Monday, July 22, 2024

First-Date Tips, According to Dating Experts

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Nothing quite conjures up a more unique, diverse group of feelings and emotions than a first date. As the first official meeting between you and a potential new partner, a first date means impressions are of the utmost importance. And while you don’t have to be entirely perfect, it still doesn’t hurt to put your best foot forward.

When it comes to the highly anticipated, yet nerve-racking occasion, there are what seem like an infinite amount of factors to consider. You have to come up with a fun date idea, some first-date questions, think about what to wear, and assess how you feel about a first-date kiss. These are just some of the thoughts that may be swirling before you take the leap and meet up with a romantic prospect for the first time.

If you’re experiencing first-date jitters and need a little guidance on navigating the dating world, PS spoke to two relationship experts to provide first-date tips to help calm your anxieties below.

Experts Featured in This Article

Maria Sullivan is a dating expert and vice president of

Shan Boodram is a sexologist and relationship expert.

First-Date Tips

1. Ensure Your Safety

When embarking on your first date, safety should always be a main priority, especially if you met on a dating app. While you have to be a little trusting of the stranger you’re going on a date with, you also want to ensure you’re protecting yourself in the process. Before you set foot out of the house, share your plans with friends, family, or anyone else you’re close to.

“When going out on a first date, let one or more friends know when and where you are going and all of the information you have about your date like their name, where they work, and what neighborhood they live in,” dating expert Maria Sullivan says.

Additionally, you can add an extra layer of safety to your first date by getting your own transportation to and from the date and meeting in a public location. Relationship expert Shan Boodram recommends places like coffee shops, restaurants, or well-populated parks to ensure your well-being. “The important thing is to tell a friend or trusted contact where you are meeting ahead of time,” Boodram adds, “and make sure it is a location you feel comfortable.”

2. Don’t Overthink Your Outfit

Finding the perfect outfit for a first date can undoubtedly be an ordeal. While it’s important to put effort into your attire, don’t get consumed by the pressure to put together a show-stopping outfit. Instead, select something you feel good in. “Everything on a first date should be viewed from the lens of ‘this is a chance to get to know me,'” Boodram notes. “Pick clothes that help tell your story or, even better, offer natural prompts for you to tell interesting anecdotes like a bracelet you got while traveling.”

3. Ditch the Small Talk

While small talk can help break the awkward silence between coworkers or lighten a tense mood in an uncomfortable situation, it’s not ideal for a first date. When you’re meeting a date for the first time, it’s best to get past the superficiality of small talk and dig deeper into who a person truly is. Take advantage of that, and leave the weather conversations or news discussions off the table.

Instead, engage in first-date questions that will showcase personality and background. “Feel free to ask about their hobbies, how they like to spend their time, what they do for work, and what their favorite TV shows or movies are,” Sullivan suggests. Sullivan also recommends posing different questions about their family and where they grew up to further dive into their background and maybe even identify what you might have in common.

4. Don’t Let the Bill Intimidate You

When the dreaded bill lands on the table, try not to get too puzzled about making the “right” move. Communication is key when it comes to handling the bill, so try to be flexible if either you or your date are discussing possibly covering the entire outing or if you’d like split it evenly. “One safe bet is to always expect going into a date that you will pay for yourself,” Boodram recommends. “If you are happy to split the bill or would like to treat the other person, feel confident in vocalizing that ahead of time to eliminate any awkwardness when the bill comes.”

5. Think Before You Kiss

Making the move to kiss is probably one of the biggest first-date conundrums. Ultimately, the decision to kiss while on a first date boils down to whether or not the situation feels right. “There is nothing wrong with sharing a kiss on the first date if you feel comfortable and inclined to do so, and it is actually a great way to tell if there is a ‘spark’ between you and your potential partner,” Sullivan says.

However, if things seem off, or your date hasn’t been very touchy or showing signs of interest, don’t feel like you have to make a move. Boodram says consent is major when it comes to a first kiss, so don’t be afraid to ask beforehand. Additionally, reading body language is key, so double check the situation before you make the move. “If you’ve been mutually and consensually touching, leaning into one another, exchanging words of affirmations, and discussing future dates, going for a kiss is likely the move!”

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