How to make a great first impression on your first date

Do you cringe at the prospect of a first date? Do you feel embarrassed when you recall the last one? If this is the case, you are not alone. Most people do not find dating easy and straightforward.

We put together a basic list of things that will help you make a great first impression on your fist date, and hopefully it will make your first date memorable in a good way without any embarrassment.

How to dress

Never forget the basics, but overdoing it is unnecessary. On a first date, all the usual rules to look presentable apply. You don’t necessarily have to get your hair professionally groomed or wear designer clothing. Looking presentable will usually be enough. Stressing out about your appearance too much before a date may make things worse, so it’s best to land somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.

How to get the conversation going

See the date as an opportunity to get to know someone, and act accordingly. Asking people questions about themselves creates a good impression under most other circumstances, and the same rules apply here. There’s no special social code to dating, whether it’s online dating or anything else. People usually relax around each other when they’re given an opportunity to share things about themselves, and it can help avoid awkward silences.

It’s normal to be a little nervous

Try to avoid getting overly fixated on the little things that happen during the evening. People who are nervous can usually transmit those feelings to others very quickly, but most people get nervous on their first dates. Your dates will probably forgive little nervous social lapses if they are reasonable people, especially since they will want you to do the same thing for them. It is better to let the conversation proceed naturally and try to establish an organic rapport with someone than try to manipulate the outcome. Bonding with someone takes time, and forcing the bonding process will usually cause more harm than good. If you try to relax and let the conversation happen, you will be that much more likely to enjoy it.

Offer to split the check or pay for the date

Offer to split the check when the bill arrives, or offer to pay if applicable. Most people will appreciate the gesture, whether they want to pay for the date or not. Almost everyone has a different idea about a long-term paying system, with some couples alternating paying for dates and some couples choosing a system based on income or other factors. On the first date, it sends a good message if you are at least willing to offer assistance. Offering to split the check or pay in full establishes that you are polite, and enhances other efforts in that direction.

Make conversation that is not overly personal

Try to ask questions that are reasonable as well as interesting, but not overly personal. People will usually offer personal details if they want to, and that’s normally an easy way to establish rapport with someone. Asking people about their families is usually fine, but any question that would be awkward to ask at a dinner party is often too awkward to ask on a first date, unless the other person gives you some other indication. Asking people about their hobbies and interests is a quick way to bond with someone, often without bringing up potentially sensitive and uncomfortable issues.

Out of nervousness, many people will often act differently on a first date than they would under normal circumstances, but most of the rules that get you through life will get you through a first date.