First dates can be an unnerving experience; especially if it’s been highly anticipated, you find the other person wildly attractive, or if you’re just getting back into the dating game. Whatever the situation, the impression you make on the first date has the potential to make or break a potential relationship.
When you’re about to meet someone for the first time or go out with someone you’ve known for a while, it’s always important to look nice. The other person will notice and appreciate the time you put in to getting ready. With that in mind, remember it’s not always necessary to put on a suit and tie or a little black dress; dress appropriately for the situation. Be groomed, put together, and for an extra bonus, smell really, really good.
You’ve taken the initiative set a date, time, and location to meet this guy or gal, so be punctual! If you are picking them up, be on time. If you’re getting picked up, be ready. If you’re meeting them at the venue, show up five minutes early. This is basic courtesy, and it will also show them that you are excited to spend time with them.
It is of the utmost importance on a first date to show the other person that you respect them. Be kind to him or her, and be kind to everyone else around you. This will come easy to you if you’re enjoying their company, and will speak volumes about your character. Keep a careful “watch” on what comes out of your mouth… foul language and insults can be a HUGE turn-off. If you’re at a bar grabbing drinks or conversing over dinner, remember to tip well and be kind to your wait staff.
This should also go without saying, but on a first date it is pretty much always unacceptable to be tethered to your phone. Do not constantly check your text messages, update your Facebook status, or Instagram your food. This might make the other person think you are unengaged and uninterested. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, put away the cell and try to have meaningful conversation with the person sitting across from you.
To keep the conversation flowing and light, be sure to ask lots of questions. Ask about their friends, their family, their pets, or anything specific you know they’re interested in. Making inquiries about their life will show the other person you are generally interested in getting to know them, and if all goes well, you will find a lot of what they have to say enduring and interesting.
When it comes time to pay, have a clear of idea of who is paying for what. As convention has taught us, many times the man pays for the first date, but ladies, don’t hesitate to offer to pay! Although he might say no, it’s still a nice gesture. An alternative is offering to pay for the second date.
The end of the date is almost always as awkward as the first five minutes. Do you kiss them? Do you even hug them? Are you even on the level of shaking hands? Although I can’t answer any of these questions for you, I can tell you that reading body language is going to be your lifesaver here. If you had a real connection with the person, it might be okay to kiss them. If you’re not comfortable making a move, usually a hug is acceptable. Make sure to pay attention to any physical interaction you had during the date… did they touch your hand reaching for the bill? Did they make a lot of eye contact? Body language is one of the biggest indicators that someone is interested, and if you feel comfortable, you can even ask at the end of the date if it’s okay to kiss him or her.
Lastly, follow up with your date. If you had a good time, don’t hesitate to shoot them a short text or e-mail. If you want to make plans for a second, it’s perfectly acceptable to contact them the next day (the “wait three days” rule is a little outdated).
If it didn’t work out, you get to do another first date all over again! The most important thing is to have fun and be the best possible version of yourself.