Photo from Glenn Lascuña / Flickr
By Catherine Bonke
1. Be honest, but not too honest
The worst thing you can do on a first date is fake who you are. You are on a date with this person so you can get to know each other. Do not deny them the opportunity to see the real you. It is important to find out right from the get-go if the two of you have chemistry.
That being said, the first date is probably not the time to dive into conversations about politics, religion, sex or marriage. If you come in guns blazing, you run the risk of not getting a second date. Save the deeper topics for later dates.
2. Give yourselves something to talk about
Do not be intimidated by a lull in the conversation. This can be especially difficult if you were not friends before you decided to go on a date. Go to the movies, or to a museum. Then, if you run out of things to talk about, you can always comment on the interesting things you saw rather than the weather.
3. Make it unique
Dinner and a movie is a classic, but you want the date to be memorable… if it is going well that is. Do not be afraid to try something new together. Take a walk in a nearby park just because it’s a nice night (be cautious of coming on like a serial killer), or sit on the hood of the car and stargaze for a little while. Even if the relationship does not go anywhere, make it a date that they will not forget.
4. Be courteous
This seems like a basic one, but courtesy is the one thing that can make or break the date. Don’t be late, put your cell phone away and open doors for each other. At the beginning of the night, do not wait in the car for the other person to come out. Go knock on that door! Same thing at the end of the night. It may seem old fashioned, but it is a guaranteed win.
This also applies to the other people who may be around you that night. You get points for opening your date’s car door, but if you are rude to a server, cashier or stranger, it shows that you are nothing but a fake.
5. Keep it light
If you are the eternal pessimist, try stepping into the shoes of an optimist for the evening. You should not change who you are, but it is a drag to be around someone who is negative or cranky. Get excited about the date and the possibility of a new relationship. Let the stress of your bad week melt away for a few hours.
This will help prevent you from moving into interview-mode where you share your biggest weaknesses, a time when you overcame adversity and your career goals. You are trying to get to know someone, not get an internship.
6. Break the touch barrier
No groping. Absolutely no groping.
But it is okay to casually and naturally grab the other person’s hand, touch their arm when they make you laugh and have that end of the night smooch. Physical chemistry is an important element to figure out early. Take it at your own speed. Make sure that both of you are comfortable, and do not judge too quickly because we can all be a little awkward in the beginning.
7. Maintain eye contact
So you are feeling nervous, and you are not sure what to say. Anything and everything is easier to look at than the eyes of your date. But you are not trying to get to know your phone, your plate or the floor, so keep your eyes up! Take a deep breath, relax and look into their eyes when he or she is talking to show that you care, you are engaged and you are confident.