First Date Tips and Advice That You Need Before Your Big Day

Young women smiling at a men, the men got flowers behind ahis back as he approaches the women.

First dates can be nerve-wracking, but they don’t have to be. With a little preparation, you’ll be all set to thrive in a new and exciting relationship. And hey, we don’t blame you for overthinking it, dating isn’t easy. Luckily, we’ve collected some of the best helpful first date tips and advice so that you can make the most out of your first date.

The first date is such a big opportunity to get to know someone new and see if there’s a connection. To start with, remember to relax, be yourself, and focus on having a good time. But even if you have the basics down, you may still be struggling to showcase the most confident version of yourself. Let’s take a look at some tips to let your personality shine through!

How to boost your confidence

Confidence is the bedrock of a successful first date. It allows you to engage in meaningful conversations and showcase the real you. While confidence may come naturally to some, it can be thankfully nurtured in others. You can at least fake it till you make it!

Here are some effective ways to enhance your confidence before the first date:

Have a pre-date routine

Take some time for yourself before and complete a workout, read your favorite book, or do another hobby that makes you happy. The endorphins will help you relax and lift your spirits.

Groom yourself

A man checking his hair in the mirror, making sure it looks perfect.

If you look good, you’ll probably feel good. To ease dating anxiety, you could do a beauty treatment that relaxes you and leaves you feeling glowing – maybe a facemask, wash your hair, or a long bubble bath.

Make it short

Most of us feel confident when we’re in control. Keep the date plan short, so you know you have an out if things go south. You also feel less pressured to keep coming up with conversation starters.

Prepare backups

Things can go wrong like your card gets declined, a button pops, or your lipstick smudges. Instead of picturing worst-case scenarios, calm your fears by bringing a spare card or cash, a safety pin, lipstick, or whatever you think you might need.

Do your homework beforehand

A man in a kitchen holding a cup and checking his phone.

Coming up with topics can be stressful. Review your date’s profile and exchange messages for ideas and conversation starters. Have a picture with their dog? Mentioned their love for pizza? Note it down for the big day!

Arrive with minutes to spare

Don’t be late and flustered. Map your route ahead and arrive 10 minutes early. If you don’t want to seem overzealous, stroll around the area until the date time.

Watch your words

No need to censor yourself, but use language that shows confidence. Avoid overusing words like “maybe” and “I think”. Don’t be afraid to show decisiveness and a strong opinion, but do so with tact.

Treat your waiters and bartenders well

A couple enjoying a meal at a table with a waiter serving them.

If you treat your waiters or bartenders well, it displays subtle confidence and kindness. It also demonstrates how you treat people, which includes how you’ll treat your date.

Put yourself out there

Vulnerability is attractive and encourages openness from your date. It’s not easy but if you can do so skillfully, you naturally appear more confident of yourself and what you bring to the table.

Beyond all these tips, the important thing is to remember to have fun and enjoy yourself. A first date is just a chance for the both of you to see if you vibe. If you do, great. If you don’t, at least you know you tried. So either way, it’s a good step to take towards meeting that special someone.

Now you’re feeling confident, you can plan the details of the date – where the real magic happens!

Where to get started

Planning the perfect first date can be an exciting yet daunting task. With so many possibilities and potential pitfalls, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. However, there are some things you can do to increase your chances of having a successful first date!

Choose the right setting

Location is key – the place you choose could make or break the experience. For a casual and relaxed atmosphere, consider a coffee shop, park, or bookstore. If you’re seeking a more intimate setting, a museum, art gallery, or even a scenic walk can be ideal. Avoid overly noisy or crowded places that might make it difficult to converse – it’s the time to try and form a new connection, after all. If you need even more inspiration check out what Valentine‘s Day statistics we found when we quizzed daters about choosing date ideas to choosing date ideas.

Keep it simple

A couple enjoying a conversation on a deck, surrounded by nature and sharing laughter.

First dates are about getting to know someone new, not about over-complicating things. Keep the agenda light and focused on conversation and interaction. Avoid elaborate plans or activities that might put undue pressure on either of you, it’s not the time to go skydiving! A simple coffee date or a walk through a park can be surprisingly exciting as you chat and discover more about each other.

Be present and engaged

A man and woman sharing a meal at a cozy outdoor cafe, enjoying each other's company and the fresh air.

First dates can be nail-biting, but it’s important to focus on the present moment and give your date your undivided attention. Listen actively to what they have to say, ask thoughtful questions, and avoid checking your phone or getting distracted. Showing genuine interest in their life and experiences will make them feel valued and appreciated.

