Be attentive to your date.
When faced with the dilemma of whether to bare all or listen attentively,
many singles prefer to listen. Lori is a 22-year-old college student who
feels she's nailed the role of "listener". "If you listen
to your date, they think you're interesting even though you haven't
actually said anything. Just keep asking questions and they'll think
you're brilliant and fascinating."
Maintain eye contact.
Just make sure it's not too intense. Remember, you aren't a hawk eyeing
Plan your date out ahead
of time. Avoid falling into the vicious cycle of saying, "I don't
know, what do you want to do?" Decide on something and do it. Be open
to other suggestions if your plans don't work out.
Meet in a public place on
your first date. Not only is this a safe idea, it also allows for
distractions should conversation lag. Rick, 24, agrees: "Leave the
one-on romantic dates for when you really feel you are into a
Offer to split the bill.
The issue of "who pays" is probably one of the largest sources
of confusion for singles. Most people today feel that the bill is the
responsibility of the party that asked for the date. That said, it is
courteous to offer to "go Dutch" and you should always be
prepared to split the costs. If your date does pick up the tab, offer to
pay the next time.
Act chivalrous. Men,
the women's liberation movement may have provided women with the means to
financial independence and positions of power, but this does not mean that
she no longer appreciates those little things that make you a gentlemen.
Open doors for your date, pull out her chair for her, make sure she gets
home safely. These are the things that make a good impression. Sarah, 31,
believes: "If used correctly, chivalry is the charm of all charms; if
overused, it seems like machismo."
Followup with your date.
Call or email your date to let them know you had a good time. This doesn't
have to be a plea to see them again right away. It's simply a courtesy. If
your date had an enjoyable time too, this will be icing on the cake!
Crack jokes. Not only
will this put your date at ease, it will show them you have a sense of
Discuss heavier topics.
Let's face it, some people SHOULD stick to small talk, but if you're
informed on a topic, go ahead and discuss it. If you find some topics
appropriate and your date finds them taboo, it may be better to realize
this early on.
Don't act distracted
during a date. Turn off your cell phone and keep your eyes from
wandering. Nothing will show a greater lack of interest on your part than
fielding phone calls and checking out the waitstaff.
Don't turn your date into
a therapy session. Avoid subjects like your ex, your bad relationship
with your mother or your growing sense of insecurity over the strange
growth you've discovered on your back.
Don't be pretentious.
Nobody is perfect and nothing is more annoying than someone who acts like
Don't agree for the sake
of agreeing. It's important to stand your ground and let your date
know where you stand on certain topics. The point is getting to know one
another. Most people enjoy intellectual argument, as long as you avoid
insulting your date's intelligence.
Don't try to make any
uninvited physical advances. There are so many different opinions on
what is acceptable, physically, on a date. Cara, 29, holds the opinion
that if there is chemistry, the physical aspects of a relationship will
fall into place. "If things feel right, then hold hands, kiss,
whatever feels right. Nothing is worse, though, than a first date who is
way too into PDA (public displays of affection). It's sort of like they
are staking their claim, which is a major turn-off."
Women, don't be afraid to
ask a man for a date. In fact, many men find a woman who will make the
first move attractive and confident. Kate, 30, agrees: "A woman
asking a man for a date doesn't have to be a pathetic plea to listen to
Seal over a candlelit dinner. You can invite the guy to something you are
going to anyway, like a concert, so it's like you are asking them to come
Don't consume large
amounts of alcohol. In one of his early movies, Arnold Schwarzenegger
told his drunken wife: "You should not drink and bake." Well,
the same holds true for dating: You should not drink and date. Athough the
reasons for this are pretty obvious, it's a trap many people fall into and
it has ruined many a person's chances for a second date. If you must
drink, stick with one beer or glass of wine.
Don't be afraid to end the date early. If things
aren't working out or you are uncomfortable, feel free to end the date at any