The Biggest First Date Dos and Don'ts
By Henna Amin
The first date is an exciting time, but also extremely nervewracking. First impressions are important, and you want your date to get to know who you are. Here’s a few tips for what to, and to not, do when on the first date.
Do… Talk about something you’re passionate about
This is the best way to get the conversation flowing because you won’t feel so nervous speaking about something you love. Once you get going about a topic that you 1) know a lot about and 2) feel strongly about, like a hobby, passion project or something that inspires you, you’ll be on a roll and won’t have time to worry about how you’re coming across, or what your date is thinking. Speaking about your interests might even help you to identify things you have in common!
Don’t… Get too serious with conversation
Your first date shouldn’t be a therapy session. Or a debate for that matter. So try to keep the conversation light and positive, and avoid black holes like exes and family issues. Nothing screams bad date like arguing over politics, or oversharing with, effectively, a stranger. Of course, if it feels right to dip into the deeper stuff, go ahead, but for the first date at least we think it’s best to keep the conversation about yourselves, your hobbies and interests, so you can get an idea of who they are, and if that’s something you’re looking for in a partner.
Do… Be yourself
This is probably the most important “Do” on a first date. It’s 2020 and we don’t have time for lies or pretences, which is why you must be yourself. And we mean it in every aspect. From the way you speak, to the way you act, even the way you dress. Being your authentic self on the first date is vital if you hope to make a meaningful connection with the person you are seeing. When it comes to your appearance, the same thing applies. Don’t try to appear like someone you aren’t, so have a bit of fun with your outfit and makeup, make sure they reflect who you are, and even more importantly, make you feel comfortable and confident. When you feel confident and comfortable, you’ll be able to be your best self.
Don’t… Overthink things
Are you a worrier? Do you plan with excruciating detail and then are upset when things don’t pan out like you planned? Well, we have some bad news. You can’t plan love. And overthinking and dating are not a great combo. Trying to plan and think through every scenario and possibility is not only exhausting, but will make you awkward and unnatural. Conversation won’t be able to flow if you’re too concerned about what you’re saying or how you’re saying it. Plus when you spend too much time in your head, there’s no way you can be present and actually enjoy the moment. Your date will be able to sense this, and it might make them think you’re uninterested or standoffish. And that’s not the impression you want to give.
Do… Be open-minded
While it’s good to have ideas in mind for how you want the date to go, and what you want your date to be like, the reality is that you simply can’t plan those things for sure. Even if you notice something that you don’t particularly like, like their height being different to what you imagined, don’t write them off. You could be closing yourself off from something special for a shallow reason. Being too caught up in how you want things to go might cloud your perceptions and stop you from enjoying what’s actually happening.
In terms of the date itself, don’t be afraid to try something new, it could be a really fun experience, and one you can share together. So shake off your reservations and fears, and enjoy yourself!
Don’t… Get ahead of yourself
While you want to have a positive attitude towards your date, and focus on the things you like about them, don’t get too ahead of yourself. This means no planning your lives together, picking out names for your dog or imagining what they’ll be like with your family on the first date. Chill out. You don’t know this person, and a lot will need to happen before those things can even be a possibility. Like a second date. Planning ahead can also put unnecessary pressure on the situation, and if things don’t go well, you’ll hurt much more than you needed to.
Do… Be honest
At the end of the day, we’re all human beings and can’t be perfect. We all feel nervous and scared, especially when meeting new people, so remember that your date probably feels the same! Being honest about how you feel is a great way to break the ice and take away the weird tension that we get when we’re hyper-aware of the pressure we feel for things to go well. It’ll make you both feel better, and make it easier to start a real conversation when you both feel more relaxed.
Don’t… expect him to pay
For those who are heterosexual, this is an age-old debate. Those of you who are more “old-fashioned” might not agree, but we think it’s time to leave the tradition that the man is supposed to pick up the bill firmly in the past. This isn’t to say that if he offers to pay you can’t accept the gesture, but your attitude going in should be to split the bill. You’re both enjoying the food, or whatever activity you’re doing, so you should expect to pay your way.
Do… Research them
The harsh reality is that these days, people can use the world of online dating and social media to present themselves in a way that is fake or exaggerated. So if you meet online, do your research. Make sure that they are who they say they are before you meet in person - no one wants to be in a situation that could end up on Catfish! Besides being the safe thing to do, a little research into your date may give you ideas of what to talk about on the night, and help you get a rough grasp of the kind of person they are.
Don’t… Ignore your intuition
Although dating should be fun and exciting, unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong. This is where your intuition is of the utmost importance. Be aware of how you feel during the date, and the energy your date is giving off. Whether it’s that you simply don’t connect with them, they’re not very nice, or their behaviour makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, trust that funny feeling in your gut. If this happens, remove yourself from the situation as soon as you can. Call or text a loved one, or seek the support of any staff at the restaurant or venue you’re at, and they can assist in helping you to leave discreetly. Don’t worry about being polite or feeling that you can’t leave - just because you said yes to the date doesn’t obligate you to stay for the whole time.
We hope these tips make the big scary dating world a little less so, and help you to sail through that first date.