Be yourself

Trying to be someone you’re not is a recipe for disaster on a first date. Authenticity is key to attracting and connecting with someone who truly appreciates you for who you are. Embrace your unique personality, quirks, and interests. Your genuineness will shine through and make you more attractive to the right person.

End on a positive note

A good first date should leave both parties feeling positive and eager for a second encounter. As the date wraps up, express gratitude for their time and let them know you had a nice time. If you’re feeling a connection, suggest getting together again soon. Leave them with a lasting positive impression and excitement for the next step.

Are you still debating on your options? This quiz will guide you towards the perfect first date experience. You can answer a series of thought-provoking questions about your preferences, passions, and ideal date scenarios. Based on your responses, we’ll tailor a personalized first-date itinerary that matches your unique style and preferences.

Now your confidence levels are up and a well-crafted plan is in place, it’s time to talk about what is potentially the most crucial step: mastering the art of conversation and what to do about those traditional first date rules!

First date rules and when to break them

There are a few times when classic wisdom and common dating advice just doesn’t work out. If you’ve ever been on a first date, there’s no doubt that your friends and family tried to give you some stereotypical dating advice, or warned you on how to spot dating red flags. Sure, they have your best interests at heart, but sometimes you should decide what to say and do.

Every relationship is different, and getting to know your date in a way that feels authentic to you is much more important than following generic dating rules. So, when should you break those rules?

Rule: Never discuss religion or politics

Should you ever break it?

This is one of those classic dating rules. But if you’re passionate about either, then why not be honest about who you really are? Better to put yourself out there and risk rejection than find out later that you’re incompatible.

A man with a leather jacket releasing that his date brought a friend

Rule: Never bring a friend

Should you ever break it?

You should never just show up with a friend. But doing a double date is perfect! You’ll have more confidence and you won’t feel so much pressure to make the first move.

Rule: Never choose an activity where you can’t talk

Should you ever break it?

It can be tempting to choose something like a movie for a first date. Not having to work through awkward silence can help quench dating anxiety. But if you do this, be ready to suggest something like getting a drink or dessert afterward. Bonus, you’ve now got something to talk about!

A man talking on his phone while on a first date

Rule: Stay off your phone

Should you ever break it?

There’s a big difference between just falling into your phone and ignoring your date and using your phone to interact. But if you’re having a hard time finding conversation starters, sharing your favorite videos and meme accounts is an easy way to get laughing together. 

Rule: Nobody likes bragging

Should you ever break it?

Nobody likes someone who won’t shut up about themself. But if you’ve got the world’s cutest dog or you just created a masterpiece in painting class? Both are big factors that your date might find desirable, so go for it!
There’s so much advice based on feelings when it comes to a first date, so let’s shift the focus to tips that are actually backed by science! Never mind what thoughts and opinions you have, it’s time to increase your chances of success with studies and data. So let’s get into it!

5 Science-Backed First Date Tips

Look groomed and healthy

Young man smiling at his laptop while holding a sports mat under his arm

A scientific study discovered that when you meet someone for the first time, you have about 27 seconds to make a good first impression on your date even before you speak.

From that same study, the top three factors that formed a bad first impression were: smelling bad, being arrogant, or dressing poorly. If you don’t already take grooming and freshening yourself up seriously, then this is your sign to do so.

Research also shows that both genders find physical indicators of sexual health desirable in a person. These indicators include shiny hair, clear skin and bright eyes.

So if you want to make a good first impression, wash your hair, freshen up, and slap on a little moisturizer. You don’t have to put on a facade, but looking like you actually put some effort into your appearance would definitely add a tick or two to your date’s books.

Watch your body language

Couple sitting in lawn chairs while drinking iced tea and chatting

You don’t have to be overly cautious with your actions. But if you want to appear more likeable, there are certain postures that you can adopt to make yourself more attractive to your date.

The first action is mirroring, which is copying the actions and behavior of the other party. So if they shift, smile, or cross their arms, you do the same. This is a common technique used by salespersons and in job interviews to signal trust and rapport.

When you mirror someone’s actions, you show empathy by showing that you’re putting yourself in their shoes. This immediately helps to build a sense of connectedness.

If you feel awkward about copying someone’s actions, try turning your feet towards them instead. This means that when you talk to them, ensure that your whole body is facing them to convey interest.

Your feet have been said to be the compass of the body, so besides taking you to places, it also signals the intention of where you might want to go next. Besides watching where your feet point, watching where your date points their feet is also a good indicator of how the date is going.

Have something sweet

Couple eating ice cream together and walking outside

If you’re looking for a date location, consider choosing an ice cream parlor or ordering desserts at the end of your meal. An interesting study found that its participants had a greater interest in initiating a relationship with the other party when exposed to sweet tastes.

