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Guide to First Dates: Do's and Don'ts

Updated on January 8, 2013

Who should pick up the check? Is staying the night an option? How long do you wait until you call?

First dates are notorious for being stressful.

DO: Limit Your Expectations

To increase the odds of having a smooth first date, you have to limit your expectations.

Notice, I didn't say "lower" your expectations.

Take the "It's the first night of the rest of your life" mumbo jumbo out of the equation, and stuff the "Is this finally Mr. Right?" into your purse. It's a first date. If you go in expecting your date to be every single item on your "ideal partner" checklist, you're going to be disappointed.

Plus, who do you really think you're kidding? If you spend the entire night mentally adding and subtracting points, your date is going to feel like the subject of an experiment.

DO: Know You've Been Researched

Ah, technology. Isn't it wonderful? In this day and age, before you make it to the dinner table, your date has had the entire internet at their fingertips.

While the internet has allowed us to ensure that we're not accidentally agreeing to a date with a serial killer, it also has a tendency to allow for quick judgment.

It's more than alright to Google your date's name or to quickly stalk their Facebook timeline, but make sure that you aren't writing them off based on a social media mistake! Give them the benefit of the doubt, just like you'd want them to do for you.

DON'T: Be Afraid to Try Out Something Different

A lot of relationships go sour on this tip.

Just because you're a staunch Democrat, and your date is an extremely conservative Republican doesn't mean that you are incompatible. Would you really want to date someone with the exact same hobbies, thoughts, ideas, and interests? Wouldn't you prefer someone who you can have [civil!] arguments with, share new ideas with, and teach new things to?

Don't be afraid to step outside of your "type," or to try out someone with completely different interests from you!

DO: Break Your Own Rules

People [Ladies especially!] tend to have their own preconceived notions of what they want in a significant other. Some of us even have detailed lists of qualities that our ideal future spouse will possess.

But if you set a rule that you won't date anybody younger than you, you're closing the door on a lot of potential matches. If you refuse to date someone above or below a certain height, you're eliminating what could have been "the one."

Rules make great guidelines, but if the right person comes along, know that you might have to bend one of your rules.

DON'T: Talk About Exes

Do NOT, do NOT, do NOT talk about your exes.

Do you want to hear about theirs? Nope? Cool. Moving on.

DO: Let Them Know You Want to See Them Again

If you enjoyed your date and would like to see them again, make sure they know it! You don't want to be overbearing and come on too strong, but don't be afraid to tell them you had fun.

If you don't want to say it in a straightforward way - "I'd like to see you again," you can disguise it by referring to how much you enjoyed a specific part of the date, or even by sneaking it in during the date. If you had a romantic, award-winning dinner, but he insists on paying the full check, you can throw out an "I'll cover it next time." If she beat you at bowling, offer up a flirty "Well, we should head to the batting cages next time. I'll totally take you down!"

Long story, short - your date is not a mind-reader. Let them know you had fun and would love a second date!

DON'T: Give Up Too Quickly

Okay, so your first date wasn't great. Not everybody feels fireworks during a first kiss. Not everyone experiences that immediate attraction. If you genuinely had a good time, it's worth a second shot. Sometimes chemistry is a slow burn, not an explosion.

That being said, don't drag it out if there isn't anything there. It's easier for everyone if you throw in the towel now if you already know that it isn't going to work out.

DON'T: Text At The Table!!

Put your phone away!

Nobody wants to spend time on a date with someone who keeps checking their phone. It looks bad, folks. If texting your best friend, emailing your boss, or scrolling through Instagram photos is more interesting to you than the person sitting across from you, it's not going to end well.

Your phone can wait.

Save yourself a lot of fret and worry with these helpful first date tips!

Have a particularly haunting first date horror story? Share it below!


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    • laurathegentleman profile image

      laurathegentleman 5 years ago from Chapel Hill, NC

      That's such a cute story! Thanks for sharing - I'm sure many people can relate to not being hungry due to nerves!

      Have a wonderful day, thanks for stopping by :)

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      A great hub which brought back a memory of when I met my partner around seven years ago took me for a meal and the plateful of Gammon and chips was huge to say the least. I was so nervous that I could hardly eat a thing !!!The chef came out to ask if there was anything wrong with the meal because I'd hardly eaten any.I simply said that I had a little bad stomach !!!Ha ha!

      Thanks for sharing this gem and I look forward to many more from you..Enjoy your day.