Whether you happened to meet on this website or ran into each other at that bar, your first proper get-together is a big deal. How well you gel on your first date will go a long way towards determining if there is every going to be a second.
Some people adopt a blasé attitude, thinking it’ll just be a case of knocking back several drinks, engaging in some small-talk, and then rolling into bed at the end of the night. Such a throwaway approach to your love life is fine if the limit of your ambition is endless one-night stands or, more likely, a series of taxi journeys home with only the driver for company. But if you want to make the most of the opportunity and establish a real connection you need to put far more thought into your first date.
Where you invite your potential partner is a crucial aspect of the proceedings. Unless you’ve unearthed the fact she is a massive fan of a particular sports club, asking her along to that Saturday’s crucial match is not recommended. Actually, there are few right and wrongs with choosing a destination as there are so many possibilities. It would perhaps be a better idea to score exclusive restaurants off the list as the first date should be a far more low-key affair. High brow dining is to be reserved for much later in the relationship, when you are celebrating birthdays or are perhaps contemplating popping a certain question.
But there are any number of more informal dining outlets you could try out, where the emphasis should be on fun and chat while you break the ice. This could be anywhere from a sushi joint to a burger bar, a pizza parlor to a key-side café famed for its fresh seafood. In many ways the diner itself is irrelevant; it’s all about creating a relaxed setting for the two of you to become the focus of attention, not the eye-watering prices on the menu.
A common mistake is being unduly nonchalant about your big night. You won’t create an impression you have serious feelings about your partner if you show up in sneakers and a sweatshirt as if this meeting is an afterthought to a trip to the gym. On the other hand, you’ll look ridiculous if you show up in an evening suit for a jaunt to your multiplex cinema or the bowling alley.
Let common sense prevail, and ‘smart but casual’ is the perfect rule of thumb. Never be tempted to wear that new pair of shoes you happen to love but which you are still breaking in. Your date will be mightily embarrassed if you end up limping around because your feet are in agony. Wear whatever you feel comfortable in – but not that heavy metal band t-shirt which should only really see the light of day when you’re tinkering with your car.
How to connect
So you’ve followed the ground rules, you’ve chosen a suitable venue and dressed appropriately. Now for the most important part. Getting to know you partner. If this is someone you haven’t been connected for that long, it will be impossible for you to appreciate all there is to know about them. This is where you can tease out the information, not by asking 20 questions as if this is an interview, but by chatting. Ensure this a two-way conversation. Most importantly of all, give her compliments. Lots of them. If you make her feel special she may well be impressed enough to want to see you again.