Everyone is struggling to create the ideal first date. In stepping back into the world of dating, you’ll experience so many emotions. For one, you’ll be excited to meet new people and experience different personalities but you’ll also be nervous for those exact same reasons.
You’ll have so many questions and thoughts running through your head like, “what will I wear?” or “what should I talk about?” Just the thought of having to start over in getting to know someone and putting your best foot forward all over again can make anyone anxious about dealing with it.
That said, we think a first date is a great opportunity to put yourself out there and meet someone new – whether that be a friend or something more. There’s no harm in doing a little preparation, in fact, that’s good practice!
Here’s a simple checklist and some tips to look through that will help you feel cool and collected during your romantic stay together.
How To Get Ready For A Date
1. Check your partner’s food preferences
If you’re getting dinner and you’re the one picking the restaurant, make sure to be considerate of your date’s food preferences. Be sure to ask your date if there are any foods they won’t eat, whether due to medical issues, religious beliefs, or personal tastes. For example, if your date is vegetarian, don’t take him or her to a steakhouse. Likewise, if your date has a gluten sensitivity, check the menu for wheat-free options before hitting up a pizza place.
2. Choose the appropriate location
The location you choose sets the tone for your date. Unless you already know what types of activities your date likes, it’s best to pick a neutral, low-pressure place where you can focus on getting to know each other and figuring out how well you connect.
Instead of dinner and a movie, suggest trying a local bar or a hip new coffee shop instead. The casual environment serves as a convenient space to have an engaging conversation, without the pressure of dressing fancy or buying an expensive meal.
3. Check in with your date
Give your date a call or text him or her to confirm everything the day of. You want to make sure that you’re both on the same page about details like time and place you’re meeting.
4. Cleanliness is first priority
The reality of dating is that you’re selling yourself; If you want to grab the attention of someone, you have to look good, and that’s the honest truth.
You should always take a bath before going on a date, especially if you’re not in the habit of bathing daily. You want to be nice and clean to impress your date. Be sure to wash your face thoroughly without irritating the skin. You also should remember to brush your teeth, clip and clean your nails.
If you’ll be going on the date after work, plan to meet later so you’ll have time to go home, shower, and get ready. First impressions are really important, and that will give you time to think about how you want to present yourself.
5. Clean your apartment
Not many people will tell you about this aspect of how to prepare for a date,which makes it all the more important!
You never know how your date may go, and the two of you may end up back at your place. You don’t want your date to think you’re a slob, so really take some time to clean if your place is a mess. Pay special attention to your living room, bedroom, and bathroom.
6. Charge your phone and keep it with you
While you shouldn’t be fiddling with it during dinner, your phone is important to have ready just in case.
- If you get lost on the way there or while heading back home, you can use your phone’s GPS for help.
- You may need your phone for communication if either you or your date is running late or has to cancel because of a last-minute emergency.
- If you want to keep the night going and head to a cafe or bar after your planned destination, you can use your phone to help find the best place nearby.
7. Keep your phone on silent mode
It’s extremely rude if your phone constantly buzzes with stupid WhatsApp messages or Facebook notifications when you are having a date. Just put it on silent mode or airplane mode if you can and enjoy your date. This is especially so if the two of you are watching a movie together. Give your date your full attention – being distracted by your phone is just rude.
Don’t pick up your phone unless you know it may be urgent (for example, someone close to you is in hospital, or someone is calling who wouldn’t call unless it was urgent). Even then, it is good manners to explain that to your date – you’re not pausing to chitchat, you’re dealing with something important.
8. Make sure you have enough money
Even if your date ends up treating you, make sure you have the ability to at least offer to pay. Double-check that your preferred credit card is in your wallet and that your wallet is in your purse or jacket pocket. It’s also a good idea to have cash to make splitting the bill easier or just in case the place you’re going doesn’t take credit cards.
9. Check everything you may need in your bag/pockets
In addition to money, pack gum, breath mints, tampons, pads, condoms, a phone charger if needed, perfumes, cosmetics, keys… whatever you may need with you.
10. Think how to get to a venue
Look up directions at least a few hours ahead of time. You can always us a GPS app on your phone, but you should definitely figure out how long it’ll take and what transportation to use in advance. If you’re driving during rush hour or using public transportation, make sure to give yourself extra time and leave early.
In addition to directions, make sure you have the right transportation to get you to your date on time. Unless your date is with a longtime significant other, don’t depend on the other person for transportation.
11. Check out your outfit beforehand
If you really want to be proactive, figure out what you’ll wear a few days before your date. It’s best to do this sooner rather than later to keep from rushing around at the last minute to find the perfect shirt.
12. Dress to impress
What you’ll wear will come down to your personal tastes of course. But before picking an outfit, you need to bear in mind what kind of date you’re going on, as well as external factors such as the weather, location and time of day.
