Has it been a little while since you went on a first date? Perhaps you’re just out of a long-term relationship, or maybe you’ve been on a dating hiatus for a while. Whatever the reason, if there’s been a gap, it’s a good idea to do a quick refresher course on the do’s and don’ts of a first date – so if this applies to you, read on.
Deciding on where you’re going
This can be a tricky one. If, for instance, your date is new to the area, you should take the lead and suggest a great location that’s not too expensive or fancy. Find out what activities your date likes, or what kind of food they prefer. Finding somewhere mutually convenient is also a consideration. Offer some options, but be flexible if they have a good idea too.
Keep it light
This first meeting is to establish things like taste in music, what you do for work, ambitions for the future, funny stories from your past and interesting hobbies you have. Not things like past relationships, difficult family situations and other heavy topics.
Don’t get too personal
By all means, be honest and let your personality come across – this is essential to a successful date (and a successful relationship). But don’t divulge your deepest secrets on a first date. What might be an attempt to get close to someone could come across as a cry for help – as though you have no-one close to talk to.
Remember to ask questions
You might be nervous, and that’s fine. But be aware – you might be nervous to the point of talking about yourself for the entire night, and this is very likely to put the other person off. After all, didn’t you come here to learn about each other? Ask questions, listen to the answers and respond – this might mean asking further questions. Show that you’re interested in finding out about them by asking about their hobbies, background, work and family.
If you used online dating to meet each other, then you should have some idea already about their interests and pastimes. Do you’re research and bring up things they’ve mentioned in the past.
Do not be judgemental or voice strong opinions
If you met on an online dating site such as eHarmony, then you’ll know that you have a lot of similar opinions, as they base their matches on your values and beliefs. However if those opinions are extreme it might put the other person off, especially if those views are negative or judgmental.
Steer clear of potentially offensive topics
These topics include politics, religion or money. You never know how the other person was brought up, what their affiliations might be or why they might hold particular viewpoints on these issues. This is something to find out down the track.
Avoid inappropriate touching
Personal space is an important thing to get right on a first date. Allow people space to be comfortable in, and don’t encroach on it unless there are very clear signs that it’s okay. For instance, holding the other person’s hand or kissing them might be appropriate under the circumstances, depending on their signals, but it might also be unwelcome. You’ll have to judge from how they’re behaving, but err on the side of caution here.
Remember your table manners at all times
Things like eating tidily and with your mouth shut are important. First dates are not a time to be a slob. Offer to refill their drink and wait till the other person has their meal before beginning.
Keep eye contact
If you’re constantly glancing around the room, you’ll look nervous or bored. Your date should be your priority; show it by looking at them.
Try and practice open and confident body language
This is a hard one, especially if you’re nervous, but confident body language declares that you’re comfortable in your skin. Don’t fidget, keep good posture, and find something to do with your hands so that you’re not self-conscious about them.
How soon after the first date should you call them?
People will tell you to wait a certain number of days, but there is really no hard and fast rule. If you had a great night and felt a connection, call them as soon as you feel like it.
Image credit: Ed Yourdon
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