The Definitive Guide to the First Date

Whether you’ve managed to get this first date after meeting a girl at the bar or whether you’ve dropped one of our many Tinder openers, congrats man! I’m about to give you all the advice you’ll need to stop you from screwing things up before you even begin.

I’ve written this post to give you some first date advice. I’ve dated a lot and it hasn’t always been plain sailing. I’m here to take the “learning from your mistakes” out of the equation for you.

How to nail the first date…

Before I’m accused of misleading, the title is metaphorical. I’m not about to write a guide on how to bed your date at the first attempt, let’s be gentlemen about this shall we? The aim of the first date isn’t to sleep with her, in fact quite the opposite. I assume you’re dating her because you like her and see potential there, if this does have the potential to go somewhere, why would you screw it up by trying to sleep with her right away?

Let me tell you now, if you try to bed her and fail, she’ll think you’re a sleaze. If you do succeed then you’ll think she’s easy. It’s a lose lose situation guys! If you are just after a quick lay then go and read my Ultimate Guide to Tinder, I’m sure there are plenty of women that are interested in doing just that on the app.

Those of you that are still with me, let me take you through the do’s and don’ts of the first date!

1st date objectives (or goals if you prefer)

“Objectives? It’s a date, what do you mean objectives?!”

I know, I know, it sounds stupid but hear me out.

We are trying to achieve something on the first date. You’ve asked a girl out for the first time and whilst that’s incredibly good news, there are a few things you should want to get out of the first date.

Getting to know her better

So the first one is as simple as asking the right questions about her. You’ll no doubt have been speaking to her before now so dig deeper into some of the things she’s shared with you previously. You’ll be able to gauge her reactions to things better in the flesh and this will allow you to work out how important things are to her. Don’t make it all a one-way street though, answer questions from her honestly and if the opportunity arises to mention your experiences of something she brings up then share it.

Is there any chemistry between you?

Chemistry is a funny thing. It’s immeasurable and so is purely based on how you feel. It is very difficult to judge on a first date, there are usually increased nerves and people aren’t always themselves. That being said, if it just doesn’t feel right then when you know you know.

If you’re flirting with her and there’s no response or her answers to your questions are short and offering little opportunity to continue the conversation then it’s not a good sign. On the flip side, if she’s laughing and smiling a lot then not only does she seem interested in you but you’ll find it easier to be yourself.

Have fun!

This is so important when on a first date. I see so many people choosing the wrong venue or activity for a first date and it just makes things so much harder. Think hard about the goals we’ve touched on previously and consider what kind of date would make achieving those easier. Which brings me on nicely to…

Where to go on a first date

Having thought about where you might be able to go to get to know her better AND have fun, I’m hoping you ruled out the movies. This is the mistake I see so frequently and I just don’t get it, you can’t talk during the movie, at least not without pissing off everyone else in the movie theater, and so you can’t get everything you want out of the date. Here are the things I recommend instead.

My top 5 first date ideas

(1st) first date walk in the park

1) Coffee and a stroll at the park

Sure, you could sit inside a coffee shop and make conversation but where’s your sense of adventure? Grab a coffee each and then go and see the great outdoors. If there’s no park nearby then just take a walk around the neighborhood, you’ll still see things or people that will provoke more conversation that you’d get by sat indoors the whole time.

Tip: Pick up a snack with your coffee so you’re less likely to have to break off early for food (or plan to grab some together afterwards if all goes well!). Also, try and pick a park or neighborhood that neither of you know well, this make it feel like more of an adventure.

(1st) first date 3 course meal

2) Have a 3-course meal but at different places!

This is a personal favourite of mine because I’m so indecisive with where I prefer to eat. There’s nothing worse that being stuck in the same restaurant for hours making conversation. This solution means that you pick three different places to eat a single course at. Sounds weird? Well just try it first! The time between restaurants gives you a little break from the intensity of the first date dinner setting and lightens the mood as you walk to the next location or grab a cab together.

Tip: Mix up the cuisines so that you get a nice variety of food, not only does this show that you enjoy different foods but the concept displays a fun and exciting side.

(1st) first date trip to the zoo

3) Go to the Zoo

Who doesn’t love the zoo?! They’re awesome and bring out the child in you. With a huge selection of animals to see and so many people to watch, topics of conversation will come easily and flow naturally. The relaxed atmosphere at the zoo will surely break down any barriers usually in place on a first date. Have some fun and don’t be afraid to act the clown should the opportunity arise.

Tip: Ask her if there are any animals that she’s afraid of so you can avoid them!

(1st) first date bowling

4) Go Bowling

There’s nothing quite like an accessible sport to break the ice without breaking a sweat. You don’t have to be a pro to enjoy bowling, it’s great fun at all levels. With the clown shoes and beer on tap, it really is a recipe for a fun time.

Tip: Be sure to laugh at just how bad you are and she’ll see that you’re a cool guy that doesn’t take himself too seriously.

(1st) first date shooting pool in the bar

5) Go to a bar for drinks and games

In this day and age, there’s really no need to go to a bar and sit awkwardly over the table from someone you hardly know. Mix it up a little and take her to a bar with a pool table and a dart board. Similarly to bowling, having fun playing (or at least attempting to play) a game is a great ice breaker and gives you far more to talk about that just the obvious personal stuff.

Tip: Try not to get so drunk you make a fool of yourself. A good plan is to drink at the same pace as her, that way you’ll likely be more sober than her throughout.

