1. Be on Time
Make every effort to be where you said you’d be. You want your date to feel comfortable and relaxed—not anxious or upset for waiting alone at a restaurant, party, or crowded bar. If you are running late, send your date a quick text message that includes 1., your ETA (that’s estimated time of arrival) and, 2., some positive affirmation.
“My boss dropped by my desk for an impromptu meeting, so I’ll be about 10 minutes late. Terrible timing on her part, because I’m excited to meet you.”
“The parking situation is a little crazy, but I’ll be parked and enjoying dinner with you in the next 10 minutes.”
2. Ask Questions
You might think this one is just too obvious, but it is the single most important component of a successful first date. Everyone loves talking about themselves; however, the goal of the first date is to learn more about someone else. Talk about your interests and your opinions, but ask your date for his or her perspective.
“The new sushi place on Main Street has great atmosphere, but I think their sushi is just okay. How does sushi rank on your food hierarchy?”
“I used my vacation time in Europe, but next time I’d like to go to the Caribbean. Are you more into beaches or skiing?”
3. Keep It Light
The first date is your opportunity to figure out if chemistry exists—that’s all. So, have some fun with it. Talk about things that make you laugh or interest you. Hopefully, you and your date share some common interests or, at the very least, want to learn more about each others hobbies. The first date is NOT the time to ask your date about future children, past relationships, or personal issues. It’s also not a good idea to discuss your vulnerabilities. In other words, your date should not know about your therapist or your brother’s stint in rehab. If the relationship progresses, there will be time for you to discuss the hard stuff, but the first date is not it. Relate, don’t unload.
4. Read the Cues
Your date’s body language and facial expressions will help guide you—make sure you pay attention. If your “hilarious” joke doesn’t make your date laugh, you might want to rethink your content. Meanwhile, if your date pulls his or her chair in closer to yours or wipes some food off your cheek—congratulations—you are doing well.
5. Appreciate Your Date
At the end of your date, say thank you. Regardless of who initiated the date, you should thank your date for spending his or her personal time with you. Even if you didn’t make a love connection, your manners and consideration will end the night on a positive note.