Ten (plus one) ways to make a great impression on a first date and hopefully score a second date!
Updated: May 29
Let’s get real, first dates can be daunting, even for the most self-assured and experienced daters. Your friends and family will tell you it is as easy as just being yourself! Of course, that is a great place to start, but there are some tips and tricks that can make your fabulous personality just that much more dynamic and improve your chances of getting a second date!
1. LISTEN AND LEARN
Bottom line, people like to talk about themselves...a lot. Giving your date the opportunity to share with you what makes them tick will go far in building rapport. You can show your date that you are curious and eager to learn about them by asking open ended questions, reflecting back key points of what they said and displaying body language that shows enthusiasm.
2. SELL YOURSELF
Of course, the date is not only about them, it is also about you. Be sure to answer questions sincerely and offer
information about yourself that showcases your unique spirit. I hear over and over from clients that they are not necessarily looking for a partner who shares their same passions, but rather someone who has their own unique interests and goals.
3. TIMING IS EVERYTHING
I cannot stress this enough..please be on time for your date! If you are scheduled to meet for coffee at 3pm, plan to arrive a little early so you may account for any delays due to traffic or weather. Being prompt shows that you are courteous and respectful. You will also be more relaxed if you’re not rushing to beat the clock.
4. DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY
This first interaction is so important and creates a baseline judgement of your personality, so as best as you can, try to be positive and optimistic. Even if you had a rough day at the office, remember that this is supposed to be a fun lighthearted first date, not a therapy session. Keep the conversation flowing around interesting, but safe topics, such as travel, pets and hometowns. For a first date, it is wise to stay away from heavy topics like religion, politics or past relationships. Those are great topics to explore...eventually!
5. DON’T FORGET THE NON-VERBALS
Body language and eye contact are important tools on a first date, especially if the conversation hits a wall. Retain your connection and show your date you are interested with a light physical touch on their arm or hand, angling your feet and knees their direction and engaging in appropriate eye contact. Holding a steady gaze for four seconds is enough to let someone know you are enjoying their company without coming across creepy.
6. REMEMBER YOUR MANNERS
I know, seems like common sense, but it needs to be mentioned that you MUST be polite and courteous, not only to your date, but to those around you. Nothing is a bigger turnoff than someone who is rude and condescending to wait staff! Good manners can go a long way!
7. PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY
Just say no to texting and social media while on a date! Do not scroll, post or comment while in the company of your date. Updating your status on a date gives the impression that you are not fully engaged. I promise that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will still be there when your date ends. If you simply must read and respond to a text, be polite and excuse yourself for a moment to do so.
8. MAKE YOUR DATE INTERESTING
Schedule an activity that gives you something to talk about and allows for conversation. Museums, festivals and outdoor activities are great options. Save the movie and live theater dates for later in the relationship. You want the conversation to flow...without getting sushed!
9. TAKE IT SLOW
Resist the urge to have a marathon date. It is fun to be spontaneous and there is nothing wrong with staying a bit longer to linger over dessert and great conversation, but it is also always a good idea to leave them wanting more. If you’re really enjoying each other’s company and having great conversation, perfect opportunity to end the date and get a second date in the books!
10. PERSONAL HYGIENE
Hard to believe this needs to be included, but believe me when I say that it does. Meaningful and lasting connections go way deeper than physical appearance, but physical attraction and personal hygiene are both important in making a good first impression. Be sure to be showered and neatly dressed for your date and always, always, greet your date with fresh breath.
11. GO EASY ON THE DRINKS
(*the important plus one)
Of course a first date is likely to include a cocktail or two, but it’s a good idea to give yourself a two drink max on a first date. Staying sober will greatly increase your odds of not saying or doing something you will regret the next morning.
Many of these tips seem “natural”, but we all know that there is nothing “natural” about first dates. We are often so consumed with our own feelings of insecurity that we disregard and ignore the most simple and effective ways to relate with others. So yes, listen wholeheartedly to your friends and family when they tell you to be yourself...just don’t forget to be your BEST self!
About the author: Michelle Fraley, MA, WPCC is a relationship coach and professional matchmaker and founder and owner of Spark Matchmaking & Relationship Coaching, LLC. Her mission to help people connect and maintain healthy, satisfying relationships using mindfulness and intentional love. She lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and 4 furry children.
Michelle Fraley, MA, WPCC