While we can’t guarantee your date will be ready for a relationship after one caramel sundae, we’d like to think that ice cream on a date or at the end of a date is never a bad thing, right?

Show vulnerability

Psychology studies found that individuals are perceived to be more likeable after they make a mistake, this is known as the Pratfall effect.

This means that you shouldn’t stress out too much about being the perfect date because it is likely that your mistakes and imperfections will make you seem more human and likeable.

But make sure that the slip-ups aren’t happening all the time, and that you’ve established a decent amount of rapport first to avoid seeming unreliable.

Another study found that to be seen in a positive light, you can share personal information about yourself, instead of hiding it. Even if the information is potentially embarrassing.

We take this to mean that there is power in being vulnerable, in sharing stories about yourself, and putting yourself out there if you want to connect with your date. However, we’d be cautious about sharing too many embarrassing stories – you’d also want to hear some of theirs.

Show an interest in them

Happy couple having picnic on a sunny day

This brings us to our next point. You can apply all of the scientific studies so far, but that’s only half the work. You’ll also need to show interest in them.

Science backs this up. There is a phenomenon known as reciprocity of liking where people think positively of others when they know that these individuals have also expressed positive opinions of them.

So in short, show your appreciation for them and that could, in turn, cause them to have an interest in you before the night ends. Of course, you should be genuine and only do so if that’s how you really feel.

The unpredictability of a first date situation can often unnerve even the most seasoned daters because you can’t quite tell how a date is ever going to go until you’re on the date itself.

If you’ve been having butterflies in your stomach or thinking about canceling that upcoming first date because it’s been too long since your last date, we hope we’ve managed to convince you, with the help of science, how you can make it a more enjoyable first date for the both of you.

Even if you’re still feeling nervous after hearing what the science has to say, there are a few strategies you can employ to conquer first-date anxiety.

A couple enjoying drinks together at a table.

Focus on embracing the excitement rather than the nervousness. Ground yourself in the present moment, take deep breaths, and remind yourself that it’s an opportunity for genuine connection and to find someone who could bring joy into your life – and that’s so exciting! Shift your mindset from impressing to expressing, and prioritize authenticity over perfection. Remember that your date is likely feeling a similar mix of emotions, you will both want to present a likable version of yourselves. Engage in positive self-talk, visualize success, and most importantly, be kind to yourself. Embracing the uncertainty and viewing the date as a chance to have fun and learn more about each other can help alleviate anxiety and pave the way for a more enjoyable experience.

After all, what’s the worst that could happen? A bad first date? We’ve all been there, and we’ll probably be there again. So, let’s not sweat it. But how do you deal with the fall-out of a first date that doesn’t go exactly to plan? Let’s take a look at what to do next and how to be honest but also respectful with your date about your experience.

The “Bad Date” scenario

A man having a strange facial expression while on a first date

Let’s assume that despite all the effort, your date didn’t end in a new relationship. Everyone finds themselves on a bad date every once in a while. Some comedians even made a career out of them! Bad dates are an inevitable part of dating. But that doesn’t mean it will always turn out this way or that you are bad at dating. Check out these great ways to move on from a bad first date and get yourself back out there!

So, If you find yourself on a bad date, prioritize honesty and communication. Remember, it’s okay to cut the date short if needed but whilst you’re together, focus on maintaining a positive attitude, finding common ground, or injecting humor to lighten the mood. Politely express your feelings if something is uncomfortable or not going well – even if it’s after the date in a message, your date will appreciate the honesty and knowing where they stand.

Keep in mind that not every date will be perfect, and there’s value in learning from the experience. You can use this as an opportunity to reflect on what didn’t work and use it as a guide for future dates. Don’t let one bad date discourage you; view it as a stepping stone to finding more compatible connections.

After all, what’s the worst that could happen? A bad first date? We’ve all been there, and we’ll probably be there again. So, let’s not sweat it. But how do you deal with the fall-out of a first date that doesn’t go exactly to plan? Let’s take a look at what to do next and how to be honest but also respectful with your date about your experience.

A man and woman seated at a cafe table, engrossed in conversation while savoring their meal.

In conclusion, embarking on a first date can be an exhilarating yet nerve-wracking experience. But armed with the right tips, advice, and even scientific studies, you can navigate the first meeting with confidence and charm. Remember to be yourself, stay present in the moment, and have open communication with your date. Approach the day with a positive mindset, embracing the opportunity to connect and learn more about each other. Whether it’s choosing the right venue, maintaining good manners, or simply enjoying the shared experience, these tips serve as a foundation for a successful and enjoyable first date. Ultimately, the key is to relax, be genuine, and have fun. Good luck on your big day, and may it be the start of something truly special!

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