While it’s essential to look the part, it’s equally as important to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing. The trick is to get the balance right. Choose an outfit that both looks and feels great and you’ll exude confidence throughout your date.
If you’re not sure if it’s a look that works for you then ditch it and save it for another night when you can get an honest opinion from your friends. Trialling a new trend on a date could mean you spend half the night checking yourself out, trying to see if you look good, which isn’t the best signal to be sending out.
13. Shave or trim if necessary
After you’ve gotten yourself nice and squeaky clean, take some time to manage your facial and body hair before your date.
- If you have a beard, make sure it’s trimmed to perfection.
- You might want to groom your pubic area if your date may get intimate.
- If you take pride in your perfectly-shaped eyebrows, give them a quick check and pluck out any stray hairs you may find.
- If you have nose and/or ear hair, be sure to pluck or trim those, too.
14. Do your makeup if you want
Many people, especially girls, wear makeup when going out. Just like your outfit, what makeup you put on will depend on the type of date and the look you’re going for.
Don’t forget that guys can wear makeup, too. Most men who wear makeup stick to the natural “no makeup” look.
15. Smell good
The sense of smell is one of the most important and yet one of our most underrated senses. The way you smell subconsciously tells your date a lot about you.
Wear minimal fragrance. You need to walk a fine line between smelling nice and noxious. Don’t bathe yourself in perfume, cologne, or body spray. Even a mild fragrance can be overpowering when used in large amounts.
Don’t forget to wear deodorant. Even if you’re not a fan of fragrances, deodorant is a must. You may be nervous and sweat more than usual on a date, so be sure to apply some right before you go out.
16. Practice smiling in front of the mirror
This is more important if you’re the type of a person whose smiles come off more as the Joker’s smile. Practice makes perfect, so stand in front of a mirror and practice all the different smiles that you use. When you find one that you like, stick to it and flash it in front of your date!
17. Clean your car
Especially if you plan on picking or dropping your date off. Because which girl would ever want to go out on a second date with a guy who is unable to clean his car for at least special occasions? It’s a major turn off.
18. Prepare for an engaging conversation
On your first date you are trying to find out about the other person and generally get to know them. This means asking questions which will make your date feel good and not awkward. If you know they play a sport or music, for example, ask about these things.
Remember that questioning is not interrogation. Ask open questions to give the other person a chance to expand on their answers: ‘Why do you like…’ rather than, ‘Do you like…?’
The first date is all about enjoying the company of someone new and intriguing, so aim to avoid provoking political debates and stories about past relationships.
One of the things many people get anxious about is that the conversation will dry up and that there might be periods of uncomfortable silence. One solution to this is to think of the things you will ask or talk about in advance. In other words, take some conversation with you to your date.
19. Be a good listener
Practice being a good listener! A common mistake that some people make is to be so busy trying to impress their date with their knowledge/wit/prowess/importance that they don’t really listen. This means letting your date finish before chiming in and making sure you really understood. For example, you might paraphrase what they just said or ask clarifying questions.
20. Enjoy the date
The ultimate in first date tips – try to have fun. If the food is diabolical or the pub is awful, don’t complain. Don’t lie and say you love it either – remain neutral and polite. If you date has taken time to choose the venue, compliment something about it such as the convenient location.
Other Dating Tips To Help You
- Eat small snacks beforehand, nobody is at their best on an empty stomach. So munch on something light before heading out.
- Stay calm and act naturally when dating because nervousness will only make things worse like saying or doing wrong things.
- Arrive on time. One way to reduce the chance of a good date is to turn up flustered, grouchy and wracked with guilt.
- Be authentic! There’s no sense in pretending to be someone you’re not in an effort to impress someone. Represent yourself honestly for the chance of building a genuine connection with someone.
- Be courteous. Manners never go out of style!
Complete your successful first date with the right follow-up
So you felt a connection, the conversation flowed and you had lots of things in common. Terrific. Now what? A successful first date is only as good as the follow-up, and this means arranging another meeting. You could do this right away, but it’s probably better not to put someone on the spot.
Instead, why not send a message soon after just to say what a great time you had, and suggest a time and place to meet again. Don’t expect an immediate response, and don’t be impatient or else you’ll seem desperate. Remember, if you went into your first date with a smile, a bit of confidence, and a willingness to listen, then you’ve probably already set yourself apart from the competition.
Perhaps the most important thing, though, is to remember that success in dating, as in life, doesn’t come handed to you on a plate. If your first date didn’t work out, don’t let it get you down, but learn from the experience, get creative, and draw up a new strategy. Remember, there’s plenty more fish in the sea. In fact, there’s a whole blue ocean out there.