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How to Not Mess Up a First Date

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Last week I told you how to write a good online dating profile and guess what? Now you have a first date. Here are a few tips to not mess it up. 

First dates are intimidating and you may be nervous. When you get nervous you start talking and your bestie isn’t there to clap their hand over your mouth. Been there. Done that.

One way to stop that is to just remember to not reveal too much personal information. Your goal on date number one is to show them that you’re wonderful and you’re a great catch and get to date number two. If you tell your date you bite your toenails or you have OCD and you have to flip the lights on and off 17 times before you enter a room or your family will die, don’t expect a call back. On the other hand, don’t lie about things, but don’t put it all out on the table. Leave them wanting more so they call you back for a second date. Save the toenail thing until date five.

Don’t be stiff and awkward. If you need to get there early and have a glass of wine to loosen up, do it, but don’t get drunk. That sends bad signals. Have a casual conversation about where you’re from, what you do, etc. but don’t ask them in a manner where it feels like an interrogation. More good questions to ask is when the food comes, ask how their entree tastes and then ask if they like to cook. Then ask about their hobbies and life influences. You could also go straight for the jugular and ask what they hate most about the dating process.

When you’re asking questions, don’t bring up current affairs. Gun control, gay marriage, the debt ceiling, anything like that should be off limits. So is religion. Unless you met on a Catholic singles website, religion is off limits. I had one date ask about it and when he wouldn’t drop it, I told him which faith I practiced and he proceeded to attack it, so I asked him to bring me home. That was the last time we went out. Instead ask about their upbringing and childhood. If they say “I went to an all boys Catholic school” or “My mom was a strict Lutheran”, then you can say something like “Me too!” or “What was that like?”

The place you meet for the first date could be busy, but whatever you do, don’t check out other people. I was going out with a guy on a pretty regular basis and one night, he proceeded to check out every woman in the place. When I noticed he was hard core staring at one girl in the middle of a story I was telling, I stopped talking and waited until he returned his attention to me. He turned his attention back to me and wasn’t even the slightest bit ashamed. I asked if he would like to go over and talk to her and he got very defensive. Also, keep your nose out of your phone. That’s also very irritating and sends the signal that whatever is going on in Facebookland is infinitely more important than what your date is saying. I understand if it’s work or your mom, but it’s best to keep your phone in your pocket or handbag.

Finally, don’t say you’re going to call if you don’t intend to. At the end of the date, just be honest. What you should say is “I had a nice time” with no promise of some sort of follow up.

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