How to have a great first date
I remember the day I went on my first date in fifteen years. Could this thing called internet dating possibly hold any potential for me when it came to meeting someone special to share my life with? I now know the answer was Yes. This date was the first of quite a few before I met my husband, and along the way I picked up some ideas for handling them so they felt natural, not an ordeal. This definitely helped when I met the man I married so here are tips for before, during, and after meeting someone new, so you can have a great first date.
Before the date
1. Don’t think of it as a date
I’m serious. Don’t pressure yourself to have a great first date – or even a date. Just think of it as a pleasant opportunity you’ve been given to chat to someone new. No one is asking you to be perfect at this stuff.
All you are asked to do is turn up on time, suitably attired, and once there, be your polite, warm, friendly self. That way you avoid obsessing about it beforehand and building it up into some massive once-in-a-lifetime event with all the needless wear and tear on your nerves that that entails.
2. The right environment
When deciding where to meet consider whether a venue has enough atmosphere to be fun but is quiet enough to be able to talk.
Is it somewhere you’re both happy to travel to rather than placing all the effort on one side? If it’s a venue you’re unfamiliar with check online reviews and images and pay a quick visit beforehand if that’s doable. Do you get the feeling it’s somewhere you can relax and be yourself?
Come to the date prepared with a few topics of conversation because sometimes relying on pure spontaneous brilliance can make your mind go blank. (Read Creative first date questions and conversation starters for some easy to follow ideas)
Refresh your memory of their bio and the online conversations you’ve already had so they are reassured you have been paying attention to them as an individual.
Have a prep-talk to God. I found it helpful to pray that He’d help me be true to myself and keep me open-minded about the other person, not judgemental.
During the date
1. Are appearances superficial?
Nobody needs to be drop-dead gorgeous in order to be attractive. Just remember to make an effort. Not to do so risks giving the impression that you can’t be bothered.
I still remember the man in the completely un-ironed shirt I once met for a first date, but not for the right reasons.
2. Gift of the gab?
When it comes to dialogue at a first meeting it’s worth envisaging conversation as a stream rather than the floodgates opening at Niagara. While I know some couples do report talking for hours on their first date, there’s a risk of putting the other person off with too much too soon.
Be happy to chat but give each other breathing space and don’t feel you have to fill every quiet moment. Enjoy pauses in which you can look round, sip your drink, and take in your surroundings together.
It’s healthier at this stage to leave each other wanting more rather than feeling talked-out.
3. Personal boundaries
It’s fine to keep a first date ‘sweetness and light’ rather than going too deep, because you’re effectively still strangers. “Could we talk about that another time?” said with a smile is a courteous way of dealing with any personal stuff that comes up and which you’d rather leave till you know someone much better.
After the date
There are three possible personal outcomes for you.
Back home after the date you find yourself playing your loudest feel-good music and dancing round the room because you feel you’ve just met someone terrific and definitely want to see them again.
2. Polite but definite no
Sometimes there is an unmistakable feeling of “No”. Don’t let yourself feel disappointed, because this is actually time to congratulate yourself.
You’re learning how to meet, relate, and be at ease with a future partner, even if this isn’t the one. You’re progressing in your relationship journey. Take a breather if you like, but then open yourself up again to new connections.
3. Not sure
Sometimes you feel ambivalent. They seem nice, but there are no sudden fireworks. Is it worth seeing each other again? I’d say if this is the case suspend judgement for a bit and give each other at least three dates.
Chemistry is a mysterious quality which very often builds gradually. I remember feeling uncertain after the first date with my husband, thinking, “Does he ever say a serious word?!?”
It took me a little longer to realise this was an attractive man of deep integrity who could also make me laugh. So glad our first date wasn’t our last.