How to make a first date ... great.

If you want to find a boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, soulmate – you are going to have to go on a lot of first dates.

First dates are not typically thought of superfun. Most people get anxious about them and it can seem like there is no way to prepare for one. Remember, your date is probably just as nervous as you are. You can’t change who you are out with or how they behave, but you can do a few things to give yourself a better shot at making your first date a good time.

1. Lower your expectations. Forget everything you have ever thought about a boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, soulmate. You are just a person out eating a meal or getting a drink with another person. You both have years of history behind you. In all likelihood, you and your date don’t know very much about each other. Yes, maybe you loved their photo and their e-mails have made you laugh and you are thinking, maybe, just maybe this is the one! Maybe it is. Probably it isn’t. You’re going to have a much better time if you chill out and try to get to know them rather than projecting a lot of history and anxiety onto the occasion.

2. If you asked the person on the date, pay for the outing. The issue of who pays is too fraught, so make it simple. If you asked, then pay. If you didn’t, let them pay and if they don’t offer, suck it up and do it yourself. And don’t go out with them again if you can’t deal with that. This issue distresses most of us to an extent, but it really isn’t a referendum on feminism or ethics.

3. Prepare to be interested in another human being. We spend too much time worrying about how we are coming across in dates, picking outfits with excruciating care and rolling out our employment history like a job interview. Forget yourself for an hour. Really look at the person across the table from you and ask them questions about what they say. Pick up on cues. Let them speak. Make eye contact. Not only will they have a better time, you’ll learn much more about whether or not you two are suited for each other.

4. Suggest a place where you can talk. Don’t try to impress someone with the most fashionable restaurant or bar because it’s going to be full of people and there are few things more awkward than shrieking questions at someone you don’t know while a party girl spills whisky down your shirt. Places that are scenes make it very difficult to talk to someone. Which makes it very difficult to get to know them. And don’t go to a movie or a play or a concert for your first date unless you guys both really want to see it and you’ll be having time to talk before or after. Ideally, go somewhere you’ll both feel comfortable, where the patrons and staff are cool – and where you both wanted to go. Refrain from frequenting your local dive bar – he doesn’t need to know your first drink of the evening is a pint glass of Maker’s Mark.

5. Do not discuss your ex. The first date is not the place to air your grievances about maintenance payments to your ex-wife. It is not going to reassure your potential mate if you mention ten different former boyfriends with whom you broke up. Even good things about an ex are best left for another time. Someone who doesn’t know you well likely to assume you’re hung up on last girlfriend if you tell three different stories that revolve around her, even if you know you are really just friends.

6. Don’t try too hard. The goal of a first date is not to keep your date roaring with laughter or on tenterhooks lest they mention the wrong novel. Making a huge show of knowing the menu or the best wine to choose is unappealing. Your date liked the look of you well enough to agree to the first date, so let them get to know more about you in a way that is relateable and honest, not seeking validation or bragging rights.

7. Refrain from judgment. Everyone gets nervous and says or does things that aren’t in character and might be off-putting to a date. Don’t decide you can’t deal with someone just because they do or say something you think you don’t like in the first five minutes. If you have gone to the trouble of going on a date, you should give them – and yourself – a fair shot. But by the same token, if it has been 20 minutes and all your instincts are screaming for you to run … do it.

8. Imbibe moderately. You might think you are funnier and more confident when you’ve had four cocktails, but the chances of this being true are low. Probably you are just drunk. And while that might be totally fine with your friends or an established girlfriend, on a first date it is just going to make things awkward. If your date is keeping pace, it might not be a good sign for how you guys interact in the future. If she isn’t, she’s going to be uncomfortable with your consumption. Also, if you’re both drinking too much, you aren’t getting to know the real person.

9. Accept defeat gracefully. If your date talks about himself incessantly, doesn’t blink, or talks with great enthusiasm about the cult religion he ascribes to, it’s ok to put the evening down as a loss. You also want to be sure you have the emotional resources to be able to give up when you thought the date was amazing. Two people can have very different impressions of the same evening and while it might have been love at first sight for you, that does not mean it was for him. Just remember that you haven’t invested much time or energy. And truly, truly, there are tons of other people out there.

10. Do not tell your date you love them. Apparently this has been done in the past. By actual people. On their first date.



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Posted 08-14-2013 8:49 pm by