first date etiquette

First dates can be one of the most daunting experiences anyone can face. You’re essentially spending an evening with a complete stranger, trying to sell yourself to them, and look and feel attractive all at once.

I broke my first date virginity at the beginning of this year. I nearly cancelled about six times on the journey to the bar we were meeting in, I purchased new outfits and tried on about ten I already owned before leaving the house and I didn’t eat all day! Safe to say it was the most nervous I had felt in a while.

There’s no manual as to how to have a perfect first date and this most definitely isn’t a manual either. But gents, here I am sharing some first date etiquette tips that I think makes a first date great and that could help you score the second one.

Keep it casual

There shouldn’t be any stress linked to deciding where to go on your first date. I think the more casual the better. It is already a situation with pressure. So why make it worse by having a six course meal in a fancy restaurant if that’s not your thing? I’d much rather an evening spent in a cute pub, having a few drinks and great conversation than trying too hard and coming across as false. Keep it relaxed and affordable: have a coffee in your regular spot or meet for drinks at your favourite pub. You’ll automatically feel more relaxed in a place you recognise. And being relaxed is of the utmost importance.

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Be prompt

There is no worse feeling than sitting waiting for a late first date in a busy public place. All that goes through your mind is have they walked in, saw me and left? You don’t want your date to feel uncomfortable before you have even arrived. It is not hard to be punctual. You would not be late for a job interview so why would you be late on a date when you are trying to make an equally good first impression?

Keep the Ex Files closed!

Everyone has baggage or past relationship skeletons. But is it really essential to reveal all of your past lovers on a first date? The correct answer is no! Of course, if this develops into something more serious, maybe the ex files will make an appearance. They usually always do at some point. But this is your first date! Reminiscing on the people who broke your heart or how many people you’ve slept with does not make interesting conversation. And if a guy mentions an ex to me when we first meet, my brain automatically thinks that girl is still on their mind. And no one wants to be a rebound!

Listen and talk in equal measure

You may think as a guy it’s really important that you listen intently to everything your date is saying to you. You are right. It is a lovely feeling to have someone really interested in what you have to say. But there is something known as too much listening. What I mean is, a conversation should never be one sided, for two reasons. One, how are you expecting your date to get to know you when all you’re doing is nodding and smiling? And two, there is nothing worse than having all the pressure of driving a whole night’s conversation. I am the world’s most chatty person. But even I struggle to come up with what to say for an entire evening. Which brings me swiftly on to…

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Drive the conversation

Ask questions. Make remarks and opinions about what she is saying. Bring your own topics to the table. I am not saying argue and interrogate your date. But when a guy has a lot to say and is passionate about something, it really makes me like them. And the best way to get to know someone else is an evening of great conversation about likes, dislikes and shared interests. So get talking!

Play available to get

For years, guys and girls have been taking the dating advice ‘play hard to get.’ These days we all have work and friendships and family to deal with. We don’t need any extra to worry about. The last thing we want to do with our time is analyse your texts and decipher your mixed messages. I much prefer it when a guy is honest and tells me what he wants. He keeps me in the loop as to whether he’s interested in me or not. Actually, I find it quite attractive. Everyone likes to know where they stand, so if you’re interested, tell your date. After all we are not in the playground anymore; games are for children.

A compliment goes a long way

Having a person you barely know sit opposite you for an evening and tell them everything about yourself is pretty daunting. A good way to break the ice is an honest compliment. (And by honest compliment I mean something you actually like about them not just what you think guys should say to girls. Yes it’s nice to say for example your date looks pretty. But for me it’s better if you make it personal so your date doesn’t think you say that to every first date you go on.) Maybe take note of a piece of jewellery she is wearing or how she did her hair. A girl goes to a lot of effort to look good and you’ll for sure get brownie points for taking the time to notice the little things.

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There’s nothing worse than being on a date with a guy who is trying to be something they just aren’t. At the end of the day, dating is simply two people getting to know each other. So follow these simple first date etiquette rules, be yourself and you’ll find your perfect match along the way.

Elle works as a freelance singer, travelling the world performing on cruise ships and in hotels. Find her on Facebook or check out more about her writing on her website.

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