10 Tips You Need for a Successful First Date
Expert Pointers to Get the Most Out of a First Date
Set an End Point
You may have hopes of a perfect date walking hand-in-hand and talking til the sun comes up, but it’s actually better to pencil in a time constraint for your date.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula recommends scheduling the first date for a time when you have a definite time you have to leave. “If it’s great, then you will both eagerly await continuing the conversation, and if it’s dreadful you know it will end at a definite time,” she says.
It’s always good to be seen as having a full, busy life and leave him wanting more.
Every rom-com out there will make you think that your date should pick you up at home, flowers in hand, but that’s all a bit antiquated.
You want to be self-reliant, and depending on another person for your ride home is anything but. The last thing you want is to get stuck on a horrible date and then have to have an awkward ride home, or even worse, have to find a last minute ride from a friend.
Choose Your Setting Wisely
A hot new restaurant may seem first date perfect, but it’s best to go with something a little more casual for a first date. “It may be fun to go someplace new, but if you [and your date] are not comfy in uber posh places don’t do it,” says Dr. Durvasula.
She recommends a place that has live music or other things you interact with or look at to provide distraction as an icebreaker through any awkward silences. Check out these 20 great date night ideas from our experts.
Learn Something New
“Learn from him: Perhaps he does something you are unfamiliar with, or has traveled places you want to learn more about,” says Dr. Durvasula.
“Go in with an open mind, listen to your gut, and if he is really not for you, the evening doesn’t have to be a wash,” Dr. Durvasula adds.
Use the date as a learning experience and remember that even if someone isn’t right for you, almost everyone has something to offer—even if it’s just a recommendation for a great gym.
Confidently Display You
Confidence is the key to success at many things in life—first dates included. “There is nothing sexier to a healthy, available and emotionally stable man than a woman who is confident,” says certified life coach and hypnotist Michelle Brock.
Don’t try to come off as someone you’re not. Embrace and showcase your personality, how you feel about things and the qualities you bring to a relationship. “You will never be able to go back and change someone’s first impression of you,” explains Brock. “If the date turns into a relationship you certainly don’t want to base that on a false perception.”
If your date doesn’t like you for you, leave it alone and don’t waste your energy or feelings, because someone else will be interested in you exactly as you are.
Choose the Right Outfit
Picking out the perfect outfit for a first date can be the best—or worst—part of the whole thing.
Avoid any temptation to go over the top and stick to what you know. Pick an outfit that you’ve worn before, you know looks great on you and fits well (you know those shirts where the first time you wear them, you learn that the buttons magically come open over your cleavage—yeah, try to avoid that).
“On a first date you want to look comfortable and give off a relaxed vibe,” says Brock. Your date will sense if you’re uncomfortable, and this can come across as insecurity. No, thank you.
Also keep in mind that what you wear gives someone clues about your personality and behavior. “If you dress too sexy or risqué on a first date, he may assume things about you that you would rather he didn’t,” Brock explains.
Go for what you know, remembering that how you wear your clothes is more important than what you wear.
Think of Questions & Develop an Interest in Your Date
Chances are if you landed a first date you more than likely know a little something about the person—even if it’s a blind date you probably know where they work, or a hobby or two.
Go off of whatever information you already have and think of questions you could ask that you would truthfully be interested knowing the answers to. Don’t try to pull out responses or launch into a full-on inquisition—after a question or two the conversation will likely take flight on its own.
Asking good questions helps express and foster a genuine interest in your date, which is a good thing, of course. “Most men love when a woman they are attracted to is genuinely interested in them and can intelligently carry a conversation,” says Brock. Jeez, we should hope so.
Setting boundaries involves both physical and emotional limits. “Many times we women can get caught up in the chemistry of a really great date and then make decisions we wish we hadn’t,” notes Brock.
“Decide beforehand how much intimacy you are willing to share on the first date,” Brock advises. Think emotional intimacy here too—don’t accidentally over-share in your conversation.
You also need to stick to any physical boundaries you want to maintain. Before you get to the date, decide beforehand whether you’re willing to sleep with or even kiss him goodnight. If, in your rational state of mind you decided not to get intimate with your date, don’t let his good looks and dashing personality persuade your premeditated decision to avoid sex.
If you’ve decided you want to wait on physical intimacy, stick to it—if there’s genuine interest on both parts, there will be plenty of opportunities in the future to act on that desire.
Trying to decide what the right physical boundaries are for you on the first date? Read here for expert advice on whether you should sleep with someone on the first date.
As hilarious as your racy jokes may be, consider holding off for a little. “Keep the stories you tell somewhere in the vicinity of PG-rated,” explains Brock, “as you are unconsciously telling him things about you that might easily be misconstrued by someone you just met.”
Taboo first date topics you should keep under wraps? Pretty much anything involving your ex, past sexual experiences, daddy issues, body insecurities, how much you hate any aspect of your life, etc. Save those fun topics for later when you progress to a fourth or fifth date and are really getting to know one another.
Keep Expectations in Check
Keep reminding yourself that this is only a first date: Silence those wedding bells, number of children talks, and when you’ll move in together questions.
Also try to let go of any expectations you have of who your date should be and any comparisons you might make to your exes. Do your best to be open.
As Dr. Durvasula says, “Let it flow, be present, have fun and cut your losses if you aren’t feeling it.” Amen, sister.
For more expert dating advice, check out:
12 Ways to Get Noticed and Asked Out More
How to be Successful at Online Dating
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