Have you ever been on a first date where you left feeling like you totally messed it up? If you have, don’t worry – we’ve all been there! The first date is often a nerve-wracking experience, and it’s not always easy to know what to say or do.
When it comes to first dates, we all want to make a good impression. But sometimes it’s hard to know how to do that. We’ve learned a lot from our dating experiences and those of others. So, we put together a list of things to keep in mind when you’re preparing for your next first date. Here are 20 tips to help make your first date a success!
Our Best First Date Advice
Whether you are a lady or gentleman, man or woman, older or younger, you can use these evergreen dating tips on your next date. You can use these tips to figure out what you may have been doing right and wrong on your last few first dates. You can prepare for your next one with these tips for a (hopefully!) successful love connection!
1. Start With a Good Attitude
Your attitude and how you approach the date mean everything! If you take your limiting beliefs about dating with you and are negative, it’s going to show. Just because other dates haven’t worked out in the past, that doesn’t mean this one will be the same. Make sure that you’re starting on the right foot by remaining positive about the opportunity to meet someone great.
2. Wear Something You Feel Good In
Don’t just throw on something that you think you should wear because you saw it on someone else or it was recommended as a good first date outfit. Make sure you wear something that you feel comfortable and confident in.
Don’t wear something that doesn’t feel like something you would normally wear. You’re already going to be out of your comfort zone on a first date. Your clothes shouldn’t add to that discomfort!
3. Be Confident
One of the most important things you can do on a first date is to be confident in yourself. Believe that you’re a catch and that the person you’re with would be lucky to have you. This doesn’t mean that you should be cocky or arrogant, but it does mean that you should show your best self.
Don’t go into the date wondering if the other person will like you or think you’re good enough for them. Instead, evaluate if they meet your standards knowing that they’d be lucky to continue dating you.
4. Prepare For Conversation
In our opinion the thought of sitting down and having a conversation with someone you don’t know all that well is the most intimidating aspect of a date. You can ease your nerves about this by preparing for the conversation. No, we don’t mean writing out note cards or anything unnatural.
However, you should have some topics prepared. This will help you out of any stretches of silence or lulls in the conversation. One of the benefits of online dating is that you may know some of the interests of the person you’re out on a date with. Or if you met through a friend or activity, you at least know some things you can discuss.
Make sure you’re prepared to ask them open-ended questions about their life, hobbies, and interests. Also, be ready to answer questions about the same things when they ask you.
5. Pick a Casual Place
Take some of the pressure off of the date by picking a casual location to meet at. Fancy restaurants and elaborate plans are unnecessary on a first date. The point of this meet-up is to see if you hit it off with this person or not.
You don’t need to go somewhere expensive where splitting the check can get awkward. Instead, opt for a casual, low-pressure first date place. Pick a place that will allow you to chat and doesn’t require you to spend a huge chunk of time together.
6. Don’t Talk About Your Ex
We recently talked about the reasons people ghost after a first date. Constant talking about your ex was one of the reasons on the list. Try to keep the conversation about you and not about your past relationships.
Bringing up your ex can not only make things a little awkward but can also make it seem like you aren’t over them. This can deter the person you’re newly dating. The exception to this is if you are asked about why your past relationship didn’t work out or another related question.
7. Actively Listen
One of the key parts of having a successful first date is to show interest in your date. Sure, they need to be able to hold your attention for there to be a real spark, but you need to be able to show that you’re paying attention.
You can do this by using active listening throughout your conversation. Active listening means that you are paying attention to the person you are talking to and that you are also interested in what they have to say. You can show this by asking questions and making sure that you are not just talking about yourself. This will ensure that you’re showing interest in getting to know this person.
We know this is a hard rule to follow, but for some, you need to remind yourself to relax! The more you let your nerves get to you, the harder it will be to enjoy yourself. Dating should be fun!
Try to keep in mind that the person you’re out with is just as nervous as you are. If they weren’t interested in you, they wouldn’t have agreed to go on a date. So, remember that this person likes you and wants to get to know you better… and just relax.
9. Stay Off Your Phone
It’s not rare to see people with their phones out at all times. However, you should keep your phone put away while you’re on a date. As we discussed above, you need to be able to listen and pay attention to the person you’re on a date with.
If your phone is out, even if you aren’t on it, it can seem like you’re waiting for someone more important to send you a message or that you’re willing to let a distraction interrupt the date. An exception to this is if you have kids with a sitter or another scenario where you have to be available. You can let your date know your reason for needing to be reachable so they understand the situation.
