Going out with that special guy for the first time can be a tricky, nerve-wracking experience. Look and feel your best with these easy tips for a smooth first date.
1. Do something different and fun
Tired of the usual first date gimmicks? Then why not try something fun for a change?
Instead of setting up another alcohol or caffeine-induced date, why not spend the day doing something outside typical first date traps?
Think museums, escape rooms, and all the other recreational spaces open to the public.
Remember, you don’t have to be nervous, and you don’t have to be formal.Especially if you’re trying to get a good impression, it helps to plan the day with a little bit of creativity.
2. Location, location, location.
It’s true that the best first date has a lot to do with the location you choose to have the date.
For example, if your first date is at a corn maze in the middle of October, but your date didn’t bring a sweater and there’s mud up to her knees, well the date isn’t going to go well at all now, is it?
Alisha Powell, a couples therapist, told Bustle that a first date should be casual, rather than a big production:
It’s a good idea to not spring a surprise on your date either, by the way, especially if they need boots for wading through mud and are wearing their cute going out shoes they bought just for the occasion.
3. Make it less about you (and more about them)
I know first hand the temptation to make the first date all about you.
How do you look? Are you saying interesting things? Are you flirting enough but not too much?
The truth is none of these things really matter. Because the first date is always much less about you and more about how the other person feels when they are around you.
Common wisdom says that men only fall for exceptional women.
That we like someone who they are. Maybe this woman has a captivating personality, is funnier than all her friends, or she’s a firecracker in bed.
As a man I can tell you that this way of thinking is dead wrong.
None of those things actually matter when it comes to men falling for a woman. In fact, it’s not the attributes of the woman that matter at all.
The truth is this:
Men fall for women because of how those women make them feel about themselves.
So when it comes to a first date (and subsequent dates), you have to consider how you’re making the guy feel about himself.
Because the one thing men crave more than anything else is to see himself as a ‘hero’. Not an action hero like Thor, but a hero to you. As someone who provides you something no other man can.
To see you as girlfriend material, he wants to be there for you, protect you, and to be appreciated for his efforts.
What he doesn’t want in a potential girlfriend is to feel like a mere accessory, ‘best friend’, or ‘partner in crime’.
There’s a biological basis to all this. Relationship expert James Bauer calls it the hero instinct.
As James argues in this video, male desires are not complicated, just misunderstood. Instincts are powerful drivers of human behavior and this is especially true for how men approach their relationships.
James Bauer reveals the exact phrases you can say, texts you can send, and little requests you can make to trigger his hero instinct.
By triggering this instinct even on the first date, you’ll immediately force him to see you as a girlfriend he wants to have around. Because you’ll be unlocking a version of himself that he needs to be happy in a relationship.
4. Check your body language
Before you go out on a date, consider how your body language might help to make the experience more enjoyable or at least, less awkward.
If you are confident in your body, you can lean in and be close.
If you are awkward and shy, it will not leave your date feeling like they want to be involved you at all.
Thomas Edwards, the founder of The Professional Wingman, has a great acronym to help with body language on dates: SOLD — Smiling, Open Body Language, Leaning, Direction.
This means to keep a friendly smile, an open body posture, and point your body toward your date.
Consider how your body presents itself from a scientific point of view and make the necessary changes before heading out on a date so you and your date are comfortable.
5. Who pays?
Let’s settle this debate once and for all. It’s totally okay to let a guy pay, especially if he was the one who initiated the date.
If the guy has agreed to the date, the chances are he’s prepared for the entire day and yes, that includes spending some time and money.
Of course, the girl can offer to pay; most guys appreciate that. However, know that the girl is not obligated to split the bill every single time.
If the guy offers, it’s because they want to treat the girl to a good time. Besides, it’s the first date.
Don’t sweat a detail as small as this. Just have fun and see how it goes then decide whether it’s better to let them pay or to split it with them instead.
6. Keep the conversation going
A surefire way to not get a second date is to be a boring conversationalist. That’s not just science talking, that’s every person on the planet.
Studies show that if you’re going on a date, with a woman particularly, it’s better to let go of the cheesy pick-up lines and focus on an engaging conversation starter instead.
But perhaps the most consistent suggestion that comes from research on conversations is to ask for someone’s advice on something.
This is a great way to get someone talking and if they’re giving advice, they’ll feel like they’re being helpful and you might pump up their ego, too.
However, the truth is that conversations can get awkward between men and women when they’re attracted to each other.
Male and female brains are biologically different. For instance, the limbic system is the emotional processing center of the brain and it’s much larger in the female brain than in a man’s.
That’s why women are more in touch with their emotions. And why guys can struggle to express what they’re thinking and feeling.
The thing is, to stimulate the emotional part of a man’s brain, you have to communicate with him in a way that he’ll actually understand.
Because there are certain things you can say to him that will guarantee he throws himself at you.
7. Put your phone on hold
Aside from alcohol and coffee, awkward lulls and deafening silences are the staples of any first date.
In these moments, it can be extra tempting to whip out your phone and pretend like you have a dozen emails to attend to.
However uncomfortable it feels, never resort to pulling out your phone to fill in the silences.
According to Kristen Fuller, M.D., “You are on a date, with a real human being, so please take an hour break from texting, social media, and surfing the web, and focus on the present.”
Use it as an opportunity to reflect on how the date is going with your company.
You can ask things like, “Are you enjoying your time so far?” or “How do you usually spend your time with someone?” as ice breakers for those awkward moments.
Whatever you do, though, keep your phones in your pockets.
8. Prep your mind
Before heading out on the date, make sure you don’t have any lingering thoughts or issues from the day that might take away from your excitement or experience.
A recent small study found that women tend to be more attracted to men who are high in mindfulness, which is the ability to be fully present without judging.
If you are really troubled by something from work or a family matter, consider rescheduling the date because science tells us that when our mind is not in the right place, many things go wrong.
We miss red lights, we say stupid things, and of course, we don’t make a good impression on our date.
(Finding the right guy and building a relationship with him isn’t as easy as swiping left or right. I have recently reviewed a new dating book that dives deep into the strange world of male psychology.
9. Don’t be afraid to tease him
Who doesn’t love witty banter?
Don’t be afraid to poke fun at them and joke around with them a little bit.
Studies have shown using humor in conversations makes a person appear as more likable, and telling jokes can bring a sense of calm to the conversation during the flirting process.
Tease them just enough that they laugh but not so much that they think you’re an inconsiderate jerk by the end of the day.
It’s only natural for people to enjoy the company of those who they think can pick their brains.
So don’t hesitate to throw in a sassy line or two; chances are they’re going to think you’re confident, witty, and undeniably attractive.
So much so that they could already be planning date number two!
10. Look them up
As casual as first dates can get, there’s nothing wrong with making sure you know just enough info about them to get a conversation going.
The dating experts at Harmony suggest that “you look up a potential date on Facebook to see if you have any mutual friends. This can help you see if you have “anyone or anything in common”.
The same way you don’t want to go into a job interview knowing absolutely nothing about the company, you also don’t want to go into a date knowing nothing but they’re screen name and face.
Look them up just enough that you have conversation points. And the most important thing is to actually mention that you did.
Casually say stuff like, “So I saw you on Facebook and…” as opposed to launching off to ask them about their 7-day backpacking trip. Now that’s how you come off as a stalker.