3 Step Guide for the First Date
There are very few things in the world more nerve-racking than a first date. With your mind in a whirlwind about what to wear, what to talk about, where to go, how you might come across, what might you have in common, and any number of other mile-a-minute thoughts—making your first romantic impression with a person isn’t easy.
But whether it’s your first time getting back out there in a while, or you’ve been testing the waters for some time, we want to offer some help to make your first date exactly what it should be: an exciting fresh start with someone new.
In order to do just that, here is our simple 3 Step Guide for the First Date:
1. Make a Plan
No matter how your first date came to be, whether from a chance encounter at the local coffee shop, meeting online, or a connection through a friend—the most important thing is to treat it as the wonderful opportunity that it is. A first date is chance to meet someone new, to see if some sparks fly, and if it could be the start of something wonderful.
That being said, to make sure the first date goes well, it might take a little more than winging it. Though spontaneity is something that might make the actual date flourish, the time before takes some effort.
What to Do on a First Date
Deciding on what to do for a first date is actually one of the best ways to express, somewhat subtly mind you, your own interests. A great place for a first date is a place where you can communicate, where you can get to know the person. With that in mind, a first date should almost never be a movie. Even if you love movies, they’re not a great place to talk to someone. Though it could be an added bonus stop to a first date, it’s probably not the best idea for a focal point.
However, that doesn’t mean that the only other option for a first date is a fancy dinner.
While a dinner date can be wonderful for some, it isn’t the right choice for everyone. If it’s not for you, don’t feel trapped in that cycle. Be open about a unique, interesting idea that you have. First dates should be flexible—they should expand to encompass your interests, or your prospective partner’s interests.
You could invite them to a more casual coffee date, or go mini-golfing or bowling. Maybe even a seasonal activity like ice skating or visiting a pumpkin patch. Whatever you do, just make sure communication comes before anything else.
It’s all about getting to know each other—so how do you get to know someone best?
What to Wear on a First Date
Whether you’re the one deciding where to go, or you’ve been invited somewhere—the most important thing to remember is to prepare. But when we say prepare, it doesn’t necessarily mean look your best to try to impress the other person—it means express yourself how you’re most comfortable.
Mentally, and aesthetically—get ready for your date.
When deciding on what to wear for a first date, it should always be what you feel most confident in. As the old saying goes, ‘when you look good, you feel good.’
Nobody but you can determine what looks good on you, and the most beautiful thing someone can wear is confidence. That means, beyond hard-and-fast rules for a specific dress or nice shirt—wear the clothes that make you feel the most comfortable and the most confident.
2. Make an Impression
While it isn’t the only thing that matters, your first impression on a date is going to make a difference. A first impression is going to be the jumping-off point for how the rest of the date will go. That being said, a first impression isn’t the be all, end all. But, like any other encounter, it still starts with the greeting.
How to Greet a First Date
A first date is often a nervous situation for both parties, but a good way to think about it is like a book. The greeting is the cover, but the whole date is the book (and the first impression). Before the end of the night, you’ll each read each other’s book, not just the cover. (hopefully the first of a series!) That being said, even if it’s outside of your comfort zone, try to be as approachable and open as you can with the greeting—and remember, comfort is built quickest with a friendly smile!
How to Act on a First Date
Just like the greeting, the best way to act on the first date is friendly. Polite. Welcoming. Mind your manners, be open to listening and learning about this person, but also remember that they’re there to learn about you too. However, above all else, be yourself.
Maybe don’t dump all of your past on them all at once, and definitely don’t put your own past baggage on their shoulders—but be comfortable expressing who you are, as long as you do so in a kind manner.
What to Talk About on a First Date
While this could be thought about in the planning stage, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. You can list your interests out and plan talking points, but good conversations work best naturally.
They dip and rise and often flow with shared interests.
With that in mind, you can’t necessarily be sure of someone’s interests ahead of time—you have to feel it out. But when it comes to conversations on the first date, a good rule of thumb is to keep it relatively light. Try to find shared interests before you pour everything else out.
But if pouring everything out is a part of you, as someone who wears their heart on their sleeve, don’t be afraid to show that. People can surprise you—be open to letting them surprise you.
Remember, this is a fresh start!
3. See if There’s a Connection
Not every first date is going to make sparks fly. Sometimes you feel something natural and good, and sometimes you don’t. You can’t really plan for how you’ll feel during a first date, but you should try to be aware of it. That being said, a good sign that a first date is going well is that the whirlwind in your mind settles down a little bit. It quiets suddenly and you find yourself simply interested and living and laughing in the present moment—because suddenly, there isn’t anywhere else you’d rather be.
Make the Moments Last
To expand on living in those moments, if you feel a connection to someone—don’t be afraid to extend the first date. Maybe it’s been going really well, but maybe it’s about to come to an end. If you feel something happening on a first date that’s good, maybe think of something else to do.
Now is the time to be spontaneous!
Say you went to dinner, why not invite them to coffee, or a dessert? Say it’s a nice night, maybe you want to stroll around for a bit before the night comes to an end?
Be Honest with Yourself
Whether this happens towards the end of the date, or it happens after the date has already come to an end—eventually, you will have to ask yourself the question of whether or not you’d like to see this person again. Do you want to get to know them more? Was there something that connected you? Did you laugh? Did you have fun? Did they make you happy to be around? Did they let you, for a moment, forget some of the harder things in life or make those things, for a moment, easier?
Whatever questions you have to ask, be honest in asking them. While not every first date is going to be that wonderful connection, don’t self-sabotage the ones that might be!
Follow Up on a First Date
After you’ve asked yourself all the questions you needed to, how do you follow up on the first date? Maybe it’s right at the end of the date that you express that you’d be interested in another, or maybe it’s a call the next day.
There aren’t any hard-and-fast rules on the follow up either. The ‘3-day rule’ before you call doesn’t have to exist—all that does, is honesty. If you honestly want to see the person again, and they do too—do whatever you can to make it happen. Call them, be open, and be excited about the connection you’ve made. It could be the start of something wonderful!
It’s understandable that first dates can be nerve-racking. Meeting someone new always is, and meeting someone you hope to connect with on a romantic level—even more so. But there are no step-by-step instructions to a first date—there’s just a few things to keep in mind.
The most important among them is to be yourself.
If the date goes well because you pretended the whole time to be someone you’re not, then you didn’t make an honest connection. And an honest connection is the foundation for where the relationship might build from. Regardless of what you wear, or what you do on a first date, just remember to be kind, and be yourself. If it doesn’t work out with that other person, if it doesn’t feel like there’s a connection—that’s okay!
On some first dates sparks will fly, but not every date has that magic. The important thing to remember is if the spark is there, even the smallest one, be open to letting it grow.