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25 effective first date tips to make a great impression

Thanks to dating apps and websites, scoring a first date is easier now more than ever. But nowadays, there are too many first dates and not enough follow-up dates.

Is it you? Is it him or her? Is it just dating in the modern world? How do you make sure they’re having a good time without sacrificing your own fun?

Worry not. Here are 25 first date tips every woman and man should know before hopping on a carriage with the one.

1) Do something different

Tired of the usual first date gimmicks? Then why not try something fun for a change?

Instead of setting up another alcohol or caffeine-induced date, why not spend the day doing something outside typical first date traps?

Think museums, escape rooms, and all the other recreational spaces open to the public.

Especially if you’re trying to get a good impression, it helps to plan the day with a little bit of creativity.

2) Location, location, location.

It’s true that the best first date has a lot to do with the location you choose to have the date.

For example, if your first date is at a corn maze in the middle of October, but your date didn’t bring a sweater and there’s mud up to her knees, well the date isn’t going to go well at all now, is it?

It’s a good idea to not spring a surprise on your date either, by the way, especially if she needed boots for wading through mud and is wearing her cute new heels she bought just for the occasion.

3) Who pays?

Let’s settle this debate once and for all. It’s totally okay to let a guy pay, especially if he was the one who initiated the date. 

If the guy has agreed to the date, the chances are he’s prepared for the entire day and yes, that includes spending some time and money.

Of course, the girl can offer to pay; most guys appreciate that. However, know that the girl is not obligated to split the bill every single time.

If the guy offers, it’s because they want to treat the girl to a good time. Besides, it’s the first date.

Don’t sweat a detail as small as this. Just have fun and see how it goes then decide whether it’s better to let them pay or to split it with them instead.

4) Come as yourself

Too many people worry about whether they’re interesting, smart, or attractive enough for a person they’re seeing for the first time.

Out of anxiety, some of us end up fabricating lies about our jobs and our personal lives just to make ourselves look a little bit more interesting.

Not that it helps in the long-run. A relationship founded on lies is never going to work out.

Before going on that first date, remember first and foremost that you’re awesome just the way you are. Even if you think you’re behaving awkwardly, it’s much better to be yourself than someone else. 

Take a shot (or two or three) or call a friend to settle the nerves. Stop worrying so much because, after all, this is just your first date. Your primary goal should be to enjoy the day.

5) Keep the conversation going

A surefire way to not get a second date is to be a boring conversationalist. That’s not just science talking, that’s every person on the planet.

Some people aren’t great at expressing themselves, so if you struggle in the conversation department, have a list of questions that you can ask to keep the conversation going.

Thankfully, we live in an age where it would be totally cool to pull out your phone with questions on it and declare, “I thought it would be fun to each answer these questions to get to know each other a bit better!”

6) Put your phone on hold

Aside from alcohol and coffee, awkward lulls and deafening silences are the staples of any first date.

In these moments, it can be extra tempting to whip out your phone and pretend like you have a dozen emails to attend to.

However uncomfortable it feels, never resort to pulling out your phone to fill in the silences.

Use it as an opportunity to reflect on how the date is going with your company.

You can ask things like, “Are you enjoying your time so far?” or “How do you usually spend your time with someone?” as ice breakers for those awkward moments.

Whatever you do, though, keep your phones in your pockets.

7) Have a reasonable amount of alcoholic drinks

So the date’s going really well. You decide to extend your lunch to dinner and dinner to drinks.

The next order of business?

Making sure you’re not too drunk that you either start giving them the lowest moments of your dating history or that you throw up in their car.

Enjoy the night, sure, but not so much that you end up on their list worst first dates ever.

Because let’s be honest:

If you want to get a thumbs down from your date, drink as much and as fast as you can. This ensures that they don’t get to know the real you and you don’t have to be nice about it. No second dates for this lush, thanks.

8) Prep your mind

Before heading out on the date, make sure you don’t have any lingering thoughts or issues from the day that might take away from your excitement or experience.

If you are really troubled by something from work or a family matter, consider rescheduling the date because science tells us that when our mind is not in the right place, many things go wrong.

We miss red lights, we say stupid things, and of course, we don’t make a good impression on our date.

9) Don’t be afraid to tease him

Who doesn’t love witty banter?

Don’t be afraid to poke fun at them and joke around with them a little bit.

Tease them just enough that they laugh but not so much that they think you’re an inconsiderate jerk by the end of the day.

It’s only natural for people to enjoy the company of those who they think can pick their brains. 

So don’t hesitate to throw in a sassy line or two; chances are they’re going to think you’re confident, witty, and undeniably attractive.

So much so that they could already be planning date number two!

10) Know yourself

Dating is tough stuff sometimes so it helps if you are comfortable with who you are and what you have to offer someone in a relationship.

If you are unsure of your own worth or what someone might see in you, it might end up like being a terrible experience for both of you and you’ll walk away feeling less than stellar about yourself.

11) Look them up

As casual as first dates can get, there’s nothing wrong with making sure you know just enough info about them to get a conversation going.

The same way you don’t want to go into a job interview knowing absolutely nothing about the company, you also don’t want to go into a date knowing nothing but they’re screen name and face.

