It finally happened: you nabbed a date with the guy or girl of your dreams and you want to make sure to impress them. Though you may be sweating bullets in anticipation, there are a ton of things you can do to make sure the date goes incredibly well.
Preparing for the Date
Take some time to relax. Before the date, you might feel anxious, nervous, excited, or any combination of the 3. To help calm these pre-date jitters, try doing something relaxing that can take your mind off the upcoming occasion and put you in an easygoing, happy mood. Some different ways to calm down include:
- Working out or doing yoga
- Reading a book
- Watching a movie or TV show
- Singing your favorite song
Prepare some simple first date questions. If you’re nervous about what to say on the date, try coming up with some conversation starters you can fall back on if necessary. These can revolve around topics like family, pets, art, hobbies, and current events. If you can’t think of anything, try general questions like
- “What are some things on your bucket list?”
- “What are your favorite movies/musicians/books?”
- “If you could get a front row ticket to any event, which 1 would you choose?”
Take a shower and groom yourself. Before your date, take a bath or shower and make sure to clean every part of your body. Then, put on some antiperspirant or deodorant, brush your teeth, and get your hair ready. If necessary, freshen up 1 more time right before the date.
- If you have facial hair, make sure to either shave it off or trim it down so your face looks nice and clean.
- If you want, put on some first date makeup that matches your outfit.
- A small amount of perfume or cologne can make a powerful statement.
Put on nice clothes that match the occasion. If you’re going to a high-class restaurant or similarly fancy place, put on something elegant like a nice dress or good-looking suit. If you’re spending your time in a relaxed environment like a movie theater or putt-putt course instead, go for something casual that flatters you.
- No matter what you wear, make sure it doesn’t restrict your breath or movement too much. First dates are all about getting to know each other, so something that makes it difficult to interact will lead to a bad first impression.
- If you’re going to a place that requires a lot of walking, leave the heels at home.
Clean your car if you’re using it on the date. A dirty car may drive perfectly fine, but it will give your date a bad first impression. To avoid this, clean out the inside of your car to remove any trash or unwanted objects. If there are a lot of crumbs inside your car, use a vacuum to pick them up. If the outside of your car is noticeably dirty, run it through a car wash.
- If the inside of your car has a distinct odor, purchase a hanging air freshener.
Pick up a small gift for your date as a pleasant surprise. Giving your date a small present will create a great first impression, especially if they aren’t expecting it! For a more formal or traditional occasion, try bringing a bouquet of flowers or a small box of chocolates. For something more casual or unique, consider bringing a small stuffed animal or baked treat.
- The point of the gift is to show that you care, so avoid giving anything big or expensive on your first date.
- If you’re going to a place that sells small gifts, like a museum or fair, try buying your present during the date instead.
- Though most people give their gift at the beginning of the date, you can save it for the middle or end if you prefer.
Having a Great Time
Show up on time. Whether you’re picking your date up or taking separate cars, make sure to arrive at the time you agreed upon. If possible, show up a couple of minutes early. Though being tardy by a minute or 2 will not make a huge difference, anything more will start your date off on the wrong foot.
- If you think you will be late for reasons outside of your control, such as slow traffic, let your date know via text message.
Be kind and polite to your date. To make a good first impression, be kind to your date and everybody else you interact with. Do your best to stay positive throughout the night and, if you get angry or sad, do you best not to show it. Avoid saying anything cruel even if you mean it as a joke since it will make you appear rude and unkind.
- You don’t have to follow a specific set of etiquette rules, just avoid doing things that make you look mean.
- If you’re at a restaurant, make sure to use good table manners when eating. To avoid coming off as callous, be polite to your server and leave a generous tip.
- If you’re going to a place that serves alcohol, don’t drink more than you can handle. Getting drunk is the easiest way to ensure your date never calls back.
Communicate openly and honestly. A first date is all about getting to know each other, so try to be as open and honest as possible. Putting on a face will only lead to further problems down the road, so use your conversations as a way to show your date who you really are.
- Though you shouldn’t try to be someone you’re not, save sensitive subjects like your sexual desires, previous relationships, and personal struggles for a later time.
- Though most people consider religious and political topics off-limits, they may be worth bringing up if you think it could be a problem down the road.
Ask your date questions about their life. To see if you truly click with your date, try asking them questions about the thing they care about most: themselves. Not only will this teach you more about who they are, but it will keep you from coming off as self-centered. Make sure to actually listen to what they say and respond appropriately. Some good things to ask about include:
- Where your date went to school and what they studied.
- Whether or not your date has siblings, children, or pets.
- What your date does for a living.
- What hobbies your date enjoys.
- What movies, TV shows, musicians, books, and other forms of art your date enjoys.
Don’t be afraid to flirt. If things appear to be going well, try flirting with your date to see what happens! Start out by paying them small compliments or gently teasing them. If they respond positively, try breaking the touch barrier by placing your hand on their arm or shoulder. If they begin to show signs of being uncomfortable, however, stop immediately. If you go too far too fast, they most likely will be freaked out, or at least a little uncomfortable. Some other simple flirting techniques include:
- Smiling at your date.
- Looking into your date’s eyes when they are talking.
- Laughing at your date’s jokes even if they’re not particularly funny.
- Opening up your stance so you seem friendly and approachable.
Offer to pay for the date. Determining who pays for a date is often the most difficult part of the occasion. As a general rule, assume that the person who asked for the date will pay for everything, but offer to take the bill out of courtesy. If your date declines, offer to “go Dutch” and pay for yourself. They may still say “no,” but asking shows that you aren’t just trying to score a free meal.
- Though society used to expect men to pay for everything, these gender norms are not as common among younger generations.
End the night with a kiss if it feels right. Though most first dates don’t end in sex, showing your date a really wonderful time might lead to a kiss. If your date seems like they want to kiss you, lean in toward their lips. If they turn away or otherwise indicate that they don’t want to kiss, apologize and give them space. To figure out if your date is down to kiss, look to see if they:
- Stare at your lips while you’re talking.
- Subtly touch or bite their lips.
- Start talking in a softer voice.
Follow up with your date the next day. If you had a good time, make sure to call your date the next day. Thank them for taking the time to go out with you, and mention that you’d love to meet up with them again in the future. If they do not answer, make sure to leave a voicemail instead.
- Though making a call is typically the best option, you can follow up via text or social media if that’s how you and your date normally communicate.