First starting to date someone is a rollercoaster of emotions! There’s excitement and attraction, but also uncertainty and doubt. Though it may not feel like a “relationship” just yet, it is still important to make sure the dynamic is healthy and respectful. Learn to recognize the difference between normal nerves and a legitimate concern. Do you get nervous butterflies, or genuinely dread the next date? Do you second guess yourself because you want to impress them, or because you fear what they’ll say? This is also the time to really get to know each other, which can feel like a lot of pressure. Though it can be hard, it’s important to be yourself! Talk about things that interest you, ask each other questions, and be honest about what you want. Honesty, communication, and openness are hallmarks of a good relationship, and it’s never too early to start applying these skills to a dynamic.

It’s also important to recognize potential red flags. How does the person you’re seeing treat others? If they abuse and berate waitstaff or talk poorly about their family and exes, this may reveal a pattern of disrespect in their relationships–something you don’t want to get mixed up in. Are they unnecessarily secretive? The biggest part of first dating is getting to know each other; refusing to answer basic questions about family or daily life may mean they have something to hide. Lastly, do you just get a bad feeling from this person? Our instincts are there for a reason, and sometimes they pick up on things we may not consciously notice. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to break things off quickly. Remember, you are allowed to go at whatever pace you want, be that quick or slow. It’s your relationship, and it deserves to be comfortable, respectful, and above all, healthy!