Don’t forget to read: The only 51 date ideas you’ll ever need

What to wear on a first date

If you’re following my advice so far then you’ll probably guess that I’m not about to suggest you wear your best suit for the first date. This is for two reasons:

  1. You don’t want to seem pretentious
  2. A suit probably isn’t the most suitable clothing for most of the above

My advice is to keep it smart casual. Don’t wear the jeans you’ve had on all week but by all means wear a clean pair. Go for that or a smart pair of pants.

As for your top half, I find a plain white tee works well with jeans but if you’re going for pants then pull out a nice shirt to go with them. Try and keep the shirt understated guys, sometimes less is more!

Footwear is equally important, don’t spoil your outfit by wearing your scuffed sneakers! Ever heard the saying “You can judge a man by the shoes he wears”? Yeah, that’s a thing. Bring out a comfortable pair of shoes, ones that you can comfortably walk in for hours, but make sure they’re clean!

Most importantly, wear an outfit that fits nicely. Pass on the baggy shirt or jeans, you want to look good even if we are keeping it on the casual side. Well fitting clothes is a style in itself but so many get it wrong. First impressions are everything and if she thinks you look scruffy then it doesn’t start things off in the way that you want.

What to talk about on a first date

Knowing what to say on a first date can be a stressful ordeal. You want to avoid any awkward silences and you don’t want to ask her anything that she might get offended by.

If you’re on any of the dates suggested above then you’ll find the topics of conversation will be determined by your surroundings, but if not then here’s a few ideas of what you should and shouldn’t discuss on your first date!

Top 5 best conversation topics for a first date

Here are a few ideas on what to discuss to get the conversation flowing early on. Don’t forget, she’ll ask you plenty too and this isn’t an exhaustive list but this will get you started.

Her career – What does she do? How long has she been doing it?

Traveling – Has she traveled anywhere cool recently? Does she have any trips planned? Where?

School / College – Where did she go? What was her major?

TV or Movies – What kind or TV or movies is she into? Is she watching anything good at the moment or seen any good movies lately? Are there any movies that she’d like to go and see? (Potential for another date…)

Music – What music does she like? Has she been to any concerts before/lately? Are there any bands or artists that she’d really love to see? (Another date idea…)

Bad conversation topics for a first date

I’m putting this here just as a reminder of some seemingly obvious things to avoid. Don’t fall into the trap of even considering bring this stuff up, at least not on the first date!

Ex boyfriends – Don’t, under any circumstances, ask about her ex! She doesn’t want to be reminded about the douche bags she has been with and the reasons for those relationships ending. It’s just not worth it.

Ex girlfriends – I shouldn’t even need to say it but for all that is holy, please don’t bring up your ex girlfriends. She doesn’t want to hear about her, if you’re criticizing your ex then she’ll think you have no respect for women and would do the same to her. If you’re talking positively about your ex then obviously she’s going to be unimpressed.

Bad habits – Do you really want to know? What are you hoping to achieve? She’s unlikely to be amused about you even asking quite honestly… Just don’t do it!

How long since you last had sex – I can’t think of a situation where this would ever be a good idea. If it’s been a really long time then it sounds sad and she might think you’re bad at sex but if it’s really recent then she’ll just think you’re a player

Kids – Whether you want them or not, talking about having kids on the first date is a big no no. This is something best saved for months later as you just never know what her reaction will be.

How to end a first date

So you’ve had a great time together (or not – either way this still applies) and now you’re ready to wrap things up and head off. Start by telling her you’ve had a great time, possibly drop in that you’d like to do it again sometime but don’t let it linger for a response, you don’t want her to feel uncomfortable if she’s unsure about a second date. You can then follow up by asking what she has planned for the rest of the week or weekend and make a subtle hint at getting ready to go.

Now, depending on her method of transport you should do one of the following:

  • Walk her to her car
  • Flag down a cab for her
  • Walk her to the bus stop
  • Walk her to the metro station

You see the common theme right? You’re being a gentlemen and ensuring she gets back safely. Make sure you ask her to drop you a text/message when she gets home too.

Should I kiss her?

The short answer is no, at least not properly. However, it really does depend on the mood. She may be willing to go all out with the kiss but it’s often dangerous to assume. Take the gentlemen stance and just move in for a kiss on the cheek, re-iterate that you had a good time and that she was good company.

My 8 top 1st date tips

To increase your chances of making a great first impression, follow these 8 top tips and you won’t go far wrong.

Offer to pick her up

If you arrange to meet somewhere then get there 15 minutes early

Stand up to greet her

Greet her with a kiss on the cheek

Compliment her right away

Pick up the bill (yes, that’s still the right thing to do!)

Keep swearing to an absolute minimum

Don’t stare at her boobs or ass

The text after the first date

There is a lot of outdated advice on what to do following the first date. Most of it eludes to essentially ignoring her for up to 3 days… Why?! In an age of modern technology and instant access to all but the most obscure of things, not sending her a text for days after your date is only going to give her doubts as to whether you’re interested.

I personally wait around 24 hours, sometimes less but always the following day. It’s nice to just text her to let her know that you had a great time again and that you’d like to do it again sometime. Check in how she is and how work is and make reference to anything she told you she was doing at the end of your date (remember that?).

Once the conversation is flowing again, ask her out again. I usually go for one date each week as a general rule but if she says she is free sooner then by all means go for it and good luck!
There you have it, my complete guide to successfully negotiating the tricky first date! I’ll be posting my guide to second dates soon enough and when it’s up I’ll link to it here.

Happy Dating,

The Frequent Dater

P.S Don’t forget to read: The only 51 date ideas you’ll ever need

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