First dates can be very stressful and intimidating. Whether you meet at social gathering or on a dating app, sitting down 1 on 1 can be awkward if you aren’t prepared or don’t feel a real connection. Whether you hit it off or not, it is important to be your best self. Take a deep breath and don’t be nervous, because chances are the person sitting across from you is just as anxious as you.
There’s no exact science to a first date, as everyone is different and dynamics are different depending on your past history with the other person. Regardless of whether it’s a blind date or you’ve known the person for years, there are steps you can take to be as ready as possible for the night ahead. Here are some tips that everyone should take advantage of when getting ready to meet someone new.
1. Show Up On Time
In the dating world, punctuality can make or break a relationship. This may seem very simple and self-explanatory, but running late for a date is the first sign that you may not be a good match. If you have dinner reservations or plan to meet at a certain location at a designated time, being late can be disastrous. Try to arrive 10-15 minutes early to ensure you are at the right location and are there ready to greet them.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Be Outspoken
You may consider yourself the “strong, silent type.” However, on a first date you may want to ditch that introvert label and try some new tricks to get you out of your shell. It can be very beneficial to be outspoken on the first date to let your potential suitor known your interests and hobbies. It can be awkward or send mixed signals if you are mysterious on the first date. This is a time to really get to know someone. Can you see yourself with this person for a significant amount of time in the future? Do you have similar opinions, personalities and friend groups? You can tell almost immediately if your date is timid or anti-social so avoid being quiet and laid back. Dinner is always a good choice for a first date, but may limit conversation. If you know beforehand what they are interested in, try scheduling something you both enjoy doing to make conversation more in-depth and stimulating.
3. Don’t Be Stingy
There is a fine line between sticking to a budget and being cheap on a date. Telling someone what they can and cannot order at dinner for instance can make you come off as a cheapskate. Being selfish with money can mean you’re also selfish emotionally and even in bed. To avoid an expensive first date, plan the date ahead of time, and find a place that is moderately priced and has a good atmosphere for discussion. Don’t suggest a crowded bar, for instance. And sometimes, suggesting a hike or picnic will keep you from spending an exorbitant amount as well.
4. 2 Drink Maximum
Excessive drinking on the first date can make you look foolish and is often seen as a red flag for men and women alike. If your first date involves alcohol, consider setting some boundaries for yourself beforehand. For example, limit yourself to two drinks if you choose to go to a restaurant, and only order the second round if there’s chemistry. Supplementing these drinks with water will also keep you from becoming tipsy. Often times, men drink more when they are nervous and feel they aren’t being personable enough. Sipping a mixed cocktail and alternating between food, water and your drink will go a long way.
5. Avoid Being Braggadocious
Don’t spend the entire night talking about yourself, your income, or your extensive list of A-list contacts. This can come off as very arrogant and can be a huge turn-off. Additionally, telling long and unnecessary stories can make you seem self-absorbed and boring. Don’t be afraid to listen, ask them a lot of questions and keep stories short and sweet.
6. Avoid Embarrassing Acne
As mentioned earlier, first dates are extremely stressful, and may cause you to break out right before you are supposed to meet for the first time. Be sure to wash your face on a daily basis leading up to a date, and if you are a woman, remove your makeup every night before bed. Embarrassing blemishes and acne can be distracting so using acne treatments beforehand can help avoid this uncomfortable situations.
7. Keep It Under Two Hours
Many dating experts suggest that an ideal first date should last no longer than two hours. Keeping things short can leaving the other person wanting more and keeps you both from revealing too much at once about yourselves. Dating is a long-term activity and it should take months to fully understand the person you are with. If this is more of a hookup situation, try to avoid any personal facts or opinions that may cause your date to change their mind about you.
Lastly, just relax. Again there is no perfect formula for dating and being yourself is the best way to find out if you and your date are a good fit for one another. Trying to be someone you aren’t or seeming nervous are not beneficial for finding your perfect match. Always know that there are “plenty of fish in the sea” as the saying goes. Make a great first impression and see where things go from there!