First Date 101

Go for a romantic stroll on a first date! Image source: Torange under Creative Commons Licence

What you need to know to make the right impression on that all-important first date! If you are getting to know someone for the first time, whether it is a friend of a friend you caught at the end of a party, or someone cool from, here are the basics points to consider when planning your first date.

You need to talk

If you are looking for a relationship then the real point of this date is for you both to get to know each other. Impressing them is only of secondary importance if you get on well together. So choose somewhere you can talk openly and feel comfortable. This means avoiding venues such as the cinema or theatre unless you build in plans to spend time together beforehand. In most cases meeting at a pub, coffee shop or bar that is not overly crowded is a safe option. An extra benefit of these options is that there is less pressure for it to go well, and you can easily break off after a pint if you obviously don’t click.

Don’t give too much away

While we said previously that it was important to be open and initially get to know one another, this doesn’t mean spill out your life story and relationship history. It’s best to keep that for later. Treat this almost like a blurb to a book – give your date hints of your personality to make them want to know more.

Mind your body language

There’s a lot to learn about body language, but it’s not hard to master the basics to make a positive subliminal impression:

  • Keep your body open – avoid folded arms and legs
  • Smile widely and often
  • If you find yourself mirroring each other’s stance, that’s a good sign
  • Speak clearly and confidently
  • Look into their eyes – optimally 60-80% of the time

You can read more about the basics of positive image body language on lifehacker (external link).

Be prepared

If you are the one inviting out your date then have a plan. It can be really off-putting if you meet someone and they are just walking around blindly googling directions to some bar their friend said was good. Remember you may be nervous at this point, so at least know exactly where you’re going and have a Plan-B incase that place is closed or too busy.

Think of what you have in common beforehand

Spend a little time thinking beforehand of a couple of things you have in common with your date. This may be a shared friend, interest or activity. Don’t go overboard, but just have an idea of what to say if the conversation goes quiet.

Leave well regardless of how it went

No matter how the date went, leave amicably and say you had a good time. If it went positively, leave a hint about seeing them again or suggest something you could do together some time. If you don’t fancy seeing them again then you have two options. The first is vaguely brushing off their suggestion of another meeting – they’ll probably get the idea and not be offended. The second is just being straight with them that you enjoyed your time but don’t see anything there.

Don’t overthink anything more

People with less experience of dating sometimes place too much importance on kissing before the end of the night. Don’t worry about it, it’s just a first date so whatever happens, happens and don’t feel like you have to do anything if it doesn’t feel right in the moment – even if you really like them.

Now that we’ve talked about what the basics of what you should do, here’s a video with 16 things you should not do!