So, you met a cool guy who asked you out. Exciting? Totally. A little nerve-wracking? Of course. So, how do you deal with the anxiety that inevitably comes with first-date territory? We all could use some advice in this department. As cliché as it sounds, being yourself is probably the best way to ensure you not only have a good time on a first date, but also get a second date, too.
Nobody likes a pushover, so if your date tells you he’s planned an evening at a sushi restaurant and you don’t eat fish, or he wants to hang at a cocktail lounge but you don’t drink, speak up. It’ll only look strange if you tell him all that after you’re already seated and waiting to order. Same goes for being decisive. If he asks what you’d like to eat, drink, or share for dessert, don’t say “I don’t care, what do you want?” Wishy-washy can get real old, real fast.
2. DON’T Wear Things That You Can’t Walk, Eat, Breathe, or Talk in.
Obviously, you want to look your best, but a first date isn’t the time to take those new 5-inch stilettos out for a road test, or wear that dress that’s a little too tight. Why? Because first dates are anxiety-filled enough and being uncomfortable in your clothes only makes it worse. Plus, won’t it suck to not be able to walk a few blocks on a nice night because your heels are too high? Instead, wear things you know look good on you but won’t hinder you from being cool, calm, and collected.
3. DO Be On Time.
Yeah, we know the whole fashionably-late ideology still exists, but on a first date, you’ll make a better impression if you show up on time. Would you want him to show up late? Probably not. What’s that? It takes you two hours to do your hair? Sounds like you’re perfectly aware of that fact, which means you’ll know exactly how much time you need to prepare ahead of time, even if it’s five hours (hey, we don’t judge.)
4. DON’T N0t Eat.
Most guys will freely tell you that there’s nothing more cliché (read: boring) than a girl who doesn’t eat on a date. If you think not ordering dinner will make you appear skinnier, prettier, more feminine, or more mysterious, guess what? It won’t. What it will do? Probably make your dude a little uncomfortable. In fact, we asked a guy in our office what he thought of girls who don’t eat on dates and he said: “There’s nothing more refreshing than a girl who actually wants to eat on a date. We’re not saying she needs to house four cheeseburgers, but we want girls to be comfortable when they’re out with us, and nothing says they’re uncomfortable and uptight more than not eating!” Got that, ladies?
5. DON’T Drink Too Much.
There’s not much to say here without sounding like a preachy parent, but keep this in mind: Having to be carried home by a guy you barely know isn’t chic (nor is slurring your words, doing something you regret, or crying at the dinner table.) Sure, a cocktail or two can be fun and loosen the mood, but knowing your limits will help make a better first impression.
6. DON’T Obsess Over Your Appearance.
Who wants to waste precious date time running to bathroom to brush your hair, reapply your lipstick, or check the mirror every five minutes? Put as much effort into your appearance as you want before you meet your date, but focus your energy on making solid conversation instead of worrying about how you look. Not to stereotype, but odds are he probably won’t notice that last swipe of lip gloss you just applied, anyway.
7. DO Put Your Phone Away.
This is the big one, ladies: The act of obsessively checking your phone every two minutes could be a bonafide deal breaker. There’s nothing ruder than trying to have a conversation with a person who’s constantly stating at their screens—wouldn’t you be put off if he were paying more attention to his iPhone than to you? Checking Instagram can wait. No, it can’t? Then you’re probably not ready to have a relationship with an actual human just yet. Similarly, do not post any status updates, tweet about your date in real time, or snap any candid pics when he’s not looking. That’s just weird.
8. DON’T Mention Other Guys.
Want to know a surefire way to not get asked out again? Maniacally mention your ex-boyfriend, your dating history, or the laundry list of guys lining up around the block to date you. If you get the urge, step up your game and act your age. Try this instead: Highlight some recent achievements that are about you. He’ll be way more impressed that way.
9. DO Ask Questions.
A foolproof way to ensure that conversation will always be flowing is to simply ask questions. Keep them semi-general: Ask about work, his family, his hobbies, pop culture, his favorite music. Four things to not ask him about? Politics, religion, his exes, and how much cash he pulls in.
10. DO be Real… to a Point.
We’d advise against spilling personal details that he really doesn’t need to know on the very first date (your parents’ messy divorce, your chronic stomachaches, your huge fight with your best friend), but don’t be afraid to let him see your personality. Obsessed with bad TV? Tell him about it! Obsessed with planning your wedding, or the fact that you’re only meeting losers on dating sites? Keep it to yourself. He doesn’t need to know every innermost thought and feeling yet.
11. DO Offer to Pay.
A tactful way to do this is to simply reach for the check when it comes. If he insists, offer to split the bill, or at least leave the tip. He’ll probably decline, so make sure you offer to get the cab to the next destination, the movie tickets, or a round of drinks. However, if you offer to pay or split, be prepared to actually pay or split. Don’t play games. Not offering, however, could translate to entitled.
12. DON’T Stalk Him via Text After the Date.
In today’s world, texting is a viable means of communication after a date, but there are a few rules we all should follow. If you had a wonderful time and feel like shooting him a casual text later that night or the next day, go for it. Here’s a quick primer:
- “Had a really good time, thanks again!” is fine.
- “OMG had the best time EVER, ur sooooo amazing and I can’t wait to see u again. Wanna do brunch with me and my BFFs tomorrow??! LMK ASAP xoxox!!!” is not.
13. DON’T Dominate the Convo.
If you’re nervous, it can be easy to want to fill any awkward silence with chatter. But not only will it betray your nerves (making you look a little less cool and confident), it might also make you look self-involved. When in doubt, and feeling the need to say SOMETHING, return to tip number nine, and ask him something.
14. DO be Positive.
No matter how shitty of a day you had at work, or whether the restaurant you’re at has terrible service, or the movie you saw is total crap—try your best to stay positive when getting to know someone. It’ll alleviate any anxiety he’s having about whether he’s showing you a good time, and it’ll just make you more fun to be around, pure and simple.
15. DON’T Start Talking About the Future.
We hate to say it, but this is a surefire way to scare a guy off after the first date. Not to mention that it makes you look less mysterious and a potentially a little desperate (even though you’re not!). You had a full life before you met this guy, so don’t ask him when the next time you’ll be hanging out is or tell him about the party your roommate is having or the work event you’d love him to join you at. Let him lead the way when it comes to the next date—at least for tonight!