First dates can be very nerve-wracking, especially if you’re feeling ‘out-of-practice’ with the dating game.
If this is you, then it’s important to have a bit of a plan in your head before you go out with your man.
Although I’m sure you already have a good idea of date etiquette, this post will just go over the basics again so you can be reassured you have it sorted before you go out on that hot date
It’s great that you have found someone you’re interested in, and the first date is all about making a good impression, having a good time and getting to know each other a little better.
Here are the essential steps to stick to on your first date:
1. Put effort into your self-presentation
First impressions can have a big impact, and if you ‘wow’ him from the word go, you’re already well on your way to a great date.
The key is to dress to impress and to suit the occasion, while making sure you’re comfortable at the same time. As there’s no point looking like a million dollars if your dress is cutting into you all night or you feel too hot or cold in your outfit!
Whether your outfit needs to be more casual (i.e. for going to a rodeo), or dressy (going out to a nice restaurant), you want to make sure that you’re wearing clothes which flatter your shape and help to accentuate your best assets. For example, you can wear a skirt or a dress that shows off your nice legs, or a top which gives just a hint of cleavage.
Showing a little skin is fine if you’re comfortable with this, as long as you don’t go overboard and end up looking like a tramp. As a general rule, don’t go more than a couple of inches above the knee with a dress. And remember, black is the most slimming and flattering color on any woman, so if in doubt, go with black.
Basically, think an outfit that makes you feel attractive and sexy, but is something that you would still feel comfortable wearing in front of his family. Because if you really like this guy, you’re going to want him to think that you’re a woman he could introduce to his parents.
Wear some light makeup to accentuate your features and compliment your outfit, but again, don’t overdo it. You want to let your true beauty shine! Make sure you’re totally happy with how you look before you go out. Because when we look good, we feel good.
This of course means also making sure that you present yourself with a high level of personal hygiene. You know the drill – making sure your hair and body is clean, brushing your teeth (and using mouthwash if you have some), and using some deodorant.
To add the icing on the cake, add a light hint of perfume or body lotion to draw him in with your scent, as the sweet smell of your femininity is likely to drive him wild with desire.
2. Be classy and polite
On a first date, you want to show yourself at your classy best (remember it is all about first impressions).
This means using your best table manners. Obviously, closing your mouth and resisting the urge to talk while you have your mouth full is a pretty big must! But it is also important to be polite to the waiter or waitress, and to try to eat your food delicately and slowly rather than hoofing it down.
Help yourself out in the classy department by avoiding ordering anything that is too messy to eat (e.g. a burger), too spicy, or has anything like garlic in it – this will give you bad breath and will ward off kisses like it wards off vampires.
And just remember to leave things like swearing or un-PC thoughts at home – these kind of things can really ruin a good first impression.
And as a final note, avoid criticizing anything he does or says (even if you disagree with it!), and wait for your turn to speak in conversation, rather than talking over each other. Easy.
3. Make engaging conversation
Although making conversation can feel like the most daunting part of going on a date, here are some key pointers which will hopefully make this a breeze:
- Firstly, take turns in being the focus of conversation – don’t keep the conversation on you the whole time. Everyone likes to talk about themselves, and you want it to be a two-way street rather than one-sided. A great way to make sure this happens is to ask him the same question back if he asks you something. For example, “Where did you grow up?”
- Questions are a great way to begin the conversation, or to keep it moving. If you’re really nervous, try writing down some questions to ask before you go on the date. For example, “What kind of music do you like?” “What do you usually get up to in your spare time?” “Have you seen any good movies lately?”
- There are also some topics you may already know that he will or will not be interested in, so adjust your topics of conversation to the ones that will engage him.
- I’m sure that there are plenty of mutual interests you will discover along the way in your conversation, and can continue talking about. And if you already know you have any mutual interests, start the convo with talking about these!
- If the conversation gets stale, introduce a new topic. Sometimes this can happen naturally, by choosing to focus on something in particular he says. For example, he might say “I cook quite often, and try to get creative in my recipes, but it can be hard sometimes as one of my flatmates has a gluten intolerance”. To this, you might reply “Oh really, it’s amazing how common intolerance to gluten and dairy is these days!”… and continue the conversation with this new thread about food allergies.
- Don’t be afraid of the odd pause! He would rather be with a woman who he can have the odd comfortable silence with than a woman who fills in any silences with mindless non-stop chatter. Instead, use these pauses to make eye contact and smile.
- Avoid talking about ‘touchy’ subjects like the plague. For example, past relationships, your menstrual cycle (how would this even come up anyway??), or anything else that might be awkward for either of you. And avoid talking about where the relationship is going – the first date is WAYYY too early for this discussion.
- Remember that guys are not like your girlfriends – they don’t want to know about all the goss that’s going on in the office, or the problems you’re having with a friend.
