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By Holly Priestley
First dates can be exciting, thrilling and, unfortunately, a bit predictable. How are you ever going to get to that second date if you don’t make a great first impression?
The best first dates are thoughtful and unique and allow the two of you to really get to know each other better. Use what you know to your advantage — you’ve talked online, you’ve got his or her profile in front of you and you’re a smart cookie. Tailor your dates the way a tailor fits a suit, distinctly catered to the person you’re with. You want him to be excited about the potential of a future relationship! You want her to want to tell her friends about it later, for all the right reasons.
Set the Stage
Okay, you’ve gotten the a-ok and decided on a date and time, is that it? Well, no. There are a few things you should do before you meet up with your date to ensure the highest levels of success.
Plan ahead: These should be casual events, but not so casual that they seem haphazard and thrown together by the seat of your pants. Plan something fun and unique that includes enough time to chat and get to know each other, but try not to put too much pressure on the conversation. Activities that keep you moving and give an easier out if the date isn’t going well are generally better than putting all the pressure on a sit-down dinner and a chat-less movie.
Dress to impress: Dress appropriately for the shindig you’ve planned, but be sure that your clothes are clean and it looks like you put effort forth in looking your best. This also includes prepping your car. Give it a quick vacuum and wipe down the dash, drive it through the wash on the way and make sure it smells fresh before you pick her up.
Be on time: This should go without saying, but you really need to be on time for your date. It’s disrespectful otherwise and will give your date the wrong impression. If you are running late for any reason, be sure to call and let your date know in advance to reduce any unnecessary anxiety.
The Plot Thickens
Little things make a big difference: Opening the car door, pulling out her chair, complimenting her personality and the way she looks—all small things that give you huge points on a first date.
What to do: This is where all that pre-planning comes in. You want your version of a first date to be different than all the other first dates he’s been on. Base your plans on similar interests. Don’t overspend, you don’t want her to think you’re trying to buy her love.
Kiss, and no, this does not mean you need to plant a big ol’ smooch on her face when you pick her up; this is the old adage, “Keep It Simple Stupid.” You don’t want to over-plan, that puts stress on you and your date will surely be able to pick up on that tension.
Who pays: In general, my rule of thumb is whoever did the asking does the paying.
Put a cap on it: The best first dates seem to be the ones that have a finite amount of time you can spend together. This ensures that you’ll leave him wanting more, and what’s better than being excited to see each other again? This nearly guarantees that there will be a second date! Choosing exactly how much time you want to spend together for a first date can be tricky. Depending on whether you’ve met up for an afternoon hike or drinks in the evening, keeping your date to a few hours max should be ample time.
Follow Up: Forget those rules about waiting two days to call back. Check in the next day and instead of planning Date Two right away, tell her thanks for spending time with you the day before. Let her know you’ll be in touch soon about more plans. This will let her get excited, anticipating what fun will come next.
Above all, be willing to be spontaneous. Throw the rule book, and whatever plans you’ve already made, out the window and just roll with it. Nothing is more fun and more beautiful than organic love. If your plans aren’t working, or new more enjoyable things come to mind as you spend time together—go for it!
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