Matchmaking 101 - Office Hours with Lisa Clampitt

6 Tips to First Date Success

A couple enjoys their first date togetherSometimes, the hardest part about dating isn’t finding a date, but knowing what to do once you are on it. First dates can be especially tricky. Everyone feels nervous and worried about making a good impression.

After hearing thousands of dating stories, some more successful than others, I thought I’d share some top tips to ensure your first date goes smoothly, and that you make the best impression possible.

Tip 1: Lead With Confidence

Always look your best when you’re going on a date.  This may seem obvious to some, but you would be surprised! Wear something that you feel attractive and confident in, not just what you think your date wants to see you wear. Smile, make eye contact, and use open body language. Doing so will ensure your date sees your friendly and flirty personality. It will also reassure them that you are excited to be on the date.

Tip 2: Curiosity is Key

Do not, I REPEAT, do not monopolize the conversation and talk only about yourself. It is essential to lead with a sense of curiosity about the other person.  By focusing on asking questions, your date will feel flattered that you want to get to know them, and good about his/herself in return.

Tip 3: Skip The Interview Questions

You’ll get to topics like profession and family eventually, so on the first few dates have fun.

Contrary to popular belief, first dates do not have to feel like an interview! All it takes is a little extra thought behind the questions you ask.

An experiential or exciting question like, “What is the craziest thing that’s ever happened to you?” will show your date that you are not only curious about them, but also have bit of imagination. These kinds of questions will also lead to more interesting conversations. You’ll get to topics like profession and family eventually, so on the first few dates have fun. Spice it up a bit!

Tip 4: Observe and Compliment

Focus in on your date and pick something specific that you observe about them to compliment.  Doing so will prove that you are paying attention to them, and appreciate the effort they put into looking nice for your date.

Something as simple as, “I really love those shoes you are wearing tonight.” or, “That color looks really amazing on you!” can be a great way to connect and get a conversation flowing.

Tip 5: Observe and Ask

Making an observation and then following it up with a question is another great way to get conversation flowing, especially when you are feeling a bit nervous. It’s also a perfect way to engage with your date, and show them that you appreciate their thoughts and opinions. Here are a few observation/ask examples:

Observation: Your date picked the restaurant.

Ask: “Have you eaten here before?” or  “Do you have a favorite dish on the menu?”

Observation: Your date orders a glass of wine.

Ask: “Do you have a favorite type of wine?” or “Have you ever been wine tasting?”

Tip 6: Keep It Light

We’ve all read enough dating columns to know that politics, religion, and talking about your ex are date conversation no-no’s, but do you know why? It goes deeper than trying to avoid conversational conflict.

Ideally, you want the person you went out with to think back on the time they spent with you as being fun, exciting, and something they want to do again. You want them to think of you as an enjoyable person to be with, and as someone who made them feel good about themselves. If they connect you with positive feelings, then they will most likely want to see you again.

If you spend your date debating tough subjects like religious affiliation, or a bad break up, your date will think back on you in conjunction with those difficult topics. Even if they had a nice time with you, their brain may subconsciously push them towards not wanting to see you again because there is a negative experience attached to the date.

In the end it really comes down to having fun, focusing in on your date, and putting effort into getting to know them. Get out of your head, lead with a little bit of positive curiosity, treat your date the way you would want to be treated, and you will be well on your way to a successful dating experience!