I wouldn’t consider myself a dating expert; I’m a serial monogamist by nature. However, I’ve been on enough bad first dates to realize what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. If you’re a novice when it comes to dating, this guide might help you feel a little less nervous.
Meet on Neutral Ground
I would strongly advise against meeting your date at his or her apartment, especially if they live alone or in a bad part of town. This is just common sense, but if you’re nervous and anxious, sometimes you’re not thinking too clearly. I would arrange to meet somewhere neutral, like a (nicer) bar, restaurant, or even a coffee shop. No one says you have to do the standard “dinner and a movie”. Take your own car and avoid being picked up. If the date goes badly right away, you want to avoid any kind of awkwardness; if you’re stuck getting a ride home from this person, you have to wait until the horrible date is over. Not to mention, this person could very well take you anywhere they feel like. Be careful, be smart, and be safe.
Pick a Few Hot Topics
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to discussion, try to pick a few hot topics. Avoid politics or religion if at all possible; these two topics are almost always going to lead to a heated debate, especially if opinions differ. If you know some things about your date (such as whether they have a pet, their favorite movie, book, or band, any place they have traveled, etc), these are great things to discuss. Keep it light and friendly.
Ask Them Questions
Almost everyone I know loves to talk about themselves. Like I mentioned before, it helps to know a little about your date before you meet them. Ask them about places they’ve been to, what their goals are in life, or any funny stories they have. Interject your thoughts about whatever topic you’re discussing but don’t dominate the conversation. Offer tidbits about yourself every so often so they don’t think they’re getting the third degree.
Don’t Get Drunk
You can have one or two drinks to loosen up, but avoid getting drunk at all costs. You lose your inhibitions and could end up doing something you’ll regret. Ever hear of the “Walk of Shame”? If you haven’t, you don’t want to. Keep an eye on your drink and make sure that no one else has any of it. If you happen to go to the bathroom and your drink is still somewhat full, order a fresh drink. I’m not saying that you have to be paranoid about it, but be smart.
Don’t Constantly Check Your Phone
Your best friend might be texting you every five minutes to see how the date is going, but be a champ and don’t check your phone until your date gets up to go to the bathroom. It’s rude and totally uncouth if you’re not paying attention to anything your date is saying. Likewise, if your date won’t stop playing with their phone, maybe it’s time to call it a night.
Give a Goodnight Kiss (or Don’t)
It’s up to you whether you want to give a goodnight kiss or not. No one says you have to. You can go as far as you want to on a first date. My dates almost always got a hug and a kiss on the cheek. If you had a bad time, you can just shake their hand or run away in the opposite direction.
Give Them a Call
If you had a great time, don’t wait for them to call you. You can always text or email them (after a few days though, this is an unwritten rule that everyone should follow) and ask them if they had a good time and if they’d like to meet up again. If you don’t hear from them, then move on. There are plenty of fish in the sea.
Dating isn’t always that easy. Sometimes you know right away if there’s an attraction or not. If you’re simply not feeling it, even after giving it a chance, then maybe you should search for someone else. Don’t waste your time on someone that just doesn’t do it for you. You deserve to be happy; test the waters, sample the wares, and have fun! But above all, be safe and respect yourself.