That inevitable first date (and how to get to that exciting second date)
Is it proper to react on first impulses? What if you run out of things to talk about? Is being “mysterious” just a myth?
By now most should have an idea of what they’re looking for in a longterm partner, what advice should be heeded, what ground to stand, when to compromise, and with any luck—are ready for that inevitable first date.
Although tradition may have been lost somewhere between the social masses of computers and when online dating was first introduced, without dating etiquette guidelines, first dates can sometimes lead to disaster.
With a few gentle reminders, a fresh perspective and a never-ending sense of humor—dating doesn’t have to be anything less than exciting—and hopefully that first date is just the beginning.
Verify your date’s credibility
Google your date. You’d be surprised what shows up when you do a search. You may have more to go on after the first date, but if they are who they say they are, it’s all good. Fair warning: Just as with information you don’t want to find, be cautious of no information at all. (Stay tuned for an in-depth article on this topic by P.K. in the coming weeks.)
First date etiquette: How to act on a first date (and anytime)
- Limit yourself to two alcoholic drinks
- Smile, and laugh at your date’s jokes (even if they aren’t all that funny)
- Make eye contact (don’t look down or away)
- Be respectful, kind, courteous, appreciative
- Don’t be obsessive (about anything)
- Don’t ask too many questions—(inquisitive is good, nosey is annoying)
- Never be late (on any date)—it is disrespectful
- Memorize this: “It is never about the win”
- Engage in conversation, and don’t be a space cadet—it’s important to talk and listen, but let others talk, too.
The skinny on who pays for the date: the man or the woman?
Traditionally, the man pays for the woman (or the partner who asked the person out pays). The answer to this question has only changed because traditions were changed or abused.
First impulses: React—or take a deep breath and smile?
It is never appropriate to react on impulse, such as when you find yourself reacting to your date’s immaturity or inappropriate behavior, intended or not. So the next time you feel the urge to raise your right hand, one can only hope it will be to tell the truth, or to salute a soldier), instead of to slap your date. Just take a deep breath and smile; or count to four and head for the back door—because violence is never the answer.
Saving conversation (for the shy and nervous)
First dates are wonderful, but even the most confident of people can sometimes find themselves in a lull. (Remember, interesting questions can lead to interesting answers, which can tell a lot about a person’s character.) Here are a few questions to help jump start awkward moments of silence:
- What would you do if you had $500k?
- If you could start your own charity, what would it be?
- What was your best, and worst memory and why?
- If you could have an exotic pet, what would you have?
- Do you have a bucket list? What are one to four items on that bucket list, and why?
Is being “mysterious” just a myth?
Yes. When you’re trying to get to know someone, why would you want to be anything but forthcoming with information about yourself, or chance losing someone great by sending mixed signals or playing hard to get? A first date (or sixth) is not a time for mystery. If you still don’t get it, try watching, “How to Lose a Guy in 10 days” or “He’s Just Not That Into You” for a few more clues before your date mysteriously goes MIA on you mid-date.
Followup to the date:
It’s appropriate and sweet to followup after a date with a phone call (not a text or an email)—to see if your date made it home safe. If you dropped them off, a phone call the next day is the perfect excuse to make plans for the next phone call, or that second date.
The trick is there is no magic secret or special trick. Just be yourself, be honest with your feelings and enjoy who you’re with. If you hit it off, you’ll both just know.
As always, good luck in your dating adventures, be safe and for goodness sakes don’t take life too seriously, smile and have some fun.
“You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” –Dr. Seuss
Interested in this and other SJ Dating Advice Examiner articles by P.K.? Subscribe and receive free Examiner updates when articles publish. Also, check out San Jose Coffeehouse Examiner and National Etiquette Examiner by P.K. Costa. Have you had your smile today?