10. Get to Know Them
Don’t get caught up in overthinking things about the date and forget why you’re there. The main point of a first date is to get to know the other person. So, don’t forget to ask them questions that will help you get to know them. Pay attention to their personality, background, and where they are heading in the future. This will help you evaluate if they are a good candidate for a relationship down the road.
11. Be Yourself
This is probably one of the most important tips on the list. You need to be yourself on a first date. Don’t try to be someone you think they want you to be or pretend to have interests in things you don’t like.
When it comes to forming relationships, being genuine is always better than trying to be someone you’re not. You don’t want to have to keep up a false persona if you keep dating this person. Being dishonest about yourself isn’t fair to either of you and it will most likely show at some point.
12. Stay Positive
It’s a huge turn-off to be out on a date with someone who is complaining or being negative. So, make sure that you’re staying positive on your date. If little things go wrong, like a restaurant getting your order wrong, brush things off and remember it’s not a big deal.
Your date will be judging how you handle small inconveniences. If you like them, you’ll want to be conscious of how you deal with things. Staying positive will keep the date lighthearted and fun.
13. Don’t Have Expectations
Since this is your first date with this person, you shouldn’t have any expectations. If you go into a date expecting things to happen, you’re likely setting yourself up for disappointment. Instead, just let things flow and see what happens.
You probably don’t know this person well so trying to predict what will happen is not realistic. Just remember that having expectations can often lead to disappointment, so try to avoid putting any pressure on the date.
14. Clean Up
This should be a no-brainer, but we see offenders a lot! Make sure you clean up before your date. Take a shower, get a haircut if you need one, groom yourself, and arrive clean.
Not doing these things will show your date that you aren’t willing to put in any effort and don’t care about what they think. So, arrive clean and presentable to make a good first impression.
15. Don’t Overuse Scents
Just like you don’t want to arrive smelling bad, you don’t want to arrive smelling strongly of perfume or cologne. Some people are sensitive to scents and others don’t like specific smells.
You don’t want to offend your date’s nose by wearing something strong-smelling. Keep things light and fresh.
16. Watch Your Alcohol Intake
You may think that indulging in some drinks will help you relax and be more comfortable on your date. This may be true, but you don’t want to overdo it. Refrain from drinking or set a limit before the date to avoid having too much.
Getting too relaxed and sloppy won’t help your chances of securing a second date if you like this person. It can also lead to you making poor decisions. Save your date and yourself embarrassment by avoiding getting drunk.
17. Use a Dating Checklist
We published an article on how to use a dating checklist to find the right person for a relationship. While you shouldn’t bring a list on your date with you, you can use it beforehand to prepare for your date.
It will help guide you to ask specific questions and get a feel for who your date is. You can then identify if they’d be someone you would want to go on a second date with.
18. Arrive On Time
A large part of making a good first impression on a date is showing that you put effort into being there. When you arrive late, it shows that you don’t think your date’s time is important and that you didn’t put thought into getting yourself there on time.
Some people are more relaxed on things like punctuality, but most agree that it’s annoying when people are late. So, make sure that you’re on time. If you find that you’ll be a few minutes late, make sure to let them know as soon as you can.
19. Don’t Hide Things
You don’t need to overshare on a first date. But, you shouldn’t blatantly try to hide things either. When you try to hide things, it almost always goes wrong. Be upfront about things, even if you think they will be a deal-breaker for the other person.
We talked about how it’s important to be yourself above and it’s just as important to be honest. Don’t try to put off sharing things like being married previously or the fact that you have a child. If they ask something that you aren’t comfortable answering just yet, let them know that and you can come back to it later if things get more serious.
20. Don’t Be Too Forward
People don’t want to be pressured on a first date. This means not pushing them to do anything physically or emotionally that they aren’t ready for. If you are dating and looking for something serious, they probably aren’t going to want to go home with you.
Also, even if they do want something serious in the future, they probably don’t want to agree to go on a trip with you a month from now. Take things slow and rely on their communication and actions to let you know what their boundaries are.
First dates can be intimidating. While you can’t control how the entire date goes, there are many things you can do to make it a positive experience for you both. The most important things to remember on a first date are to have fun and get to know the other person.
Don’t put too much pressure on the situation. If it’s meant to be, the conversation will flow naturally and you’ll have a great time. If it doesn’t work out, that’s fine too.