Do's and Don'ts
Ah the land of first dates. These can be the most uncomfortable, awkward, get-me-out-of-here situations of your life. It's weird to sit down, often in a semi-fancy place, with someone you don't know jack about and try to get to know them. Everybody comes with baggage, issues and quirks that can take years to get past; definitely not something you can crack after 5 hours together. Why do we put ourselves through this anyway?
Oh yeah, because sometimes it's the beginning of exciting and other fruitful activities. All of a sudden, you stumble upon something that works. Hoorah! You're charming, your date is into it, and everything goes smoothly. But what if your technique doesn't work on the next date? Unfortunately everyone is different, so there are no guarantees when it comes to dating.
DO pick a neutral setting for a first date. The last thing you want to do is offend your date right at the start. Be creative though- the old, tired go-tos are well...old and tired. Do something that will make your date think, "Wow, this is fun and different!" Picnics, miniature golf, art shows...think outside the box. Daytime first dates can also be fun, especially if there's a fair or special event going on.
DON'T go somewhere loud where you can't even hear each other. No movies or concerts on the first date, unless you want to repeat said date later at another less noisy location. And anyway, it's better to save the movies and concerts for when you actually know what each other likes. I've had to sit through some pretty stupid movies I didn't want to see because my date picked them without knowing I would fall asleep.
*The Most Inappropriate Conversation
This example is taken from a true story. My friend and I were unlucky enough to hear all about how some dude almost died. We were at a club. Yes, a club. Unfortunately, we were in the outdoor area, so we heard every word this guy said. His story was long, boring and way too detailed for its surroundings. Don't be THAT guy.
DO keep the conversation interesting. Touch on a number of subjects, giving sparse details on each (just the necessities), and use humor on more than one occasion. There are very few people in the world who can't appreciate humor, and you don't want to date those lameos anyway- it's good to catch them early if anything.
DON'T talk about past relationships, give your entire life story, or tell any incredibly long, boring stories. First dates aren't the time to tell the story about how you almost died*(see sidebar) or why you've lived in 10 houses in 2 years. Save it for when you're actually getting to know each other down the line. Your story about how you climbed Mount Everest will be much more impressive when your date is looking to get to know the details of your life.
How Men Should Act
DO act like a gentleman. Emphasis here is on "gentle" AND "man." Very rarely will you find a girl who doesn't appreciate gentlemanly gestures. Be courteous and sweet, without being cheesy. Hold a door open for her and guide her through the menu if she can't decide. Be the man of the date. Have a plan for the night before you pick her up.
DON'T wing it. And do NOT make her decide what you're going to do. Women want to be led, not by chauvinistic pigs, but by caring men who have their best interests in mind.
How Far is Too Far
DO be affectionate. If things are going well, it's perfectly appropriate to hold hands, put your arm around her shoulder, and give soft touches. If things are going really well, a kiss on the first date can be appropriate, but look for signals that it's moving in that direction. A first kiss is not always how first dates end these days- waiting for the second or third date to kiss is just fine. So if your first date doesn't end with a kiss, just be patient- your date is a serious gentleman!
DON'T be a ho. Sleeping with someone on the first date, if you're looking for more than just a hook up buddy, is going way too far. If you sleep together before getting to know each other, not only are you doing things way backwards, but it'll actually stifle the getting to know you process. As your date will be more interested in getting you in the sack than wanting to know anything about you.
First dates are like riding a bike. The more dates you go on, the better you'll be at them. The simplest advice I leave you with is Be Yourself. Don't be the "yourself" that picks your nose and doesn't wash your socks, but be the self you show to strangers. And most importantly, good luck out there!
Amanda Jones on July 11, 2013:
Excellenthub, nice tips, thanks for shared this info.
M. Rose (author) from Orange County, CA on June 15, 2011:
Suramya.K, yes it is true! For almost all women. Women can make decisions themselves, but when it comes to dating, we want men to make the decisions about what we do, where we go, etc. That way we can relax and focus on being the woman in the relationship. Most men are natural decision makers...women, not so much. Check out David Deida. He talks about this stuff a lot.
Suramya.K on May 20, 2011:
"....And do NOT make her decide what you're going to do. Women want to be led..."
Are you sure this is true? I think its just the opposite!!
rebu from Coorg,India on April 20, 2010:
Thnx for sharing
M. Rose (author) from Orange County, CA on October 15, 2009:
Great additions, Newyork. I think most people would agree that blind dates are even more uncomfortable than regular first dates! Thanks for commenting :)
Wesley Barras from Anchorage, AK on October 15, 2009:
D0....be natural and be yourself. If its weird and you have to think a lot than its not going to work out. And stay away from blind dates.