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First Date Tips: The Dos and Don’ts of Dating
We’ve all been on first dates, and some dates go well, while others are just disastrous. Over the years, I’ve realized I’m the friend people turn to for dating advice, especially for first dates. I’ve been on both sides of the dating spectrum—the girl who doesn’t get the call and the girl that can’t get the phone to stop ringing with interested suitors. So how did I generate that much interest and how can you turn your first date into something great? I’m going to share my dating secrets, and although these first date tips are targeted toward women, it can benefit both men and women.
For starters, if you just went on a first date recently, and wonder why he or she didn’t call, you may have committed one of my First Date Don’ts that generally means no call back. To be clear, this list of Dating Dos and Don’ts was created based on my own experiences and observations I’ve made of others. This list may not be suitable for everyone, but if your dates regularly do not progress beyond the first date, see if you have committed a first date don’t…I think you’ll be surprised how even simple conversation can change everything.
“My first date is tomorrow. What do I do? I don’t want to be alone anymore.”
First Date Tip #1
Dating Don’t: Never, under any circumstance, tell someone on your first date that you are looking for a long term relationship. I cannot say this enough. Don’t tell your date this or post this on your dating profile. Even if this is your #1 objective, that’s okay, BUT it screams desperation and could scare your dater away. There is no reason to tell a person this when you may learn after a few dates you’re not compatible at all. And even if you are compatible, if you tell your date you want a serious relationship and then explain why, they’ve stopped listening after hearing “serious relationship.”
Dating Do: If “what are you looking for?” is prompted (and don’t be the prompter), respond with something like: “I’m just looking to have some fun for now, and if I meet someone great, great, and if I don’t, I’ll enjoy the ride along the way” or “I’m just looking to casually date for now, one step at a time and see how it goes. I’m in no rush.” You’d be surprised how relaxing this approach is. It tells your dater you have realistic expectations, which with any first date, you have to have, and it also makes your date want you more since, in general, people want what they can’t have. Saying you just want to fun says you are confident being single and you won’t settle. The same goes with saying you want to take it slow. Taking it slow means you aren’t going to jump into a relationship with just anyone. This is a very attractive quality and in most cases, it will get your dater wanting more from you.
First Date Tip #2
Dating Don’t #2: Never say you are looking to be married by X time and have X children. I’ve discussed this topic at great lengths and the rebuttal I often hear is: “Well, I don’t want to waste my time. I’m over 30/pushing 30. I want to have a family and kids, so I need to start now. I don’t have time for games.” The problem with this approach is it’s off-putting, especially if you say, “I want to be married by the time I’m 30,” and you just told your dater you’re 29! Yikes! That puts a lot of pressure on your dater and it seems most guys will want to run away as fast as possible. It also suggests you may have low standards, which isn’t true of course, but your dater may think it when they hear a specific timeline in place. If you have a timeline, someone has to make it happen, right? So how does that make the person feel special? It comes off as you’ll take any guy/girl to make sure you are married by X date—even though that’s not true, first dates are all about first impressions.
Dating Do: Avoid discussing huge life decisions, such as marriage and children on your first date. If your dater asks you if you ever want to get married or have children, keep it simple, such as: “Yes, someday, when I find Mr. Right.” By using the keyword, “someday” you are indicating you want it, but not yet. Even if you do want it right this second, remember, this is only your first date. You may not even like the guy by the end of the night or maybe after a few dates, you realize he’s a loser, so it won’t matter anyway. If after a few dates it goes well and you eventually start getting more serious, then its okay to bring up dating and marriage in a more serious manner, but again, NEVER GIVE A DEADLINE unless you want to get dumped—it will happen, not in every case, but it can. Two people in my own family both dumped their girlfriends for demanding timelines.
First Date Tip #3
Dating Don’t: Never assume your date will pay for you. Although this could be your deal breaker since I do think the person who asks for the date should pay, it’s polite to offer to pay your share and shows you aren’t just looking for a free dinner.
Dating Do: When the bill comes, wait for him to take the bill and then go for your purse and say, “How much do I owe?” Or if you are doing something active, like mini golf and have to pay in advance, it’s the same thing, offer to pay your part, “Did you want to split it?” More times than not, the guy will pay, but every situation is different and this is definite insight into their personality. If you are reading this and thinking, “I would NEVER pay! Chivalry is about the guy paying,” remember this is personality insight. If they let you pay half, well now you know not to date him again if that’s your standard, but I’ve known many guys, who will always pay, but if the girl doesn’t even offer (even if the date goes well), they will not call again.
First Date Tip #4
Dating Don’t: If at the end of the date, the date was success, you like him or her and want to see him or her again, don’t call or text right after your date. This could be interpreted as too interested, and although it can be interpreted as flattery, we want the call!
Dating Do: If your date calls or texts immediately afterwards, it’s fine to respond with a text “I had fun too!” or answer your phone. Just remember to keep the conversation light and let them be the one to bring up another date. However, if you haven’t heard from your date at all after seeing them, and it’s been a few days and you are very interested, then it’s okay to call him or her for a follow-up date, but don’t say, “Why haven’t you called?” That comes off as a bit possessive, and after the first date, you aren’t entitled to be such. I would have an idea of what you want to say in mind when you call, such as “Hey, a few of us are going bowling (or wherever) this weekend. I remember you saying you liked bowling and thought you might want to come.” Or, “Hey, that X movie just came out. I heard it’s getting good reviews if you want to come with me to see it.”
I hope you find these first date dating tips helpful. If you are thinking “You are so wrong” or “That’s not true for me” that’s fine. I expect these dating tips won’t ring true for everyone and not everyone will agree with my approach. I understand some will argue you need to be upfront with what you want in life immediately, but I simply don’t agree, and that’s never worked for me. You can get what you want without showing all your cards on your first date—people like a little mystery, so let them wonder about you! Leave them wanting more! Again, these dating tips are based on my own personal experiences and experiences I’ve witnessed of others, so it may not work for everyone, but it worked for me when I was single and I’ve been happily married for years now.
Good luck out there!
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