First Dates: 9 Tips on How Not to Screw Things Up

first dates

Dating can be a daunting thought and process, particularly if you haven’t been on the dating scene for a while. Even more so during your first dates. After all, you want to make a good impression, and you want the person to like you.

The problem is, wanting people to like you is probably one of the worst mind-set’s you can have before you go on a date. What you are saying to yourself, and energetically sending messages to your date is “you’re not good enough” and “you’re not worthy of the person you are going on a date with”.

With this type of thinking, you have already set yourself up to fail. Coming from a place of inferiority, you are putting this other person on a pedal stool. You have subconsciously created inequality, and you haven’t even had a date. Your confidence will significantly increase when you change your thinking to “I hope I like the person!”

Admittedly, it is easier for an individual who has been dating for a while to think like this, particularly if they’re wondering if they will ever meet their ideal partner. However, you will instantly feel a difference in your body and the way you think and feel when you are hoping you like the person. You are also changing the energy and the dynamics between the two of you when you meet. You will be coming from a place of curiosity and intrigue rather than inferiority. Ever heard of the saying “fake it ’til you make it”? Well, this is one of those strategies that will help you to increase your confidence before you go on your date.

The thing is, dating with confidence is a game changer – people are more attracted to those who are confident. But, we all have to start somewhere. When we first start dating, and you don’t have those first dates ‘under your belt,’ confidence can be low. So, when it comes down to your first dates, there are some things to consider that will support and guide you so you don’t screw things up. Here’s 9 top tips so you don’t screw things up.

1. Don’t get drunk

Try to avoid alcohol. But if you do have a drink, limit your drinks to no more than two. When you are under the influence of alcohol, you significantly increase your chances of screwing things up – BIG time! Sometimes you just can’t help what comes out of your mouth when you’ve had one too many, and then, there is the unattractive drunk!

2. Put your best foot forward

Prepare for your date. Make sure you’re not tired, have an early night. Be presentable: showered and wearing clean clothes. Body odour and work clothing covered in paint are a real turn off. Saying that, you must feel comfortable. So don’t overdo it. That includes aftershave and perfume! If you don’t like wearing high heels and don’t usually wear them, don’t; you will feel self-conscious and uncomfortable. You want to feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible – the more relaxed you feel on your date, the less likely you’ll screw things up!

3. Be authentic and genuine

The last thing you want is to ‘pretend’ you are interested in something when it is not the case. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not, just to impress your date! You are wasting each other’s time when you are false, and let’s be serious, who are you kidding? More often than not, people can see when someone is lying, and it is evident who is genuinely into scuba diving. Okay, scuba diving is an extreme example, but you get the picture.

How many times have you seen straight through someone who is telling you a load of ‘bull’ and it has changed the way you feel about them, negatively? Even if you never see your date again, let them walk away with a sense of who you are, not someone who is a liar. Be you, be genuine, be authentic. If you discover you’re not compatible, that’s great. It is better to know before starting a relationship with someone who is wrong for you because you ‘extended’ the truth in areas to impress your date.

4. Don’t talk about your exes

How unattractive and off-putting is it to sit across from someone you’ve just met, and all you hear about is ‘how wrong’ their last partner was? Or, how sad they’re not still together? Don’t do it, as tempting as it is to slate your ex; you’re putting off your potential partner if you do. Some people might ask you about your exes on your first date. Simply and politely say that it is something you’ll happily talk about at a later date and then quickly change the subject to something positive about them. This also means, don’t ask your date about their exes.

5. Have confidence

Kyle Cease has recently published a book “I Hope I Screw This Up.” Why would you, or anyone, want to screw things up? Well, when you screw things up, you grow and learn from it. Give yourself permission that it’s okay to get things wrong sometimes. You will master the art of dating. You will be in an exceptional place of confidence when you do meet your perfect partner. You will be such a magnet to your ideal partner when you meet because you will ooze confidence!

6. Set a time limit for your first date

Why set a time limit? Firstly, you have a quick exit if you do not enjoy or like the person you are on a date with. Let’s face it, how many dating horror stories have you heard? Secondly, it takes away any anxieties you may have about the length of time your date will be. A reasonable time limit is usually around an hour. 90 minutes’ maximum. A one-hour date having a cup of coffee feels much more relaxing and less pressure than a dinner date for an unknown period with someone on your first date.

7. No sex on the first date

I know some question this when they read it. That’s okay. If you want a long-term relationship, with your ideal partner, sex can get in the way of knowing if this person is perfect for you. Different emotions and hormones come into play. It can cloud your judgement when you have had sex. Sex is the cherry on the top. It is tough to know the person you are sleeping with when this is your first date. Sex on the first date has its place when you are into ‘hook ups’ but not if you want to meet your perfect partner. Most people wait for the 3rd or 4th date before they consider sex, but obviously, everyone is different.

8. Pay attention

Pay attention to your date. Listen to the person you are with and listen with interest. Ask questions from a place of genuine curiosity. Make sincere compliments, but without going over the top. Do you want to be on a date with someone who constantly talks about themselves? Would you want another date with a person who doesn’t pay you any attention or asks about you? I bet you wouldn’t. So, if you like your date and want to see them again, ask questions. Pay attention and take an interest in what they say. Hopefully, their behaviour will reflect yours.

9. Have fun

See dating as an adventure and a journey of self-discovery and growth. You may meet some awesome people along the way and make great life-long friendships. People who have fun are more attractive. Your date will find you more attractive because you are having a good time and enjoying the experience.

Have fun, don’t sweat the small stuff because that will reduce your confidence. Treat people how you would like to be treated, release any expectations you have about dating and your date, and come from a place of curiosity. Enjoy the journey and your first dates!

Sharon is a Relationship Coach & Social Worker. She is a founder at Coach 2 Connect with over 19 years’ experience working with people and their relationships. She specialises working with singles who are, or considering, dating again, and couples who want authentic, intimate and loving relationships.


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