It’s okay to be searching for tips for your first date, even if it’s the thirtieth first date you’ve been on. We all want to make our first impression something special, while also being able to size up our potential partner. Here are the non-nonsense tips guaranteed to make sure your first date is safe, successful, and fun for all involved.
Ever heard the phrase be yourself? Forget about it, we can do better than that.
First Date Safety
With the prevalence of online dating, ensuring personal safety is paramount. It is all too easy for people to lie on the internet about who they are, or what their intentions are. So the first thing we need to do is make sure they’re a) real and b) not psycho. Usually we do that with conversation, but there are other steps we can take, too.
If you are going on a date with someone you met online, try to video call / facetime them first. It may feel a little weird talking to them before you’re officially met, but it will help both of you relax, knowing you’re not getting catfished. It will also be a good opportunity to see how comfortable they are with unfamiliar dating practice, and maybe even get a peek inside their home. In this situation, you are also in full control – easy to find an excuse to leave, can perfectly control your lighting and makeup, and you can take a screenshot if you need a second opinion.
If you’re uncomfortable asking for facetime, or would prefer not to, getting some unfakeable pictures is the way to go. If you’re being a bit flirty, silly selfies might flow naturally if you ask what kind of facial hair they’re comfortable with, or if their bedroom truly reflects their super uptight personality.
The second safety tip for first dates is an obvious one – meet somewhere public and familiar. A coffee shop, a public square, the Christmas market – anywhere that will have enough people round to make it safer for you. If you need to leave (because they showed up with their extended family who all seem to be incredibly into bath salts), it’s much easier to melt into a crowd, and much harder for them to cause such a public scene by trying to stop you. Moreover, you have a lot of extra spectators and phone cameras around in case the bath salts kick in. If possible, you should meet during daylight – you can see their face better, there will be more people around, and it means if the date goes well you can spend a few more hours together.
More First Date Safety Tips
If you can, try to let someone close to you know where you’re going. You can use phone tracking apps or features like Find My Friends to let your friends know where you are, and they can make sure you’re not suddenly somewhere way off your itinerary.
It should go without saying, but don’t bring a weapon. It will just lead to escalation, and full-on turf wars are more of a third-date thing. Unless you brought your own bath salts family, in which case… game on?
One of the best first date tips is to always have an exit strategy. Tell your date that you might be meeting a friend afterward, or ask someone to call you at a certain time to check up on you and offer you a good excuse to leave. Make sure you go somewhere familiar enough that you know how to get out or get away to safety. Perhaps meet at a bar where you know a staff member who can keep an eye on you – but don’t go too extreme, police stations and parents’ homes do not make for the greatest of first dates. Even with the bath salts.
First Date Advice
“Just be yourself” – how many times has that phrase been shoved down our throats from films and TV shows where the ‘normal’ families are made of very attractive and articulate people living scripted lives? You should strive for better.
Be your best self.
First dates are opportunities to prove to yourself and your potential partner what you could be like. You can make an effort to be a good conversationalist, you are attractive enough to want to be around, you can be an amazing person.
This doesn’t mean you should go around lying. It just means you should play to your strengths, and mitigate your weaknesses. Live the first or next day of your best life, of a life you would be comfortable leading. Maybe you have worn the same pair of jogging bottoms for a month, but if that’s something you want to change, maybe you can talk about your plans instead of your bad habits? You can make fun of yourself, because you’re getting better all the time. You can comment on how nice your date looks, because your best self is someone who compliments others and gets complimented in return. Be who you want to be. Then your date will know what they’re getting themselves in for – and neither of you will be wasting your time.
If your strength is your charisma – go for a long walk, or head to an art gallery – a venue that allows you to talk, and charm, and impress. If you’re more anxious, maybe find an activity that is easy to focus on – mini golf, or the aquarium, for example. And if you’re really, really anxious, maybe go and see a movie – but paying to sit quietly surrounded by other people is not a great way to learn about the potential love of your life!
Your date is probably as nervous as you are, so try to make it easy for you both. Listening is a good skill to have, and can make your life so much easier. You don’t need to focus on being interesting if your date is talking about themselves and answering all the questions you’re asking. Get super curious about even the littlest things in their stories – you’ll learn a great deal and it takes off so much of the pressure.
Also, everyone loves compliments. Compliment your date, take off some of the pressure they may be feeling about their appearance or the impression they are making!
Be on time!
Arriving late just shows that this isn’t a priority for you. You can do it as a power move if that’s the game you want to play, but if you want your date to feel respected and keep a good impression of you – show up when you planned to show up. Agreeing on a time to meet is essentially making a promise. Nobody wants to date people who regularly break promises.