- Lastly, don’t be critical about yourself – for example, telling him about your insecurities with your weight. Being self-critical is an extreme turnoff. You should be proud of who you are, and if your date has a problem with any aspect of you then they probably aren’t worth dating.
4. Be honest about who you are
While we always want to present ourselves in the best possible light to our date, it is important to be who you really are, rather than try to make out that you’re anyone you’re not.
People tend to pick up on it pretty fast when someone is being a phony, and as you get to know each other better you can be pretty certain that he’ll find out anything that isn’t true about you anyway.
For example, if you tell him you love snowboarding when you don’t, and your date suggests that for your next date you should go snowboarding together, you could be busted very quickly! And at this point, your date has no reason to trust anything you’ve said.
Remember that if this guy is right for you, he will like you exactly as you are.
5. Keep it light and flirtatious
Try to keep the atmosphere light, funny and easygoing. A first date should be fun! Joke around, tease a little, and tell him funny stories if anything comes to mind during conversation. And make sure to always laugh at his jokes!
Don’t be afraid to drop in a few compliments along the way, just try to keep these light and avoid giving too many (as you may come across as ‘too keen’. For example, if you felt comfortable you could say something like “That’s awesome you’re so into cycling. No wonder you’re in such great shape”. And remember that if he likes you, he should compliment you back.
6. Use positive body language
On your first date, try to use positive body language to convey to your date that you are a warm, relaxed person, and are interested in your conversation with him.
Try taking in a few deep breaths if you feel yourself getting tense, and you should feel your whole body instantly relax.
To indicate to him that you are interested, lean slightly forward towards him rather than pulling back. Try to make a lot of eye contact, and use smiles and laughter to show that you are enjoying being in his company.
A person is instantly more attractive when they smile, and this is a key way of showing him how you feel.
7. Avoid any distractions
Your phone has no place on a date. It should be kept firmly tucked away in your handbag (on silent!!), or better yet, left at home. Texting, receiving calls, or getting otherwise distracted by your phone when on a date is just downright rude. And you can be sure that this will be an instant turn-off to your date.
In order to create an atmosphere of intimacy, you need to remove any distractions and allow yourself to focus fully on the man you are with. Feeling that he has your full and undivided attention will make him feel incredibly special and will significantly boost his attraction towards you.
Apart from your phone or other electronics, other distractions to be avoided include that uncomfortable clothing we mentioned earlier (you don’t want to spent the whole time thing about how the tightness of your top is killing you), as well as other people.
Say you bump into a friend at the restaurant, you don’t want to spend 20 minutes catching up while your date is just sitting there. Again, this is just rude.
If you see someone you know, politely greet them, introduce them to your date if necessary, but then make it clear that you are busy and want to be left alone. If they are a good friend, you can say something like “Catch up next week” and leave it at that. DO NOT invite them to sit at your table.
And never, ever get distracted by some other hot guy in the area. If you start checking out that cute bartender across the room, you date’s going to notice. And chances are you’ve just ruined your chances of a second date.
8. Offer to split the bill
Maybe this is isn’t what you’re used to, maybe it is.
The thing is, 75% of the time men do pay for dates. But is it okay for a woman to EXPECT a man to pay? No – unless he has already explicitly said that he would.
Even though a guy is quite likely to turn down your offer and insist on footing the bill, he will appreciate the fact that you offered to split it. And if he accepts you offer to go halves, go right ahead and pay your share and don’t think any less of him because of it.
Also, even if you know that he will pay for dinner, bear in mind that one of the things that may be going through his mind on the first date is ‘Can I afford her?’
If you go right ahead and order the most expensive thing off the menu, warning bells might go off in his head, and he might be put off by the thought that you have such expensive taste (which might not agree with his bank account).
9. Don’t sleep with him on the first date!
Most men won’t try to sleep with you on the first date. Firstly, because they realize they may put you off if they try to make a move so soon, and secondly, because they will actually respect a woman more if she doesn’t jump into bed with them straight away. You don’t want him to think that you’re ‘easy’.
But that doesn’t mean that he won’t have sex in mind. During your date, he will still be looking for signs that you also feel the chemistry and would be keen to take things to the next level sometime in the near future.
The key is to look out for his signals and if you are feeling it, give him subtle signs to show him you are interested. For example, by using flirty smiles, making eye contact, brushing his hand with yours, or giving him a flirty shoulder push.
And at the end of the date, don’t push for a kiss, but if it feels right it will happen. Just try to keep your first kiss short and sweet, rather than any full-on pashing.
This way he knows you’re thinking along the same lines as he is, but it will leave him wanting more for next time.
If you can follow these simple steps, you are sure to have a great time, and come across as an amazing woman who is really worth getting to know.
But bear in mind that it isn’t all about how YOU are acting – your date should also be acting in a similar way.
If his behavior on the date goes against any of these tips in a major way, he’s probably quite rude and inconsiderate, and may not be the best guy for you.