Make your first date count
The countdown for your first date is approaching, and understandably you are feeling nervous. If you have had a few first dates and these haven’t resulted in a second, then perhaps you need to look at what is happening during these dates.
Likewise, if you haven’t been on many first dates, then each date can appear daunting, as you struggle to get every aspect perfect.
There are ways to ensure you have a fun and exciting first date, after all, that’s what dating should be about. Dating should be an enjoyable activity, where you get to meet new people, in the hopes of finding that special person.
However, as with most things in life, if you want something badly enough, you should prepare for it. The chances are that if you go into any situation without proper preparation, you will feel overwhelmed and anxious.
By doing your homework in advance, your thoughts can run freely, giving you the opportunity to really connect with your date. By doing your homework you can be present, fully relax and concentrate on the evening.
So, let’s assume you have booked an intimate restaurant where you can hear yourselves talk.
Here are our tips on a successful first date:
Make your first impression count
Experts say we have just seven seconds to make our first impression, and we rarely get a second chance. So the things you do in that first seven seconds are crucial.
When you first meet your date:
Smile. Your facial expression will say more about you before words ever could. Make sure your smile is genuine, warm and friendly.
Speak. Introduce yourself in a clear and in an appropriate pitch, not too loud or too high.
Maintain eye contact. People that do not maintain eye contact can be perceived as untrustworthy, but do shift your gaze occasionally or constant staring will appear creepy.
Body contact. The handshake is the accepted way of greeting someone, however, a first date is a little more intimate. Be prepared for a kiss on the cheek.
Dress in a smart fashion. Make sure you have dressed appropriately, and always err on smart if the dress code is smart casual.
Actions speak louder than words
We now know that we communicate up to 60 per cent through body language, and yet we dismiss the importance of our actions when it comes to first dates. So be mindful of what you are communicating through your actions.
Remember, we should be performing at our very best on a first date. Sure we are allowed to slip a little once we are in an established relationship, but our first dates should be the pinnacle from which we then slide a little.
Here are some first date no-no’s:
Turning up late to a first date
What does this action say to a prospective date? You may have a good excuse, the taxi/bus/train might have been late. However, what this says is that you will tend be late in the future, no matter what the occasion.
Turning up for a first date straight from work
This says to a prospective date that no matter how important the event, work will always come first. If you cannot arrange an early afternoon off to get ready for one date, then this is likely going to be a running theme throughout the rest of the relationship.
Turning up with baby sick on your shoulder shows you are possibly struggling to organise reliable child care and that it might not be a good time for you to date.
How to make your first date count
Prepare a few questions
As we said earlier, preparation is the key, so find out a little about your prospective date and prepare around 3-5 questions. These can then serve as ice breakers.
Use the answers to the questions to carry the conversation on, and only resort back to the prepared questions if there is an awkward silence.
Taking the conversation further
There is research to suggest that by prompting certain happy memories, your date is more likely to remember you in a good way.
Asking your date to recall a particularly happy memory releases endorphins (happy hormones). Once they have recalled this happy memory, they will then subconsciously relate these endorphins to you.
This is the same if you ask about a thrilling or exciting memory. Those feelings of excitement and spontaneity will be a reminder of you.
Be your own best friend
We’ve all heard the saying that you have to love yourself before anyone else can, but this can be hard for some people.
If you have problems seeing your achievements and are your own worst enemy, try thinking what your friends would say if asked to list your good points.
If you find you are constantly thinking about everything that could go wrong, instead focus on how a successful date might feel. Imagining the date as a success from start to finish is more likely to make it happen.
Final advice on first dates
A final piece of advice comes; when embarking on a first date, try imagining it as if you are meeting an old friend you haven’t seen for a while.
You will be naturally excited to see them, feel confident in yourself, and want to find out what the friend has been up to.