How to get ready for the first date (and get a second one)
We’ve put together a series of great first date tips to get send you on your way, and help you score a second date too!
So, you’ve worked up the courage to ask that special someone out, and they’ve said yes. Now comes the really hard part: planning your first date.
Shower thoroughly. Shampoo and condition. Brush, floss, and pack mints. Moisturize your skin. Style your hair, apply light make-up, carry travel-size items for the mid-date touch up. Use deodorant. Trim or file your nails. Shave or wax.. all that sort of stuff for the first date!
First impressions are everything, and you don’t want your outfit to ruin the night. You should look neat and polished. Dress for the environment (no suits at a coffee house). Wearing wrinkled clothes or stained jeans sends a message that you don’t really care about being there. It takes seconds for your partner to decide what the future can hold – based solely on your appearance. A study from the UK showed women give a mere 90 seconds to decide if they want a second date (men offer a full 5 minutes).
The location you choose sets the tone for your date. Unless you already know what types of activities your date likes, it’s best to pick a neutral, low-pressure place where you can focus on getting to know each other and figuring out how well you connect. Instead of dinner and a movie, suggest trying a local bar or a hip new coffee shop instead. The casual environment serves as a convenient space to have an engaging conversation, without the pressure of dressing fancy or buying an expensive meal. If it feels uncomfortable, you can leave after the first drink.
Some fun first date locations may include: cooking class, bike riding, wine tasting, bowling or even a boat/ferry ride.
If you’re picking your date up, clean your car, and fill your gas tank. If you’re planning to drink alcohol, it’s best to take a taxi or call an Uber. Add the taxi company’s number in your phone or download a ridesharing app beforehand.
Don’t forget your wallet and bring enough cash to cover the whole tab. Whether or not the other person expects to go dutch on the date remains to be seen but expect to pay for everything. Whether it’s drinks or dinner or one cup of coffee, don’t chance the embarrassment of not being able to foot the entire bill.
One of the most respectful thing you can do is put your phone away. Silence it if possible. Don’t check your texts or your social media accounts if you feel awkward. It comes across as disinterest. A few moments of silence are okay. Listen carefully to what the other person is telling you. A skilled conversationalist listens as much as they talk. Communication is key.
If you’re having a hard time getting past bad dating experiences, focus on what you can learn from them rather than dwelling on the negativity. Did you engage in unkind or unfair behaviors on your dates? Is there anything you could have done to improve past situations? Learn from your mistakes and you’ll do better and better at any date.
Taking a deeper look at how you present yourself bleeds into your date in the way you communicate both verbally and nonverbally. In fact, your nonverbals (your body language and facial expressions) are perhaps the loudest thing you communicate. For instance, if you’re interested in what your date has to say, don’t fold your arms.
Too information too soon might backfire on you. Weigh your words and the topics you choose and avoid talking – for instance – about your ex. These are things that can be addressed in the future, but are not necessary for a first date where fun and interest must be the key-words.
Be nice and kind to everyone, not only your potential partner. The attitude you have will remain in the other person’s mind even after you part ways. They will see your attitude (or lack of) as a reflection of how you treat people in life and relationships.
The most important part of the date is the part where you say goodbye. It doens’t have to be weird or embarassing. Although all situations differ, it’s best to hug or kiss (cheek is okay) when parting. A simple wave might be seen as a sign of lack of interest, a handshake as professional. A kiss is indeed more personal and sends a message of “second date”.