How to Have a Perfect First Date?

January 27, 2021
First Online Date

So, you've found The One. 

Or maybe The One. 

Perhaps they're definitely not The One, but hey, who knows where it might go?

If you thought that online dating, chatting up a stranger, getting to know them, and sharing your slightly age-inappropriate love of Lego was the challenge, next up you've got to organise the first date!

This task can strike fear into the heart of the most confident singles among us, so let's run through a few tips and tricks to turn a first date nightmare into the meeting of minds you have dreamed of.

Keep it Simple

I know, it sounds obvious, but the majority of first date fails are simply because you've put too much pressure on the situation. 

Complicated plans, trying to cram loads of stuff into a short space of time, or getting ridiculously stressed over your outfit is not the recipe for a great date!

I'd recommend avoiding the traditional dinner date. Romantic restaurants, splitting the bill, fancy outfits, knowing which wine to choose, there are way too many trip hazards here to make it an effortless evening!

Think about what you want to achieve. You want to chat and get to know each other a bit better. Each person wants to see the other face to face, be undisturbed, and see if the spark of attraction flies both ways

Grab a coffee or a sandwich at a local deli. Meet up for ice cream in the park. 

DON'T meet at anybody's house (again, the potential for disaster!) and DON'T make it the be-all and end-all - it's just a coffee, after all.

Stay Cool

Next up - the nerves. Everybody gets this; sweaty palms, stains under your arms, stuttering and mumbling, they're not going to help make the right first impression. Your date isn't going to feel relaxed and at ease with someone who is a nervous wreck, either!

So, how to stay cool on a first date? Again, let's keep it simple:

  • Never drink on a first date. The temptation to drown your nerves in alcohol is too great, and drunk you will probably not seem like as good a prospect as sober you!
  • Go somewhere you know. Choosing a friendly cafe, for example, takes away all the drama of working out which train to get, knowing whether or not they can cater to your allergies, feeling uncomfortable in an unfamiliar environment or (a common mistake!) choosing somewhere posh where you don't feel able to relax.
  • Prepare your outfit the day before, and ask for opinions if you're not sure! Being late makes the nerves ten times worse, and if you blow in the door, soaking wet, out of breath and looking a bit bedraggled, it's not the best start.
  • Think of some icebreakers! If you've met someone online, then you probably have a few clues as to what they're into. Remember, a first date is NOT just about you - speaking continuously about yourself is a huge turn off! Do your research, have a few things up your sleeve, and you'll feel much more laid back about your chat knowing that if the conversation stalls you've got somewhere to go.

Be Authentic

We've all got an idea in our heads of who we'd like to be if we weren't so human - but that isn't the reality, and it isn't the person your future partner will fall in love with!

Fakes and phonies are one of the biggest challenges for a single person, and if there is even a whiff that you're exaggerating, or not being entirely truthful, your first date will likely be a dud.

You don't have to be perfect, and nor should you pretend to be. It doesn't matter if you and your date don't agree on every topic, or like different music. 

Be yourself, be authentic, and remember that the right person for you will like you just the way you are - even with your flaws and bumpy bits!

Don't Be Too Pushy

If you've been single a long time, and are desperate to settle down, it can be easy to slip into pushiness without quite realising you're doing it.

Even if you've had a fantastic time, feel like you've met the love of your life, and don't think you can get through the next day without seeing them again - try to keep calm.

It's great to follow up a date with a message saying that you had a great time, and would like to do it again. It's not so great to leave it 30 minutes after you have gone before you start bombarding your date's phone with messages declaring your undying love, and demanding they set aside the rest of their week to cater to your ego.

Find distractions, turn your phone off, think about what you'd like to do next time, but whatever you do, don't be too pushy. Trying to force a fledgeling relationship to progress at a speed that isn't natural will likely make your date feel under pressure, and cause them to back away - slowly, but decidedly.

Try Not to Despair if it Doesn't Work Out

Let's be honest, even the best-planned, most perfect date might not work out. We're not all destined to feel attracted to each other (wouldn't that be an intense world!) and sometimes a date that looked good on paper doesn't deliver in person.

It's not a blame game - you didn't do anything wrong!

Chemistry is a magical thing, but it's impossible to fabricate if it isn't authentic, and you don't want to spend months dating someone who just isn't that into you.

If you're looking for love, and aren't keen on repeating your first date disaster, check out Best 10 for some ideas of the best dating apps, designed for your personality, preferences and ideal partner.

Modern dating sites offer a world of opportunity to meet new people, chat online and find a fresh social circle with guys and girls who are compatible with your interests.

Just like your Mum said, there are plenty of fish in the sea - so use the resources available to make sure you've got the right fishing rod for the job!

Lauren Edwards-Fowle
Lauren is a freelance writer passionate about how we develop rewarding experiences, and overcoming the barriers we face to living our best lives. Lauren writes regularly about the modern world of dating, relationships, parenthood, and social dynamics.