If something does go wrong – call! Your date will likely be understanding for circumstances outside of your control. But if you’re late because you wanted to catch the last ten minutes of a TV show, you’ve already shown how much you’re prepared to invest. It’s the little things like this that will be the building blocks of their impression of you. Might as well make that tiny bit of extra effort to make sure it’s a good impression.
If it’s going well, make plans for a second date! Leaving your date hanging just introduces another source of anxiety. If you want to see each other again, there’s no need to play games. Set something up, maybe even plan it together!
Don’t do things you’re not comfortable with!
Maybe media portrayals of first dates suggest all these magical romantic signs will occur. You’ll have this instant, amazing connection and of course, end the date with a kiss. But these people were literally written for each other, and the world was created just for them to fall in love in. The real world is a bit more chaotic – maybe she was a bit late, maybe he has bad breath, maybe the park was closed because of some mad families on bath salts battling it out with cricket bats. That doesn’t mean the date went badly. If you want to see them again, great! But don’t feel pressured to act out of character. You’ll be lying to everyone on the date, and may come on a little strong or disingenuous.
Plan ahead! You can book a restaurant, but if it’s going really well, do you want to stand at the door afterwards, looking on your phone for something else to do? Have some ideas ready to go. Be prepared in case you want to spend more time together or plans have to change suddenly. Just don’t be too strict with the timing, keep things easy for both of you!
First Date Tips For Men
These tips are specifically for men, based on the most common complaints women have about first dates with men, that weren’t covered above.
Smell nice! This absolutely does not mean cover yourself in cologne. Good personal hygiene is a must, and part of that is not only removing nasty body odour, but not existing within a cloud of Calvin Klein fragrances for men. Usually, one spray is enough. It makes the smell personal. If the scent is a good one, your date will try and get close to you.
Treat the service staff well. Some people have a tendency to put others down to bring themselves up – but this is an incredibly unattractive trait. Compassion, empathy, and friendliness are much more valuable, and that is what you should be striving for.
Take charge – don’t be too forceful, but be in control. Always have a plan, and be willing to make suggestions to keep the date moving. Try to avoid getting stuck in a loop of ‘What do you want to do?’ ‘I don’t mind, what do you want to do?’ Indecision is not attractive! Neither is being overly dominant, so make sure to respect your date’s wishes as you plan the next move.
Don’t pick an event that is too crazy, to show off your wild side. A punk-rock gig may be incredibly fun, but unless you met there originally the chances of it being a good first date are very slim. Choose something more relaxing to start off with, you can always increase the intensity as the date progresses.
First Date Tips For Women
These first date tips are specifically for women, based on the most common complaints men have about first dates with women, that weren’t covered above.
Smell nice! Usually women have much better first-date-hygiene than men, but they also often put far too much perfume on. A little goes a long way – make the smell personal, not public, and keep him wanting more.
Treat the service staff with respect. If you’ve never worked in a customer-facing environment, you might not realise some of the things these people go through every day. Be willing to treat them like proper human beings, and maybe they’ll treat you all the better for it. Besides, you’ll also be showing your date how compassionate and easy-going you are!
Keep your eyes open. Look out for red flags, sure – but don’t go in with a list of traits your perfect partner needs to have. Be open-minded about your love life, you never know where true romantic love can come from. But rejecting people for things out of their control (height, skin colour, family background) can seriously limit the pool of applicants waiting to make you happy.
First Date Conversation Tips
We’ve already mentioned being able to listen, and that’s basically the main element of a good conversation – two (or more) people willing to listen. But there needs to be something to talk about. So go in prepared for when you’re feeling too awkward to let the silence sit.
If this is a date found through an app or website, chances are you’ve already done preliminary research about their family, their occupation, their relaxation, hobbies and dreams. Now is the time to dig a little deeper and learn more than just the facts.
Try to keep the conversations positive – it will leave both in a good mood, even if you’re not sure why. Asking questions like ‘What is your favourite childhood memory?’ or ‘What comedy films would you recommend?’ can spark great discussions.
Being a little deep can also create a much stronger connection. Topics like ‘Who is the most important person in your life?’ or ‘What are you most passionate about?’ can be great ideas to dive into, and give you a great idea of how your date is made up.
You should also keep it light. Questions such as ‘What childhood toy would you most like to play with again?’ or ‘If there was a cocktail based on you, what would be the recipe?’ can be good little pressure-relievers, making some easy conversation without it being boring.
Finally, keep in mind that you probably want to date again, so throw in some questions about your immediate future. ‘Are there any restaurants near here that you have been dying to visit?’ or ‘If I was going to cook a meal for you, would you prefer steak or pasta?’ are good examples of questions that could get your date thinking about you being in their lives ahead.
First Date Tips
Hopefully these tips will have helped you plan or prepare for your first date. Just relax – they are likely as nervous as you are, and that is something you can bond over. And even if the date goes badly, it’s all good experience for the next lot! Good luck!