What not to do on a first date
That first get-together is all-important – the impression you make during these initial hours together may well determine whether or not your relationship progresses, or doesn’t even make it as far as a second date. It’s only natural to feel butterflies in the stomach when setting out to meet someone who is, at this point, a relative stranger. Whether you’ve arrived at this point after bumping into each other at a nightclub the previous weekend, an introduction brokered by a mutual friend, or a series of message exchanges via an online dating site, your first date is crucial. Given that so much is riding on this moment, it’s worthwhile considering some of the key points.
For women, when it comes to dressing for the occasion there’s a balance to be achieved. On the one hand, that cleavage-enhancing bra or drop-dead gorgeous skirt will certainly get your potential partner’s jaw hitting the floor the moment you stride into the bar. But it will also attract the attention of other guys in the vicinity. A little bit of jealousy never did any harm in a relationship, but perhaps that’s something that should be kept until much later on. Of course, you’ll want to look as sexy and appealing as possible. Just don’t overdo it. Far better to hint at what’s to follow rather than go in all guns blazing.
For men, you don’t want to turn up in something too casual, as if you’ve just popped in to meet this woman after attending your favorite football team’s latest victory. If you give the appearance of not having bothered too much about what you look like, this will give the message you are feeling apathetic about the date. You don’t have to go overboard and show up in your smartest suit as if you’ve got a best man’s speech tucked away in your pocket. All you have to do is dress smartly and neatly.
That initial impression
It doesn’t matter if you’ve just met somewhere in the city and agreed to have a date or have been chatting on the online dating site for a while, you need to convey friendliness and informality. Nerves are an intrinsic aspect of human behavior, but these can be channeled into a positive. If your adrenaline is flowing you’ll be focussed. Your conversation is liable to flow better as your imagination sparks in different directions. One of the worst things you can do is to try and counter nervousness by stoking yourself with too much alcohol. A drink can be an excellent ice-breaker, but far better to match each other’s intake round for round so you enjoy getting merry together, rather than one of you showing up already stumbling around and slurring words.
It might seem a tall order from the outset, but it’s far better to appear to be in control of a situation than to come across as shy and retiring. A first date is a fragile enough predicament at the best of times without you coming across as a shrinking violet. No matter what inner turmoil you might be feeling, if you can at least give the impression of confidence and assertiveness your date will progress well. If you are both cowering at opposite sides of the table, blurting out nonsense in-between embarrassing silences, then your relationship is never going to get beyond first base.
What to talk about
Chat is the lifeblood of the first date. Staring hopelessly into one another’s eyes over a candle-lit table in a restaurant is something to look forward to once you are totally comfortable in each other’s company. But at the initial get-together than a degree of familiarity is still a long way off. Until then you need to start seriously getting to know one another. This is how a relationship is gradually cemented, by finding out all you can about this potential partner.
The worst thing that can happen at this stage is the awkward moment when neither of you can think of what to say next. But this social faux pas is easily pre-empted with some quick thinking. If the conversation does dry up, no matter where you happen to be, all you need do is excuse yourself. Once you’ve popped into the restroom, check out your phone where you will have previously input a list of topics in the Notes field. After a quick scan of these, you can return to your companion with a fresh conversation subject/anecdote ready to be unleashed.
Once the drinks are flowing and the chat is sparking along nicely, there are certain themes which should be avoided like the plague. By all means, discuss your work, but only superficially. Don’t bore your partner by talking about complete strangers. And never ever talk about exes, politics or religion. The key is to keep it as light and friendly as possible. Then you can start flirting.