Step 10 – The first date survival guide
The first date is where the fun really begins, but even for the most confident amongst us, meeting someone for the first time can be nerve-wracking. Our first date survival guide is designed to help to put you at ease before and during your date, so you can rest assured it will be enjoyable, and perhaps the first of many more to come.
Eliminate pre-date nerves
In the hours before your first date, make sure you distract yourself and you’ll help to keep those pre-date jitters at bay.
If a workout at the gym is your fail-safe stress reliever or a glowing tan is your ultimate confidence booster, you’re not alone. We are twice as likely to hit the gym ahead of their first date while daters in the North West are 95% more likely to go for a sunbed or apply fake tan! So, whether you chose to indulge in a hot bath and a book, a pre-date calorie burn at the gym or fake it with a spray tan, keeping yourself occupied will prevent you from overthinking possible dating scenarios, so that when it comes to the big date itself, you’ll be relaxed and ready to go have a good time.
Get the basics right
Where possible, choose a public or familiar place to meet where you’ll feel comfortable and secure in your surroundings. And, for extra measure, make sure you tell at least one friend or family member who you are meeting, where you are going and what time you expect to return – just so they know.
Cafes make for great first date venues; a cup of coffee allows for a short encounter or a longer meeting, depending on how well you hit it off!
Do your homeworkAhead of your first date, preparation will play a big part in keeping your stomach from doing somersaults at the mere mention of your date’s name. If you’ve been talking online, it’s more than likely that you’ll know the basics about your date and like what you’ve seen.
Reading through past messages and picking out some things from their profile you’d like to know more about will help keep conversation flowing and allow you to be a happy confident date.
Dress to impressWith a hot date on the cards, you won’t want to be dealing with a last minute wardrobe malfunctions.
Before picking an outfit, you need to bear in mind what kind of date you’re going on, as well as external factors such as the weather, location and time of day.
While it’s essential to look the part, it’s equally as important to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing. The trick is to get the balance right. Choose an outfit that both looks and feels great and you’ll exude confidence throughout your date.
If you’re not sure if it’s a look that works for you then ditch it and save it for another night when you can get an honest opinion from your friends. Trialing a new trend on a date could mean you spend half the night checking yourself out, trying to see if you look good, which isn’t the best signal to be sending out.
Arrive on timeLateness in itself is not a deal-breaker, as long as you call or text to let your date know when you’ll be there.
One way to reduce the chance of a good date is to turn up flustered, grouchy and wracked with guilt. If you’re held up, apologise with dignity, deliver a winning smile and offer your date a drink.
Keep conversation light
The first date is all about enjoying the company of someone new and intriguing, so aim to avoid provoking political debates and stories about past relationships. Dating should be fun, so try to keep the conversation light and upbeat with stories and questions. If you still find yourself struggling then try having some pre-prepared ice breaker questions and read up on how to be an interesting date.
Enjoy the date
Try to have fun on the date. If the food is diabolical or the pub is awful, don’t complain. Don’t lie and say you love it either – remain neutral and polite. If you date has taken time to choose the venue, compliment something about it such as the convenient location.
Another way to keep your date upbeat is to start conversations by asking questions about values and feelings rather than just facts; “what do you love about your job?” is far more revealing and will warrant a longer answer from your date than simply asking “what do you do?”.
Don’t feel as though you need to cram every silence with a comment or question. You might learn a thing or two by simply relaxing and listening to your date. Responding appropriately will show that you too have an opinion and, perhaps more importantly at this stage, that you are interested in what they have to say.
How to end the date
If you’re keen for a second date with this person, tell them! However, if you’re shy, or would prefer to gauge whether they’d like to see you again, perhaps you could hint by saying: “It’s been lovely meeting you, I really enjoyed it.”
If you’re 100% sure you don’t want a second date, it’s important that you still try to end the date on a warm and positive note, while being truthful, to avoid hurt feelings. Honesty truly is the best policy; being honest creates transparency where trust can flourish and is something you can take forward into your next relationship.