Be cool, and make it a hot first date with this expert advice
The first date sets the tone for a potential relationship. It can either ignite a fire or it can crash and burn. Follow these tips and you’ll hopefully never have to go on a first date again.
- get the endorphins flowing
- be genuinely interested
- connect yourself to their interests
- give them the benefit of the doubt
- set up the next date on the current one
- pull out the checklist
- rush things
- make it all about you
- drag it out
- leave them hanging
Do get the endorphins flowing
A couple hours before first dates I used to go for a quick run or hit a yoga class. Why? Because the high you get from exercise makes you feel great! The natural endorphins your body releases put you in a good mood, brighten your complexion, and can help process anxious nervousness. Note of caution here: don’t exercise too close to the time of your date. If you get red-faced like me, you’ll need time to simmer down. Also don’t over-do it. You don’t want to be sore or asleep on your date either.
Do be genuinely interested
What’s everyone’s favorite topic of conversation? Themselves! Getting your date talking is the easiest way to help them to relax and make you look good. Here are a few easy areas of conversation to explore: what they’ve been up to this week, any fun things planned over the next few weeks, basics of what they do, where they’re from, what they like to do with their free time, etc.
Do connect yourself to their interests
The purpose of dating is connecting, so start that process by connecting yourself to your date’s interests, hobbies, things they’ve mentioned, etc. Connect yourself to that interest with a few key phrases:
“Oh I’ve been meaning to:
learn more about that
get better at that
Do give them the benefit of the doubt
What are you typically like on first dates? Nervous? Withdrawn? Distracted? Tired? Sometimes we are just not our best on first dates for any number of reasons. First dates can be so much pressure that we’re more likely to provide a bad impression than a good one. If you’re not your best, what’s the likelihood that your date is being their best? Instead of passing judgment, withhold it for a date or two. You may be surprised who emerges when someone is finally able to relax and enjoy an experience.
Do set up the next date on the current one
How does a date typically end? Usually awkward standing around making awkward statements about contacting each other for the next date. Imagine if you can skip all of that? It’s easy! If you spent the evening listening and connecting yourself to your date’s interests, you can casually and comfortably suggest meeting up again around that interest. “That taco place you mentioned sounded awesome! I’d love to try it with you. Does a Tuesday or Thursday lunch work for you?”
Do not pull out the checklist
The first date is not for figuring out if the other person will be the mother or father of your future children. You don’t want to waste your time dating, of course, but you also don’t want to rush to conclusions when you don’t have all the information. Try to have fun with the other person and save the checklist for a few dates down the road.
Do not rush things
You’re super attracted to your date. You feel a definite interest from them too. Next step? Wait. Don’t do anything crazy. Rushing things physically introduces a level of physical intimacy you haven’t achieved emotionally yet and basically sets the situation up for a lot of drama. Feelings can change drastically from one date to the next and you may find that that super hot date of yours is not so hot by the third date.
Do not make it all about you
One of the biggest complaints I hear about first dates is that the other person talked the whole time and never asked the other person questions. Of all the dating faux-pas that are made, this one is on the top of many people’s lists. That’s because of the 2nd “Do” mentioned above: people love to talk about themselves. Here’s a rule, only talk about yourself when asked. If you find you’re yammering on about religion, politics, and your ex, you probably won’t get a call for a second date.
Do not drag it out
Have you ever been on a marathon first date? Hours later you know way more than any person should about another and you have no reason (or desire to go out again). Instead, think of first dates as a sample of getting to spend time with you. Samples should be small enough to get a taste, but not so big as to satisfy the need. Basically, by keeping the first date short, you’re leaving something to be desired. I preferred first dates to be lunch dates for a variety of reasons.
1. Everyone has to eat
2. Everyone has to get back to work
3. If you’re pleasant and have good dining etiquette you’ll likely have to the opportunity to go out again.
Do not leave them hanging
If you had a good time and would like to see the person again, say so. You’re not revealing your deep seated love for them, you’re just being honest. Don’t be afraid to suggest a date idea of your own as the date is wrapping up (see Do #5 above) and make sure you both have each other’s info for follow-up. And then use it. Send them one “thank you” post-date text (not 17) and if you feel like seeing them again for a second date, make it happen.
First dates can be difficult waters to navigate, but doing a little pre-date prep, plus practicing a little on-date kindness can get you through those awkward stages, and hopefully into a healthy relationship.