The rules of seduction remain an enigma to many – because they don't exist. On a first date, there is no magic spell to guarantee success and a second encounter.
Nonetheless, some tricks of the trade do work, whereas other parts of first-date etiquette are just textbook errors…
With a little thoughtfulness, imagination and confidence – alongside these simple strategies and ideas – you can effortlessly ace the first date, and leave with sure-fire plans for the second.
Here are our 15 tips that will help you have a great first date and land the elusive second:
- Prepare your date – If you want to keep the plans a surprise, at least clue in your date as to what to wear. There is nothing worse than being under or over-dressed. Turning up to a dive bar in a ball gown never goes down well and neither do jeans at the opera.
- Take pride in your appearance – Whether or not your date can imagine kissing you plays a huge role in her perception of you…and in how the date develops. White teeth, fresh breath, great shoes and unchapped lips all go a long way towards giving that all important good first impression… Generally, just try to look attractive.
- Give a compliment – It’s simple, it’s important, it works! If your date looks good, tell them. Don't go overboard though, as you'll sound insincere or low-value at best and just plain creepy at worst.
- Keep the conversation original and interesting – Do not just talk to your date about work and her music tastes. If she's ever been on a date before in her life, then she's already had these conversations on dates before. Be bold, be different.
- Be positive – Don’t bash your ex, complain about things that are wrong in your life (how your parents never loved you) or tell your entire life story. Appearing baggage-heavy is an immediate turn-off, and can make the date incredibly uncomfortable.
- Don't get too personal – You don’t need to grill your date on her deepest, darkest secrets in order to appear interested. Make eye-contact, smile, and be engaging in your conversation. These things are attractive without being overwhelming. Assessing your long-term compatibility can wait. If you decide to continue seeing one another there will be plenty of time to delve deeper. BUT you need to flirt a little and have fun or you'll never get to that stage!
- Know your body language – If she touches your arm you know she’s probably interested. When she touches your leg you know she’s probably ready to make it a late night. And leaning away is a textbook bad sign. Waiting the extra 30 seconds at a slight distance after dropping your date off at her place shows you’d like to do more, but would not dream of pushing it. It shows respect, concern for her safety, but also a (very complimentary) sexual attraction. If you don’t already know your body language, start learning it.
- No wandering eyes – Guys, never look at another woman when you are on a date. If she catches you, it’s over before it even started. Definitely.
- Be yourself – As long as your online profile was not a pack of lies, this shouldn’t be tough. After all, if things progress, this is the only person you can be in the long run. You may as well let your date see what is to come. There's a big difference between putting in the extra effort and trying too hard to impress. Don't try and be someone you're not.
- Slow down – If you talk too excitedly, you'll come across as nervous. Slow your speech down so that you don't hurry your words and appear more in control. You'll come across with the most attractive of attributes: confidence.
- Relax – If you're having fun, let it show! Crack a smile, laugh, but don't force it (save the fake laughter for the first time you meet the parents). You'll alleviate the first-date tension, making you both feel more comfortable.
- Listen to your date – Open your ears and let her finish when she speaks! You don't have to agree with everything she says. It's good to challenge someone, but don’t be confrontational. Question things that don’t sound right, have a two-sided conversation and catch yourself if you find yourself talking at – rather than to – your date. No one likes being lectured.
- Don’t force the issue – Acting like a horny teenager with one thing on your mind is not likely to get you very far. You are both adults, so just enjoy getting to know each other and see how it goes.
- Tip well – No one likes a cheapskate.
- Follow up – If things went well, call your date the next night. Better yet, ask her out as you are parting, giving something to look forward to before she has a chance to reflect on the first date. Do not wait; do not play games.
Just relax and remember: even if you do not come away with a second hot date organized, this is all practice and practice makes perfect. As you get better and better at dating, your first impression rating will soar through the roof and you’ll see that more and more of your dates will be interested in taking things further.