It’s the holiday season and many of us will be going on first dates — whether it’s with someone you met at a holiday party, a friend set up, or you decided to invest in a matchmaker — everyone should be dating this time of year. First dates can be exhilarating and intriguing, yet nerve-wracking if you haven’t been on the first date circuit in a while. The rules have changed a bit, and it’s not all about avoiding religion, sex and politics as topics anymore. Here are few tips from the experts on first dates:
Don’t talk about your ex. Sure, this is a no-brainer for those of you coming out of a bad breakup. But for others, exes always seem to get brought up. If your date starts bad-mouthing his/her ex, move away from the topic, by politely saying “it sounds like you’ve been through a lot. I’m glad we’re getting to know each other. Shall we order?” Learn to comfortably move on — the date is about the two of you and NOT about the past. That said, don’t go to the other extreme and mention that you are friends with all your exes. As matchmakers, we think that it’s great to maintain friendship — but it may intimidate your date, or make him/her feel like you can’t make the step from friends to lovers, because you might secretly still be holding on to the past.
Don’t be lazy. First impressions are really important. Remember, many people judge someone within a few seconds of meeting them. You’re going on a date so dress to impress. If you don’t have a good sense of style, that’s fine, but don’t be that guy/gal on a date wearing a stained/wrinkled/old/un-tucked/outdated shirt. A first date is like a job interview — be presentable and plan for the date, according to location, time and ambiance. Google the restaurant to make sure you are dressed appropriately. Weekend dates are dressier, especially over dinner. A general rule: No athletic gear/hoodies/tennis shoes, especially white ones, for evening dates. (Also, no shorts on a first date, ever.)
Don’t get drunk. Yes, a cocktail sounds nice when you’ve got the first date jitters. But we are still in the first impression stage at this point. If you are comfortable not drinking, go for it, but you should limit yourself to a two drink max on a first date. Don’t make the impression that you are a lush when maybe you’re just calming your nerves.
Engage your date, don’t interview. Being in the industry for many years now, it’s very clear to us that some people like to “interview” their dates, especially when meeting for the first time. Yes, asking questions is good. But drilling questions one after the other, or working hard to make sure (s)he checks everything off your “list” is bad. Regardless of chemistry, this will probably kill your chances of seeing in this person again. Note your body language during the chat. Eye contact is always a plus, but don’t stare.
Don’t go somewhere you can’t afford. Dating can be expensive, whether a matchmaker is involved or not. A huge turn off would be if you agree to go out and then complain about the prices. No one likes a cheap person. Taking someone to the finest restaurant in the city is not going to impress him/her if you complain about the check in the end.
Bottom line? Be yourself. No one wants to date a shell of who you really are (especially a drunk, cheap, disheveled shell). There is someone out there for everyone, so practice your first date skills and get out there.
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