep breathing slows everything down. The effort calms your nervous system and triggers a cascade of biological responses that help relax your entire body. Take long, slow sips of air through your nose, hold your breath for a beat, then let everything go.
Hold on to each other
Remember, you’re both in the same situation. You’re not in this alone–you’re there together, because you want to be. Reach out to your new partner. Hug it out. Spend some quiet time in the comfort of each others’ arms while the nervous energy dissipates. There’s no hurry. You have the rest of your lives to experience everything that follows and only that one first moment together.
Words aren’t necessary
If you fear you’ll become tongue tied, unable to get out even a small rehearsed speech, let silence speak for you. Especially in an emotionally overwhelming moment, neither of you is likely to remember what was said. Stand close, communicate nonverbally, through touch.
Don’t be embarrassed
Any signs of nervous expectation will be appreciated by your partner as excitement at his arrival and anticipation of the time you’ll spend together. Your partner will likely be too preoccupied by her own feelings to notice if you falter.
Even as tiny babies, our brains became overloaded with sensory input at times. Thankfully, our brains gave us a way to handle that stress. We require moments where we disengage, stop some of the flow of information and emotional reaction. Take a moment every now and then to simply look away if things start to feel like too much to handle. Reconnect after a short break.
If too much face to face time right away is too overwhelming to consider, plan to spend the first portion of your time together in the presence of a shared distraction. Even something as basic as a walk through the park or going for coffee can give you that little bit of normalcy, something outside yourselves to deflect a little of the pressure and attention.
Reduce the pressure
Schedule your first meeting as a low key event. Don’t plan to get too dressy or go anywhere fancy. Focus on being yourselves. You won’t have to agonize (as much) over finding the right thing to wear or remembering proper manners. The meeting itself will hold enough importance that it won’t require any accompaniment.
Take a moment
If you need a moment, take a moment–to catch your breath, to think, to calm down. Excuse yourself. Head to the restroom or around the corner and busy yourself with something else for a couple of minutes. Refresh your lipstick, splash some cool water on your face. You don’t need a reason or explanation, simply say you’ll be right back.
Plan your time
Make a few loose, open-ended plans for the day or evening. This will eliminate the chance of coming upon a dead spot where you run out of things to say or you need a break from the intensity of the contact. Choose a nearby place to go to hang out, something easy to prepare or order to eat, a movie or television show or game to offer. Even if you never need them, knowing your fall backs are there will help ease your mind.
Think about your partner
If the meeting is at your place, do some basic cleaning—for your peace of mind and your partner’s comfort. Have a few basic items on hand, like an extra toothbrush or her brand of coffee. A few familiar touches or items which may have been forgotten in the excitement of the moment may help your partner feel more relaxed and at home.
Try to meet from midday to early evening. Too early or too late and one or both of you may be too exhausted from nerves and the need for sleep to get the most out of your meeting. This also leaves more options open to you for gradually becoming accustomed to each other before retreating indoors.
Have a backup plan
Arrange a way to get in touch or discuss what you’ll do if you somehow miss each other. Just in case of traffic or a flight delay, your loved one won’t be standing alone, wondering what went wrong, thinking the worst.
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