All first dates have one thing in common. They are the first. Obvious, sure, but it is that fact of being first that will inform and guide you through it. It’s a first impression and a first step. A first foray into what might turn into something wonderful. So let’s go through some basics to help your date be the first of many!
We’ll start with your outside game. Give yourself any edge available by avoiding some DON’Ts.
⊕ Don’t show up late. Do show respect for your date by being on time. With the understanding that things happen. So if you get a flat tire… call.
⊕ Don’t wear your schlubby clothes, work-out clothes, or work-day clothes (unless you are meeting after a day on the job). Do give thought to your appearance. Casual does not mean frayed jeans and a hoodie or sweaty post-yoga garb. It’s time to up your game and show the best version of yourself (inside and out). If you have a color that brings out your eyes—wear it. If you have a flattering dress or sweater—go for it.
⊕ Don’t fool with your phone the whole time. Do put it on “do not disturb” and, if you must, check it for important messages when you go to the rest room. Certainly avoid social media and texting…. The message you want to convey is that you are here with one person, and everyone else can wait.
⊕ Don’t be cheap. This means: don’t complain about menu prices, talk about your budget for the evening, talk about who is going to pay, or have a credit card that is going to be declined! Do relax about the cash flow. Even if you are a frugal person, this is not the time to create stress around money. Presumably you selected an activity and destination for your date that you can afford. Relax!
**Side bar: Check out my blog about who picks up the tab. Short version as follows: women and men both can earn and spend money, but on a man-woman date, especially if the man initiated it, he pays. On a single-sex date the rule of thumb is, asker invites askee.
⊕ Don’t forget good manners. Do remember that common courtesy makes a huge statement. For example: avoid talking over the other person, listen and respond respectfully, model good table manners, and men—you can open doors, and hold seats and coats—this is not sexist, but it is sexy.
Now for a category I like to call… your inside game. This is about how you show up—what is going on in your head/heart/attitude that plays out directly in your behaviors.
→ Confidence. This means DO be a confident, self-assured person, but DON’T brag about yourself, bluster, hold court, monopolize the date with the “It’s All about Me” one-person show. A confident person is as interested in others—if not more so—than in her/himself. A confident person is humble, gracious, curious. Confidence is sexy. My blog about how to boost your self-confidence may be helpful.
→ Energy. I’m not talking about being peppy or full of vim and vigor (though that can be nice). I’m talking about the kind of energy you bring to your date. DO bring a positive, affirming energy that will create a tone for the date, and affect the other person in a lovely way. You had a bad day at work? The guy in front cut you off at your exit? You lost your credit card in the ATM machine? DON’T complain about all the horrid stuff. Don’t bring up your ex. Don’t bemoan all the awful dates you’ve been on. In fact, complaining is bad for us anyway, so use this first date as a chance to turn the tables on the unpleasantness that may have taken place that day, week, month, or year. Dismiss it and, instead, bring along your positive energy.
→ Authenticity. DO be yourself. If date #2 is going to happen, it is better if it is with you than some artificial version of you that you invented to make a good impression. That’s not going to work for very long, is it? You are wonderful and you are loveable. DON’T pretend to be someone else.
→ Connection. This one’s simple. DO focus on the connection between you and your date. DON’T focus on the outcome. If you invest too heavily in the outcome, you’ll miss the good stuff.
→ Manifestation. Wherever your head is—that’s where your life will go. To say that another way: your thoughts create your emotions which guide your actions. Your actions bring about your everyday reality. Even if you’ve had bad luck in your love life, even if you feel uncertain, even if you are not used to dating: tell yourself: “I can do this.” Tell yourself: “This is going to be great.” DO affirm what you want to believe and you will believe it. DO believe what you want to be true, and it will be true. DON’T sabotage yourself with negative self-talk.
Final words of advice: DON’T WORRY. It’s going to be GREAT!