in: Dating & Relationships

The Everything-You-Need-to-Know First Date Guide

There are so many things to keep track of on a first date. What to wear, where to go… not to mention: who to date. Don’t stress. We’ve got you covered in all the right places.

The Location

First and foremost, you should choose a neutral location; one that invites easy conversation and relaxed energy. Huge bonus if you can reduce your carbon footprint in the process.

Here are some reduced carbon footprint date ideas for two:

Keep it Local

Sure, you’ll more than likely go out in the city you live in, but I’m talking about where you go. Instead of a corporate chain try the home-town hipster-owned joint instead. For example, if you live in say, Denver, you can go to the Thin Man or PS Lounge for drinks instead of places like the Tavern.

Give Back

Or even better, do something for the area like volunteering at a community garden or animal shelter—fun, maybe even cute and totally helpful.

Get Your Bike On

Wherever the two of you decide to go, get there the environmentally-friendly way by biking or walking. Not only is it way more romantic it reduces your carbon footprint immensely.

—for more of Krystal Baugher’s date ideas, you can check out the rest of “How to Plan A Reduced Carbon Footprint Date for Two” here

The Conversation

Keep it light, but keep it honest. Need some help with conversation-driving questions? Remember to ask open-ended questions, not questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no.” Be sure to think outside the box, too.

Here are five fun questions that make for wonderfully revealing and rewarding conversations:

How do you spend your free time?

This simple question reveals a lot about a person. For example, if your date spends Sundays in the office, that’s an indication that work is a priority. If your date regularly trains for marathons, that’s indicates a big commitment to fitness. The key to mining good information from this question is to ask how your date spends the free time rather than how your date would like to spend free time. If he says he’d like to be studying for the GMATs but in reality he’s spending his free time playing video games, that’s a big reveal. It also helps to see if your free time is compatible.

What are your goals, passions and dreams?

Although this is a huge question, it’s an important one. What if the person has no goals, passions or dreams? Or, what if they don’t complement each other? For example, what if she is working toward a promotion that will entail logging in more hours at the office when her dream is to stay home with a family? This is like the “umbrella of life” question because it’s what drives people.

—for more of Amy Angelilli’s suggestions for get-to-know-you questions, check out “5 Memorable Questions to Ask on a First Date”

The Etiquette

Tips to Make Your First Dates Consistently Awesome

Be on time.

There is nothing sexy about someone who is late. A first date already has lots of anticipation whether you just met, have been emailing for a while online or it’s a blind date. It is common courtesy to be punctual for a first date, much less all meetings. If you have to be late, fire off a quick text, while not driving, that you will be late. This starts things off on the right foot.

Be vulnerable.

I used to have it all together. I would act like my life is perfect, and I was so great. Guess what? I would often hear from the men I went out with, You are really great on paper. You have everything I am looking for but… Oh, that “but” stung over and over again. The reason: I wasn’t able to share about things in my life that I was looking to improve, or mistakes I’d made. You don’t want to drop a ton of heavy things on someone, but sharing from your heart provides a quicker connection. Otherwise, the conversation remains superficial and boring, and you may miss that possible connection.

—for further reading, Suzanne Muller-Heinz offers more suggestions in “A Crash Course in First Date Etiquette”

The No-No’s

While insulting your date or proposing sex over dinner seem like obvious no-no’s, there can be some gray areas in what is acceptable and what is not.

For the Men: 

Talking about all your ex’s and all the things they did wrong.

You never want to leave her wondering if any woman could ever please you and your impossibly high standards. If you’ve been serially cheated on or involved with negative partners and only negative partners, you’re unconsciously introducing negativity to a happy and casual first date experience. Plus, it’s just classier to leave your exes where they belong: in the past. Be positive!

For the Ladies: 

Forgetting to keep the alcohol to a minimum.

There’s nothing wrong with a microbrew or a whiskey, but keep the drink tab lower than your food tab. Don’t overindulge because you’re nervous or having a good time. Everything could go from relaxed and care free to yelling, “I can’t find my shoes” in the parking lot. First impressions are all you have during a first date and getting hammered probably won’t leave the most amazing imprint in his memory. For your safety you should have your wits about you. He is technically a stranger or someone new that you’re getting to know better.

—Kyriel Manzo created a fun, comprehensive guide for the ladies and the fellas (you’re welcome). 

The Bill

The date goes surprising well and then the bomb… err.. check is dropped. Save yourself from the awkward moment before it even starts.

Sarah Frost thinks there needs to be some guidelines when it comes to splitting the bill—or not, of course.

Pay Attention:

I think you must definitely read your date’s actions and personality before suggesting it. I think it could easily offend someone without meaning to. Perhaps that’s why I would sometimes rather just pay the bill (I hate confrontation and awkwardness).

Consider Holding Off:

One solution for this social stressor? Going Dutch can be something that’s saved for a little while later—when we’re further into our new relationships. Perhaps it’s best if one person picks up the tab for the first few outings. I’m not saying the same one person—just a singular person. If your new date bought the last dinner, offer to pick up the next. It’s the polite thing to do.

—to read the rest of Sarah’s take on “Going Dutch,” check out her article here

The Most Important Rule (pssst… it’s ‘be yourself’)

Did you hear about the girl who lived happily ever after all because of her shitty car? No? Well then…

After dinner, he walked me to my car but when we got there, he froze. He stuttered through a form of ‘I had a great time,’ we hugged clumsily, and I got in my car. This all seemed normal to me; saying goodbye on a first date is rarely a slick thing.

Little did I know that by the time dinner ended, he had decided we probably weren’t going to work out. Why? Because when I described myself and my family, he saw me as out of his league. When I described my past and my career, he decided he couldn’t give me what I wanted in life. But, when he saw my car, every assumption he had about me was called into question.

—to read the rest of Sunna von Christierson’s delightful story, click here

The Followup

You survived! The date was killer, the bill’s been paid, you showed that honey the very best of you. Now what?

History has led us to believe that there is a formula to the timing of text messaging. Many of us have a vague recollection of someone we think we scared off with too much attention too soon or a person we ourselves rebuffed for being a bit thirsty. These are situations of the past. Fear not, I will provide you with the perfect solution to your texting woes that works differently yet exceptionally in every situation.

The perfect time to text is when you feel like texting. Trust your instincts.

I often hear people describe dating as exhausting and stressful. And this is before they actually go on the date. This can often be the case because people feel as if they need to be on their best behavior.

Your date wants to get to know you, not the version of you that just graduated from charm school. Trying to anticipate the right thing to do is exhausting and impossible. You will never know what someone else is thinking. The only feelings you can be certain of are your own. 

—“How Soon Should I Text After a First Date” is one of our most popular posts of all time; check out the read the rest of Dominique Howard’s “new rule book” here

[image: via shutterstock]

About the Author:


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