by Alicia Watanabe - resident dating expert
First dates are hard. Not everyone is as smooth as George Clooney, or as witty and elegant as Emma Watson. No matter how many first dates you've been on, nervousness and a few simple mistakes can still stop you from being the best you on the day.
Luckily, we're here to help.
While we can't completely get rid of those pesky stomach butterflies, we can at least help guide you in the right direction. We have compiled a list of simple do's and don'ts that should help make your date feel more like the nice romantic bits in the movie Titanic, as opposed to ending up like the actual Titanic, with all the sinking and people dying and stuff.
1. Do... make sure you pick a good location
As my Real Estate agent told me when I signed my lease for my overly priced rental, location is everything. Selecting a restaurant with a view or a fantastic must try dish will give your date something to remember - other than that winning smile of yours of course.
One tip though - don't forget to choose a place that you know you will enjoy as well. The last thing you want is to be uncomfortable, or to look utterly bored. If art isn't your thing, maybe skip the Museum of Contemporary Art. Not really a foodie? Maybe hold off on the Michelin star restaurants and try something more casual. The idea here is, if you're enjoying yourself, maybe your date will too.
but... don't forget to book!
Have you chosen a restaurant that has the best handmade pasta in Sydney? If so, you may want to book ahead.
Also, and this is an obvious one here, but don't be late! This goes for both meeting your date and your booking. First impressions count and being late shows you lack consideration for the other person's time. To quote the great Albert Einstein, 'not cool bro, not cool'.
2. Do... dress for the occasion
Sure, you're beautiful on the inside and that's what counts, but making a bit of effort with your clothing can really help. If you look good you also feel confident.
Make sure you're considering the date spot that you're going to as well. That suit might make you look like James Bond but it may not be appropriate for indoor rock climbing. Being under or over dressed can be a real confidence killer, especially when you are meeting someone for the first time.
but... don't over forget to be comfortable!
I know those five-inch heels make you look like a goddess, but the excruciating pain you'll feel wearing them while strolling along the harbour foreshore may dull the romance for you just a tiny bit. Wearing comfortable clothing means there is one less thing you have to worry about on the day. You should look and feel fabulous.
One tip - If you are really having trouble picking out your outfit, one tip is to ask a friend of the opposite sex to give you feedback.
3. Do... ask your date questions about themselves
We get it, you're absolutely amazing and you simply must tell the world. But if you don't let your date get a word in, you may never get a chance to show them how amazing you actually are. People love to talk about themselves, so why not give them the opportunity to? Sometimes we forget that the main reason why we have first dates is to get to know the other person - and you can't do that if you are the only one speaking. Ask them what their passions are and you will see even the shyest person open up.
but... don't forget to pay attention and listen!
Just asking questions is not enough, you have to listen too. One of my pet peeves is when a date asks me the same question he has asked me previously - it shows me that he doesn't really care about what I am saying.
Also, you may have supernatural multitasking powers but if you're looking up bitcoin prices while your date is telling you their life story, they may feel a little disrespected. Keep your mobile phone in your pocket or purse and be in the moment.
4. Do... show politeness and consideration to your date
A little politeness can go a long way, especially when people are still forming their first opinions of you. Stay off your phone and pay attention to your date, and don't be afraid to show a few old-school manners. Often what is described as charm is simply someone showing a higher level of respect to the person in front of them.
Being considerate also applies to respecting people's boundaries. Don't be too touchy, or ask inappropriate questions that your date may be uncomfortable answering.
but... don't forget to show that same consideration to others
While being polite to your date should be a given, don't forget to also show consideration to others around you as well. If a waiter is late with food, be kind - don't bite their head off. The way you treat others reflects on you. Being nasty is definitely a mood killer.
5. Do... be honest and genuine
Be real and genuine. There is no need to impress by pretending to be someone you are not. If you're hoping for a second or third date, your façade will eventually slip. Just be you.
but... don't reveal your deepest darkest secrets (or talk about your exes)
Also, no ex-talk, under any circumstances. Your date is about the two of you, leave your other baggage at home. Put yourself in your date's shoes - would you want to hear all the gory relationship details of their last break up?
6. Do... relax, and enjoy yourself
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself. Even if you don't end up being a perfect match, it doesn't preclude you both from still have a great night out. Enjoy the food, the movie, the cocktails - the more you relax the better the chance of you both having a memorable night.
but... don't get go overboard with the drinks!
Remember the advice about being polite and considerate? That usually all goes out the window if you get sloshed before your entree comes out. It's pretty safe to assume that most people can be at least slight assholes when inebriated. Handle your drink, don't order too much, and if you see your date heading in that direction - don't be an ass and let it happen. Suggest that they drink a bit of water and slow them down.
7. Do... ask for a second date
Has your date gone well? Don't leave it too long to ask if you can see them again. And if they say no, well at least you know where you stand. Even if you think the date has not gone well and you are still interested, you may be surprised by their response. This goes for both men and women by the way. Not all men have supreme confidence, so if you really want to see that guy again, don't be afraid to ask to see them out on that second date.
but... don't disrespect your dates personal space
If they do say no, take it in your stride and move on. Not everyone is perfect fit for you - there are plenty more people out there waiting for you to adventure with. The last thing you want to do is be harassing someone.
Also, at the end of the date, be careful when saying goodbye. Not all people are comfortable with hugging on a first date, let alone a first kiss or more. Guys, please be respectful and don't force anything, especially if it seems like feelings are not being reciprocated. Don't be that guy!
So there you have it, a short list of advice that may help you on a first date. If you are looking for someone to adventure with in Sydney, why no try PIK, our dating app that matches people based on interesting places they want to go.
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