Men and dating. Dating isn’t as easy as it appears. Interacting with people should be as normal as breathing. But for some people (men), it can be uncomfortable and devastating to even begin a conversation. After all, if you didn’t have anyone role model or teach you how to interact with someone you’re interested in how would you know what to do?
As a woman, as well as Relationship Counselor I can give you the female perspective of what is appropriate and what actually works. I have lessons for you to learn where you acquire the tools needed to make you a more socially acceptable and confident individual ready to take on whatever it is you have your eye on.
Here are some first date “Do’s and Don’ts”
- Calm Your Nerves: If you’re anxious find something that calms your nerves like working out before the date. Not only will you feel more relaxed, you’ll look better too.
- Dress to Impress: First impressions matter. Spend time on grooming, smelling good and dressing well.
- Coffee or Wine: Have the first date be a shorter date. If for some reason the date goes bad, you are only committed for a short period of time. If things go well, you can always stay longer.
- Show up on time (or a few minutes early): Never keep the woman waiting. Tardiness sets the tone for the rest of the date and can set you up for failure. If for some reason you will be late, call her and let her know you are on your way. This will show you are responsible, considering her time, and making the effort to arrive as soon as possible.
- Be a Gentleman: Even though we’re in the “women are equal” time period, it is still good to exercise male chivalry by opening the door, pulling out the chair, and/or paying for the date.
- Put your cell phone away: Checking text messages or (god forbid) answering a call while you are on a first date indicates that you have something better you’d like to be doing. Turn your phone to silent and put it out of sight. If you really need to check your messages, do it in the restroom.
- Pay her a compliment: When it comes to compliments, simple is better. “That’s a pretty dress you’re wearing”, or ”You have beautiful eyes”, can win you some points. Women like to hear that a man finds her attractive. Be careful not to take it too far. Statements like, “Wow, you are really hot!” can send the wrong message and even feel somewhat aggressive to a woman.
- Ask Questions: Find common interests by asking questions about her. This is the time to simply see if you two would be a good fit for another date. Ask open-ended questions.
- Share About You: Don’t just keep the conversation focused on her. Share your interests, hobbies, or travel journeys. Be transparent.
- Joke: Break the ice by joking and sharing funny (yet appropriate) stories.
- Eye Contact: Looking a woman in her eyes is a MUST! But don’t get into a staring contest or get too intense. That can make things awkward.
- Enjoy the Night: Don’t over think the date! Have fun. You deserve to have a great time. Don’t expect to find your soulmate or get discouraged if you don’t feel an instant connection with her. If the date is not a total disaster, there is potential for a second one. A decent first date can lead to a great second date.
- Be honest: If you don’t feel a connection with her, politely let her know. “I’ve had a great time talking to you tonight, but I don’t think we’re a good romantic match.” Often times, if you’re not feeling it neither is she. However, if you get the sense that she is into you and you have no intention of seeing her again, it is better to let her know. This way you don’t have to spend two weeks dodging her phone calls. Be sure to be polite!
And now for the “Don’ts”.
- Don’t ask her out via Text or Email: Man-up by picking up the phone. This shows courage and genuine interest. It makes her feel like you are looking for more than just a “good time”.
- Don’t Pre-Drink: This is not the way to calm anxiety before a date. Women don’t usually like meeting a guy and finding out that he had to drink in order to get up the nerve to meet her.
- NEVER expect her to get in your Car: Suggest that you meet her for the date in a place that you both agree on. Don’t offer to pick her up. You know that you are safe, but she doesn’t. If you two decide to move the date to another location, ask her how she’d like to get there. Let her lead in her comfort level and make her feel safe.
- Televisions around are NO-NOs! Watching television or having too much distraction is where the date can become a disaster quickly. Avoid going to a place with televisions on your first date. It will be too tempting to watch TV or get distracted and will send a message to the woman that you aren’t interested.
- Don’t Air Your Dirty Laundry: Okay guys, don’t unload your entire life all at once. Don’t share TOO much about you ex, your childhood wounds, or your recent breakup. Share just enough to engage in conversation.
- Avoid too much Booze: Make it a 2 drink MAXIMUM! You must present yourself at your best. Too much alcohol can be a turn-off on a first date.
- Don’t try to impress: Women can sense when a man is not being genuine. Be yourself. She agreed to go out with you because she found something about you interesting. If things are going to work out it will be because she appreciates who you really are.
- Don’t be Afraid of the Silences: On every first date there may be what seems like awkward silences. If the conversation wanes for a moment or two, don’t get nervous. Give her a moment to regroup and see if she comes up with something to talk about. No worries if she’s quiet. That doesn’t mean she’s not interested in you. She may just be shy. Take control of the conversation with some questions about her (Where are you from? Do you have siblings? How did you get started in your career?) Or share a story about your favorite restaurant in town. Take the opportunities to let her know you are interested in learning more about her.
- Avoid topics that may make her uncomfortable: A guy can go from “normal” to “creepy” in no time at all if he starts talking about the wrong thing like sex, how much money you earn, or the fact that you are “really trustworthy and she shouldn’t be worried about being alone with you”. Always remember that you don’t know this person or what her personal experiences have been. You want to steer clear of becoming creepy-guy because that will ensure no second date.
- Don’t Expect A Kiss: You are on your first date and sometimes they don’t include kissing. If it happens naturally between you then go with it. However, a woman may need a few dates before she is ready to kiss you. Don’t get discouraged. Offer a hug at the end of the date. If you are interested in seeing her again, let her know. Waiting for the second or third date for your first kiss can be romantic.
If you’ve been eyeing that gal or guy at the coffee shop, gym, jogging path, dog walk, or whatever venue you frequent and just can’t get up the courage to talk because you don’t know what to say or do….call me at (858) 735-1139 and we can get started on learning how to break the ice.