Do’s and Don’ts of The First Date

I know, I know, the whole topic is cringe worthy. But frankly, if you were following the clichés, I wouldn’t be hearing about so many people having the one-and-done. I want you to have a second date! So open up. Here comes your medicine:

DO show your date that they have your undivided attention. Make eye contact (just enough - not in a creepy way), ask thought-provoking questions (we’re all secretly dying to talk about ourselves – don’t worry about sounding nosy), and use your date’s stories as a springboard to share about your own life. 

DON’T be the douchebag glued to your phone. If you absolutely must look at it, excuse yourself and do it in the bathroom. Having the self-control to abstain from looking at one’s phone reads as self-control, self-discipline, and an ability to delay gratification – and if you have the ability to delay gratification in one area of your life, well then…. Seriously, in our culture of instant gratification, this ability will set you apart from the crowd.

DO get it up – I’m talking about your energy. We’re all attracted to happy, energetic people. Your high energy doesn’t have to look like mine (which rivals a teenage cheerleader’s). It can just be an intensity, a presence – that x-factor that tells your date that you’re 100% in. But how to conjure up an energy level that doesn’t come naturally? Put together a playlist of songs that put a huge smile on your face, that make you recall a time in your life when you were full of hope and dreams (the best movie soundtracks do this). Listen to the playlist on your way to the date. It will put you in the right mindset.

DON’T be passive, expecting your date to keep the conversation going, filling in the silences, pulling all the weight. It’s exhausting. If you’re an introvert, ask questions that will spawn the conversation forward, which will keep your date talking while showing that you’re fully present.

DO be on time. It tells your date that you value their time and that you cared enough about the date to be punctual. It also speaks volumes about who you are as a person. 

DON’T get drunk. This is a very subjective directive which makes me uneasy so I’m going to further clarify: Take the number of drinks that it generally takes for you to get drunk, and divide it in half. That’s how much you should drink on a first date. Not a sip more. And make sure you don’t show up on an empty stomach, even if it’s dinner. No one wants to deal with a hangry date, or someone more susceptible to getting sloppy.

DO discuss positive topics. Have some predetermined topics / stories on hand to share. If you can add humor (that you’ve rehearsed in front of friends who have confirmed that it lands properly), even better.  

DON’T be an emotional slut. No one wants to hear about your childhood traumas on the first (several) date(s). Also, don’t engage in monologues. Know how to read a room. Eyes glazed over = your date is bored and needs to be part of the conversation. Take a breath. Ask a question

DO leave while the party’s still fun. I know, I know. Who wants to end the fun? You do. Why? Because it will ensure a second date.

DON’T close the [restaurant, bar, lounge, insert venue here]. Because now you have the added complication of whether to hook up, (read: sleep together), to which the answer is a resounding NO. If you leave while the party’s still fun, you’re more likely to be sober, less likely to be in a seductive haze and more able to sidestep the issue of sex on the first date entirely.

DO make physical contact. Ever hear the story about the guy who falls into the friend zone, never to make the transition to boyfriend? I’m not suggesting you grope her, but there are various levels of personal touch, some of which connote the friend zone (read: zero physical contact), while others communicate an interest in intimacy (hand on her lower back as she walks in front of you, casually making contact with her hand or knee while sharing a laugh).

DON’T brag. Nothing is more embarrassing than when someone is trying too hard. Humility is an underrated virtue. Let your date learn some things by asking, particularly if they’re impressive.