Going out with someone for the first time can be unnerving. We have all heard or experienced those horrendous dates that just keep going downhill. Dates where you wish you could zone out during boring conversations, use Harry Potter magic to teleport anywhere else, or even pretend to go to the bathroom and never come back.
To try and avoid these scenarios, here are a few things that you should and shouldn’t do during a first date.
First and foremost, be honest with your date. You shouldn’t make up stories about yourself or act like a different person. That means don’t pull an “I was drafted into the NFL” lie or use a pretend British accent. Your date is trying to get to know you so don’t mislead them. Be clear about your intentions so that you don’t end up with different expectations.
“Games are for kids, players belong on a soccer field, so don’t do either when dating,” says life/dating coach Terri Giosia.
Before your date, you should put extra effort into the way you look. Let’s be honest, first impressions are important. Despite the popular saying, people do judge a book by its cover, so make sure you look good without overdoing it. Also, complimenting your date can go a long way and it can help make them feel more comfortable. You should maintain eye contact; nobody wants a date who is checking out someone else. You need to show interest in your date, both through body language and through conversation.
“I think that perhaps the most common first date mistake is someone who dominates the conversation, talking only about themselves, without showing an interest in the other person,” says marriage and family therapist Rebecca Murray. “A first date should be a chance to get to know one another, not provide a complete list of one’s accomplishments and achievements.”
To get off on a good start, make sure that you don’t arrive late. It shows lack of respect towards your date. If you know there might be traffic, leave earlier. If lateness is inevitable, call your date to let them know and apologize. Another act that is disrespectful during a date is to answer your phone or to text, unless it is an emergency. Your attention should be focused on the person you’re with and using your phone shows a lack of interest.
Try to pick a place where you can enjoy yourself and get to know the person. You shouldn’t pick places where you can’t even talk, such as the movies. Coffee or dinner is fine, but being creative can earn you good points. Your date will appreciate the fact that you put some thought into it.
Once you’re with the person, be conscious of what you are saying. “Don’t brag, brag, brag or try to over impress someone,” says Giosia.
It is normal to be nervous on a first date, especially if you really like the person. However, there are some things that should just not be said. Avoid talking about your ex at all times. It will only result in making your date wonder if you’re really over them. It is dreadful to sit there and listen to someone rant on about past relationships.
“I went on a date with this girl that wouldn’t stop talking about her ex-boyfriend. She kept going on and on about what he did and didn’t like about her. All the while I was sitting there thinking about how I couldn’t care less,” said psychology student Michael Wirth-Bergeron.
Concordia student Katherine Duggan was unimpressed with her experience in a date with a “guy who spent the whole time talking about his five month trip down south backpacking and all the girls he slept with and all the drugs he took.”
Don’t talk or ask about extremely intimate issues, such as favourite sexual positions or the amount of the lovers the person had. It will not only make them uncomfortable, but also implies that you are only interested in them physically. Trust me, there is such a thing as sharing too much. Sure, a date is a chance to get to know someone but you don’t have to know every detail about them the first time around.
During your date, be polite to anyone you have interaction with and that includes your waiter. People notice the little things and mouthing off to the waiter makes you look arrogant and rude. A “please” and a “thank you” once in a while shows courtesy.
Following your date, if you’re not planning on calling them again, you shouldn’t tell them that you will. Giving someone false hope is cruel and can result in making them quite bitter towards you. If you are both clearly interested, arrange another date. There is really no point in waiting a certain amount of days before calling the person and they might get confused about your feelings towards them. You should always thank your date for a nice time. It shows appreciation to the person and how you acknowledge that they took time to get to know you.
Most importantly, you should just be yourself. In the end, if you can’t be natural around the person you’re with, then there is no point in pursuing a relationship with them.