Ah, the first date. So much has been written about what to do, what not to do…so here are a few tips:
Start by thinking back to your last three first dates, which are much more common now that online dating is usually part of the equation: How many of those people did you like? How many did you go out with on a second date? If the answer is that you liked all of them, but none wanted to go on a second date with you, you are likely the problem. But, never fear, keep reading more of our tips right here!
A few quick guidelines:
Don’t talk about divisive subjects like race, religion, or politics.
If you’ve read their online profiles, you might be able to figure those things out about them before even accepting a first date!
Don’t overshare; share just enough.
It’s great to talk about your family and their good qualities – and feel free to express geniune emotion – but leave out any stories about a relative’s bankruptcy or substance abuse!
Don’t be dull.
Prepare good, specific answers to commonly asked questions in advance. If someone asks “What do you like to do for fun?,” for instance, just saying “hiking,” “reading,” or “watching movies” would be boring. Instead, try: “I really enjoy hiking at” and name some places you’ve been to, what you liked about it. (For example: “The scenery is amazing and, depending on the day, you can go on easy hike or a super-strenuous excursion.”) Or, “I am avid reader and have been reading a lot of historical fiction novels lately.” You can also talk about your volunteer activities and things you’re trying to or want to learn, like golfing, cooking, or painting.
Don’t be a negative Ned or Nelly.
Complaining and whining are sure-fire ways to turn off your dates. Who in the right mind would want to date someone who can’t even avoid complaining on a first date. Or any date. (Save the complaining until after the honeymoon!) Since a lot of people don’t even realize when they’re being negative or complaining, ask your friends and family. Have a stable of upbeat stories to tell to keep you from talking about others negatively. And remember that a genuine smile is the best thing you can wear on any date!
Don’t be too touchy. (And don’t be too touchy about being told not to be too touchy!)
This is the single most important dating tip. Each individual has their own invisible boundary around them, otherwise known as “personal space.” Invade it at your own risk! What we mean to say is, “Respect that boundary or risk spoiling any chances of ever getting to touch that person in a “special” way. While this tip is primarily geared towards men, women also need to avoid being too touchy.
Picture yourself sitting side-by-side, leaning in towards each other, legs brushing against one another. (Is it hot in here or is it just me?!) It’s a good sign if your date doesn’t pull back to put some distance between you. But, if he or she does pull back, you need to respect that and keep your distance – your date will notice and respect you for it. If you fail to respect his or her space, you’ll probably never hear from this person again. Establish a perimeter, i.e., stand as close as your date is comfortable and, if he or she steps towards you, recognize that sign. Depending on the signals you’re picking up, it might be okay for you to show you’re attracted by briefly resting your hand on your date’s lower thigh, and things like that.
Don’t get drunk.
Drinking is fine and can encourage you and your date to replace nervous energy with a more relaxed vibe. But pace yourself and, if you’re driving, be sure you’re sober before getting in the car. Remember to use Uber, Lyft, and cabs whenever needed.
Don’t take too long to text after the first date to plan your second date.
Men, one thing you can do is ask the woman to text you to let you know she arrived home safely. Take it as a sign of interest if she texts with anything more than just a “Made it – thanks!” Conversely, if you’re not interested, be courteous and send them the requested text – but keep it short and not too sweet. When it’s the case, show that you are interested with anything from “Thank you for a lovely evening. I hope to see you again.” Or reference something funny one of you said or did to show the date was memorable.
Let us know what has and hasn’t not worked for you to turn a promising first date into a second one in the comments!