First Dates

Photo credit: jrodmanjr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

For many people, the prospect of a first date inspires more anxiety than eager anticipation. Where to go? What to wear? What to say? Will they be hot?  What if they’re not?

With so much unknown, it makes sense to be smart about the things you can control.  So here are some tips to give you a head start.

1. Location, location, location

The first rule of real estate is just as applicable to first dates. If you are lucky enough (– or unlucky enough – depending on your perspective) to be choosing where to go, avoid the temptation to come up with a “unique” idea and instead choose a familiar place or environment in which you are comfortable.

It makes sense to entertain in your natural habitat; you’ll feel at your best and will exude confidence which can be a great aphrodisiac.

2. Packaging

Sometimes the date will dictate the dress code, but other dates — like coffee on a weekend morning — offer a lot more room for interpretation. I’m personally in favor of erring on the side of over-dressing – but not to the extent that you put on something you would never normally wear. Whatever you’re wearing, it goes without saying that it needs to be clean. As do you.

If it’s an after work date and you won’t be able to go home, bring a change of clothes with you. If you have access to a suitable bathroom at work,  freshen up there. If you are a member of a gym, perhaps you could take a shower there first. As an absolute minimum, always brush your teeth.

3. Review the research

On the day before the date, take a few minutes to review what you know about this person to date. If you found them online, print out their profile and review any emails or phone conversations you have had. If you get very nervous about what you will talk about, you might want to go so far as to think of some subject areas or even specific questions to bring up on the date.

4. Timing

Never be late to a first date. Aim to get there 20 minutes before you actually want to arrive, it’s better to have some time to kill before you make a leisurely entrance than to be rushing and stressing.

If it’s a blind date or you are worried about recognizing the person, arrive extra early, that way you can get comfortable with a drink and let them find you.

5. Smile

Smile! Science shows that consciously smiling will make you feel happier.   So start by smiling rather than waiting for something to make you smile and you will get things off to a good start.

6. Be Curious

Make sure that you ask as many questions as you answer. Don’t fall in to the trap of talking about yourself all night. Even if your date is skillfully interviewing or strategically interrogating you, step in and turn the tables, they may just be waiting to see how long it will take you to seize the reins.

7. Be Authentic

Whilst it can be tempting to play the role of the person you would like to be on a first date, have a little faith that the real you is loveable and be authentic.

8. Stay in the present

That means no talking about past relationships and no getting ahead of yourself into the fantasy future with this date. Your goal should be to have an enjoyable couple of hours getting to know someone new.

9. Be honest

Be honest with yourself as well as your date. If you know that something about your date is an absolute deal breaker for you, you may as well find out about it now and save everyone some time.

Hopefully, your date will be able to read your signals, but in the worst case scenario where they are saying they are so happy to have found you at last and you are thinking, “check please!”, resist the urge to skirt the issue and gently let them know that you’re not feeling a connection.

10 .Have Fun

Make your sofa miss you – have a blast! As to whether to kiss (or sleep together, or anywhere in between) on a first date – that’s really up to you. But as a general rule, on a first date, I suggest you should always aim to leave them wanting something more.

If all else fails, as you crash and burn, take comfort that the worst dates make the most entertaining stories for your friends and if you have really bad luck with first dates, you may end up with enough material to try a new career in stand up comedy.

Above all try to relax and enjoy yourself. After all, this is supposed to be fun! One of the best ways to take the pressure off the date is to consider that what you are doing is going out to meet someone who may turn out to be friends with the perfect person for you.

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