First dates can be daunting; they’re fraught with expectation and the fragile hope that this time, you’ve met ‘the one’. You always head into a first date secretly hoping that this will be your last ever first date. The ‘rules’ of attraction are mysterious and complex – a convergence of right time, right place, right person. We all fear making a fool of ourselves on a first date. What if we crack an awkward joke or babble nervously about nothing? What if we laugh too much? What if we forget to laugh? While the rules may be abstract, there are a few concrete tips you can take with you on your next first date.
Get in the game
Ladies, statistically men make up their mind about a second date during the initial fifteen minutes of a first date, so it’s a good idea to be up front and engaging from the outset. Gentleman, you have a little bit more leeway, with women taking up to an hour to make an initial judgment on your longer term potential. This means if you drop the proverbial dating ball at the beginning of the date, you have three more quarters to lift your game. Unfortunately ladies, you won’t be so lucky, so do your best to score your ‘points’ early in the date. Scoring impression points doesn’t mean faking it! Always be authentic and genuine.
Men are visually stimulated and appearances count; however ladies, that doesn’t mean you need to look like you’ve just stepped off the catwalk. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder and it’s all about personal preference. In fact, in a recent survey, the first thing 70% of men noticed about a woman was her eyes, followed by her smile and coming in at a paltry third place, her breasts. Play it smart and work with the facts; making eye contact projects confidence and smiling makes your date feel more comfortable, which should ease the tension and release the flow of conversation. Interestingly, women are more critical than men when it comes to assessing the appearance of other women, so it’s logical to extrapolate that women are more critical of appearances in general. So, gentlemen, take extra care with the details – tuck in that shirt, trim your facial hair and wear the right amount of cologne (less is more). However, remembering that you have up to an hour to make that first impression count, you may be able to dazzle your way out of an ugly shirt with your wit and charm!
Once you’re in the game, remember to be yourself. If you have tattoos, don’t cover them up because you’re afraid of what your date might think. Dress to impress – yourself first and your date second. Be true to your personal sense of style and identity and try not to think about dressing or acting for someone else’s tastes. Like it or not, we humans favour snap judgments; we tend to quickly tag and categorise people. When describing how your date went to a friend, you’ll likely use a few key phrases. And likewise, your date will reduce you to a few key descriptors; most will be based on physical appearance, unless you give them something else to remember about you. Your online profile probably has a key phrase like ‘doctor from Christchurch, keen game fisher, scotch drinker, father of two’ or ‘accountant, pilates enthusiast, raw foodie, lover of pugs’. Think about how you’d like to be remembered by your date – what are the key attributes you want them to take away to describe you to their friends? Perhaps it’s your smile, your intellect, your humour, your love of travel or your political views. Choose conversation topics and body language that show off these key attributes for the best chance of making a positive impression on your date. Let your personality do the talking.
Yes, we know that this is more easily said than done but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to make the date ‘perfect’. Have confidence in yourself, relax into conversation and enjoy meeting someone new. You never know, you may be on your last ever first date.