Look them up just enough that you have conversation points. And the most important thing is to actually mention that you did.

Casually say stuff like, “So I saw you on Facebook and…” as opposed to launching off to ask them about their 7-day backpacking trip. Now that’s how you come off as a stalker.

12) Clean up

First dates can make or break any future potential of your relationship, so take the time to take a shower, put on nice clothes, and do your hair.

Sounds simple but in this day of “come as you are” and “love me for who I really am” it can be hard to stomach someone who shows up looking like they just fell off a dump truck.

13) Check your body language

Before you go out on a date, consider how your body language might help to make the experience more enjoyable or at least, less awkward.

If you are confident in your body, you can lean in and be close.

If you are awkward and shy, it will not leave your date feeling like they want to be involved you at all.

Consider how your body presents itself from a scientific point of view and make the necessary changes before heading out on a date so you and your date are comfortable.

14) Watch and mirror their body language

If you want your first date to go well, make your date feel as comfortable as possible by mirroring their body language.

They’ll leave saying they feel like they’ve known you forever and not even know why.

The reason why is that they felt like they were talking to themselves all night, in the best way possible.

How do you do this?

Talk at a similar pace. If using relaxed body language, do the same. If they’re expressive with their hands, feel free to do the same.

15) Be interesting

If you don’t have anything interesting to talk about, take a class, try a dance lesson, make a pottery piece, listen to new music, watch a movie you’d never watch normally, or talk to a stranger on the street to get some practice with being interesting.

If you want your date to go well, you need to be interesting, so get interested in being interesting and have fun with it!

16) Let go if it doesn’t work out

If it clearly doesn’t work out, do you call them to ask if they want to go for round 2?

Do you text them five messages telling them you had a good time? Or do you simply accept the fact that maybe there was no spark between you two?

Never put all your chips in a first date because it’s never going to be as rewarding or as meaningful as a long-term relationship.

Take these dates exactly for what they are: as an opportunity to mingle, practice social skills, and understand what you’re looking for in a partner.

Who cares if they don’t work out? There are so many other first dates you could go on.

If Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler can go on fifty first dates, there’s no reason why you can’t either.

17) Keep your hands to yourself

If you are a Grabby George on your first date, you can pretty much guarantee that things will get awkward, and maybe even a little blurry for you.

She (or he) might smoke you upside the head and let you know the hard way that they don’t like be groped.

18) Don’t be afraid to reveal information about yourself 

If you don’t want to go on another date with someone, make sure to tell them nothing about yourself.

We’ve heard of lots of people who do this by accident citing, “I was just trying to be polite and listen.”

If you’re going to see them again, then you need to let them know something about who you are. You don’t have to reveal everything, but you should at least have something to say about what you do and what some of your hobbies are.

It will make them feel more comfortable and it will help build rapport between the two of you.

19) Don’t use a coupon

Okay, so there is something to be said about being frugal and with the right date this might be totally okay, but on the first date you just can’t tell.

Leave your savings clippings at home until date number two unless you don’t want a second date.

You can enjoy the 2-for-1 pizza all to yourself next time.

20) Don’t let them do ALL the talking

If you’d rather be anywhere than be on this date, let her (or him) do all the talking.

You can zone in and out as it suit you and then you don’t need to commit to anything after that. It’s easy to guarantee you won’t have a second date with someone: don’t pay attention to them.

21) Don’t talk about your ex non-stop

If awkward is what you are after, bringing up your ex is a great way to kill the mood and make your date want to run home.

It’s worse if you say mean and horrible things about your ex. Your date can easily see you saying those things about them and it’s game over from there. It also clearly shows that you’re not fully over your ex.

22) Don’t badmouth other people in front of your date

This kind of communication, although is shows you’ve got an eye for detail, only serves to enhance your toxic energy. And nobody likes spending time with toxic and negative people.

So if you want to lift the posiitve energy and build some rapport, try to see the best in people when you talk about them.

23) Don’t name drop as much as possible

People love it when you name drop on first dates. Oh sorry, that’s not true.

So if you want to make a lasting impression that isn’t so positive, be sure to name every single person of any influence you’ve ever met or seen walking down the street.

Your date will love that – just kidding.

24) Don’t Tell offensive jokes

Again, this one might really depend on your audience, but it’s just good manners to not tell awful jokes on your first date – or ever.

Jokes have their place but until you know who you are dealing with and their background and beliefs and just so many other things, you shouldn’t tell offensive jokes on first dates.

25) Don’t talk poorly about your family members.

If you want to make a terrible impression on your first date, say bad things about your mom. Any guy or girl worth dating is going to be turned off by this and they’ll turn around and head the other way.

If a second date is what you want, be positive about your family.

In Conclusion

So whether you are going on your first date ever or your 30th first date, take the time to consider how you can make it special using proven techniques and tactics.

It’s not a game, but it can certainly be played that way when you have something to offer the other person and are doing the work on yourself to show up and be interesting enough that they want to have a second date!

For more inspirational articles on mindfulness and self-improvement, like Hack Spirit on Facebook.

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Lachlan Brown

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you to want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter or Facebook.

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