First Date Tips: How to Impress and Score a Second Date
April 10, 2019
So, you have a first date coming up and you’re not sure if the tingling you feel is excitement or the first sign of a panic attack. Fear not: Our first date tips will help you navigate the weird and wonderful world of this intimate engagement with a stranger who may or may not become your spouse or life partner (no pressure).
Find out everything you need to know to prepare for your date and make a great impression, including what to wear, what to do, and which conversation topics will have them wishing they swiped left.
Everybody loves to throw around “dress to impress” as a first date rule, but that doesn’t necessarily mean six-inch heels or a tuxedo. While you may dress differently for a picnic date than you would for a Zagat-rated restaurant, you do want to make sure your outfit is comfortable. As celebrity style expert Bobbie Thomas told Marlo Thomas at HuffPost, “Avoid constrictive, ‘high-maintenance’-looking clothing. Sometimes a fun scarf or jeans are good choices because they give the impression that you're not trying to impress someone; you're trying to be yourself.”
Plan an Activity
People have been going for “dinner and a movie” since the beginning of time. OK, maybe not that long. But while this date itinerary is a common one, it can also be an uncomfortable way to divvy up the time: one half trying to talk with food in your mouth and the other half sitting in silence together in the dark. Maybe it’s time we retire this plan? An alternative possibility for a first date is sharing an activity together like visiting an escape room, going for a hike, or ice-skating. Sharing an activity allows you to slide in and out of typical first date banter and have fun together at the same time. This is especially helpful if you find out you have nothing to talk about—because at least you’re still doing something fun.
It’s great if you want to prove to your date how smart and witty and eloquent you are, but if you tend to have a sore throat after every first date, you’re probably talking too much. The last thing you want is for your date to tell all their friends later that all they did was listen to you blab about yourself. Find out who your date is and what they care about to show you care more about them than how much of your life history you can relay in an evening. If you’re the type of person who likes to feel prepared, check out these 75 creative first date questions from Zoosk.
Big Talk Beats Small Talk
Politics and religion may not be welcome topics at Thanksgiving, but they’re fair game for first dates. After all, you don’t get to choose your family members, but you do get to choose whether or not you’ll end up arguing with your partner about issues you care about for the rest of your lives. While talking about controversial topics could split you up before you even begin, wouldn’t you rather save yourself the time? Even talking about exes can be enlightening on a first date, says dating psychologist Madeleine Mason. However, if your date talks obsessively about someone they’ve broken up with, it can signify they aren’t over the relationship and probably not yet emotionally available. Badmouthing the ex can also suggest they’re not over it.
Resist Drinking Too Much
Sure, a drink or two can make you feel relaxed, but try not to overdo it. There comes a point when being tipsy veers into being sloppy, and you can’t be sure you made a good impression if everything looks fuzzy the next day. Know your limits and make sure you’re staying hydrated throughout the date, so you can be your best self and walk in a straight line.
Talk About the Future
While letting your date know you envision a beach wedding and 2.5 kids in your future isn’t the worst thing to talk about on a first date, you might want to bring up the more immediate future. If you’re having a good time, make references to a second date or some special place you can’t wait to take them soon to show them that you’re interested. It’s also a good way to gauge how they’re feeling. If they change the subject quickly or tell you their weekends are booked for the next three months, you can save those plans for someone else.
Extend the Date
Turn a first date into an epic date by extending it. If you only planned to get together for a drink but you’re not ready to say goodbye once you’ve paid the bill, keep going. Follow your drink date with that hip, new dessert bar or watch the sunset together from some scenic vantage point. Do something unexpected and you may even watch the sun come up together.
Pay Attention to Body Language
About 80 to 90 percent of our communication is nonverbal. First dates have the potential to make us feel nervous, and when we’re nervous we run the risk of speaking too fast, crossing our arms, and avoiding eye contact. These are gestures we should avoid if we want to show our interest in the person we’re with. Try to focus on your body language on a first date: lean in when you speak, make eye contact, and resist fidgeting to express interest. Of course, if you’re not interested…
Don’t Force It
No need to prolong the misery or try to prove yourself worthy of a second date if the two of you shared more awkward silences than magical eye contact. Your date will appreciate your honesty (and will probably be relieved), should you decide to part ways sooner than you'd planned. Who knows? You might meet “the one” on the way home.
Written by Erica Garza for Knockaround.