So, you’ve successfully moved past the friendly introductions phase and wooed her with your witty banter well enough to secure a first date. Well done! Now what? How will you prepare? And are there any rules you ought to abide by? You bet.
But don’t worry, these dating tips aren’t drawn from mind games, power struggles or other mind-numbingly basic psychology hacks. Throw all that old stuff out and test drive these tried-and-true methods proven to elevate your first date, remove the stress, and offer both parties a genuinely good time.
After all, this could potentially be your first date with your next long-term girlfriend (or even wife, if the cards are right), so you’re going to want to make a good impression. Here’s how to lead the interaction in your favor by avoiding these four common first-date mistakes:
Mistake #1: Going In With Any Set Expectations
Have you ever worked up an ideal outcome in your mind ahead of an event, and then been let down because things didn’t go as planned? Who hasn’t, right? By developing preconceived notions for how an event or interaction “should” go, not only do you set yourself up for disappointment, you also often miss out on other present opportunities that you didn’t anticipate.
As far as dating goes, film and television scenes have led us to believe that if a first date doesn’t end up in some hot, casual rolling-around-in-the-sheets action, it was a flop. But you know what? That’s not real life. People are people, and each person is different. I want you to ditch any sort of expectation you have around how your first date should go — particularly, how it should play out at the end of the night.
Instead, focus on being yourself, being friendly and being fully present with your date. Try to release your nerves and any pressure to impress. You’re just hanging out with another person, not addressing the nation on live TV! Who cares if you act a fool or turn her off? This is a first date. It’s supposed to be enjoyable, it’s not supposed to feel like a job interview or audition. Just go into the date to have fun and get to know her better.
If she doesn’t like you or it doesn’t last? No biggie. The point of dating is to weed out the false connections so you can hone in over time on the women who do like you (and who you like back). I laugh at the YouTube videos of guys trying to psychologically trick women into liking them, lusting for them, and all of that disingenuous bs. It’s not that complicated.
Just be yourself. You don’t want to enter into what could potentially be a long-term relationship on false pretenses or by being someone you’re not. Dating should be fun. You don’t need another chore, right? Don’t make it stressful. JUST HAVE FUN.
Mistake #2: Looking Like Crap
Look man, you need to look good. Do you have any idea how much time, energy, and money women spend to show up to a date looking nice? You owe it to her to show that you cared enough to try. I’m not saying that you should max out a credit card at Neiman Marcus.
I’m simply saying: put on some clean clothes that are wrinkle-free and don’t smell like a gym bag. Brush your hair and ensure your breath doesn’t smell like an Italian restaurant’s back-alley dumpster. If you are sporting a scraggly beard that looks like a teenager trying (but failing) to look cool, shave that.
Women want their men clean, looking crisp, and smelling nice. I’d go so far as to argue that women typically prefer polished, put-together, respectable-looking men over uber-fit or ultra-rich guys. So, present yourself as if you respect yourself, otherwise — she will not respect you.
Women are generally much more attuned to aesthetics and scent than men are, so unless you want to turn her off right out the gate, make sure you show up looking (and smelling) like you give a damn. This doesn’t take a large wallet to achieve, just a little pre-date due diligence.
Mistake #3: Exposing Poor Form Or Bad Manners
Somewhere along the way, it became “cool” for a dude to seem aloof, superior or sport bad manners in dating scenarios. I’m not sure where this poor form sprang from, but let me tell you, good manners, kindness and decency go a long way with a woman. There are several simple things you can do on a date to show your respect for others (including your date and yourself), such as:
- Say “please” and “thank you” to her, to the waitstaff and to others you encounter
- Listen to her — for the love of God, do not interrupt her!
- Show genuine interest in her conversation
- Ask deeper questions to learn more about her
- Show up clean and presentable (re: Mistake #2)
- Be kind to her — otherwise, just cancel the date now
- Ignore your phone (keep it in your pocket for the duration, ideally)
- Did I mention don’t check your phone?
- Don’t check your phone.
Remember, while you’re approaching the date without an expected outcome (re: Mistake #1), you never know how this interaction can/will evolve or what role this person could eventually play in your life. Even if the chemistry isn’t there, she could still easily become a best friend, creative partner or meaningful business contact. BE NICE.
Mistake #4: Jumping Into Bed Right Away (Trust Me)
Listen. If you’re only going on dates because you just want to score some sex, I’m not sure why you’ve read this far into the article. There are apps for that, and candidly, I’m not about that life. My goal is to help good men find great girlfriends they can partner with and mutually add value to one another’s lives and goals.
If that’s the kind of connection you are looking for, you need to get to know this girl as a person before you do the deed. Sleeping with someone before you’ve organically reached that point in the relationship just invites more complication than you can quantify.
Plus, by rushing physical intimacy before you truly know or understand your partner, you risk ruining what could have been a very fruitful friendship. Yup, I said it — your girlfriend will end up being your best friend. And you don’t develop a friendship by slapping skins. You build a friendship over time by getting to know someone for who they truly are.
I can’t tell you how many men I’ve coached who ended up in horrible breakups with girls they swore were “amazing at first.” The reason these relationships started out so strong but ended in catastrophe is because they leaned into the lust of it all instead of laying a foundation of shared interests, intellect, energies, and beliefs.
A romping relationship may feel fantastic at first, but let’s be real — you want to spend your days with someone who can amuse, amaze, support, and challenge you in everyday life outside of the bedroom. I know this may be my most unpopular advice for men, but I’ve lived it out for myself and found it to be true. The best relationship I’ve personally ever had (my current and forever one) evolved out of a sexless friendship over many, many months.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. Test these tips out for yourself on your next first date and see how they can alleviate some of the stresses, pressures, and pitfalls of dating. Focus on being kind and genuine, having fun and trying to truly connect with your date — and watch how organically the rest will unfold.
Every good guy deserves to connect with his perfect match. It may just take some time to find the right fit. So be mindful and strategic of who you invite into your life (and who you are, as a man, in the process)!
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