Say you swiped right on a person who seemed to be the guy/girl of your dreams, and you hit it off almost immediately. Or maybe your crush has finally picked up on the signs and started to flirt back, and you’ve been getting along great since then. Now it’s time for your first date, and the initial excitement is giving way to stress and anxiety, so what do you do? Well, it’s only natural to feel nervous. After all, you’re looking forward to seeing where things can go with that person and you want your first date to be perfect.
This means that you’ll want to leave a great impression. To help you make the right one, here are a couple of golden dating tips.
Pick an Interesting Location or Activity
Not that there’s anything wrong with a coffee date at Starbucks if you want to see whether or not you’ll get along. But if you already know that you have chemistry, then you’ll want to pick a more interesting location like a nice restaurant with an eccentric menu, for example. You can also plan your first date around an event or activity such as a movie, concert, picnic, cooking classes, museum visit, etc. Pick something that would be of mutual interest, and make sure that you’ll actually have some time to talk and get to know each other more.
Don’t Be Late
Tardiness is probably one of the biggest turnoffs that can instantly kill a budding romance, so you need to ensure that you arrive at the agreed location on time. If your dinner reservation is at 7 p.m. Then you need to be at the restaurant at 7 p.m. No one likes to sit at a table wondering if they’ve been stood up. If, for any reason, you find yourself running late, call your date and let them know.
Dress to Impress
When it comes to making the right impression, your appearance is key. We’re not talking three-piece suits or ball gowns, but it makes sense to dress a little nicer than you normally would on a regular day. For many guys who love their casual t-shirts too much, this can be a pain. For a great first date outfit, Adam White of jasperhollandco.com suggests a minimal white tee with a jacket and tapered pants. Fortunately, fashion experts explain that you can wear a t-shirt on your date if you pick a slightly smarter one. A slim-fit t-shirt with a clean design should do the trick. Whether you’re a man or a woman, your clothes should make you feel comfortable. They should not reflect a false image; instead, they should allow you to express yourself in a more refined way.
Get Past Small Talk
It’s completely normal for people to engage in small talk on a first date. But while talking about shallow and basic things can help break the ice, you should try to cut the small talk short and move on to more interesting topics of conversation. Keep in mind that you also don’t want to turn this date in a therapy session or an interrogation. For a smooth transition between small talk and deep conversation, start by asking a deeper question about a shallow topic. You can come up with a list of conversation starters and interesting topics that you can discuss ahead of time. Knowing that you have a few tidbits up your sleeve can make you feel less anxious on the date. Another good tip is to try and follow up small talk questions with an engaging story.
Don’t Make it All About Yourself
While you shouldn’t be afraid to share some personal details, you need to be careful not to talk about yourself the entire time. In an attempt to avoid the dreadful and awkward silence, you may find yourself rambling on out of sheer nervousness. The goal of a first date is to get to know one another and have fun. This can only be achieved if both of you contribute equally to the conversation, so try to keep it focused on both your passions and show interest in what they have to say. Moreover, you should look for interesting stories rather than basic answers. The easiest way to do that would be to ask ‘why’, not ‘what’ questions. This will keep the conversation fun and exciting, but be careful not to bombard them with questions. Remember, this is a date, not an interview.
Put Your Phone Away
Your date shouldn’t feel that you’re more interested in your Instagram than in them, this is an instant buzzkill. We’re all addicted to our phones to some extent, but when you’re on a date, you’re in a real place with a real person and you need to act accordingly. So, put your phone away, leave the virtual world behind, and be present in the moment.
Be Nice to the Waiter
If you’re rude to the person taking your order and serving you dinner, how can your date know that you won’t be rude in other situations too? You should be as nice to your waiter or bartender as you are with your date. In fact, you should generally be kind to the waiting staff or anyone providing you with any kind of service; this is just common courtesy.
Make Eye Contact
Making eye contact will not only show that you’re attentive and interested, but it will also help you truly connect with your date. Plus, eye contact can mean both sexual attraction and romantic interest, and it can also mean general curiosity. So, you can use it to your advantage to subtly communicate any message you want. Don’t turn it into a stare-down, though!
Going on a first date can be nerve-wracking, and that first impression can make all the difference. This puts a lot of pressure on you to ace that first date and land a second one. The good news is your date is probably feeling the same way too, so at least you know you’re not alone. The most important tip we can give you, one that many people tend to overlook in the midst of all the nervousness and anticipation, is not to overthink everything. Just go with the flow and treat your date like a human being, not some otherworldly divine entity.