First dates can be one of the most nerve wracking, anxiety producing experiences that a person can partake in. They can also be fun, exhilarating and life changing.
We find the key to a positive experience is relaxed conversation, having an open mind and leaving your expectations at the door. Matchmade has put together the following dating tips to help ensure your experience will be an enjoyable one.
- Be on time – Being on time or a couple of minutes early is courteous and respectful.
- Smile – Smiling is a great way to cut the awkwardness of the first date. Smile often, and your date will feel more relaxed and comfortable around you.
- Be positive – Feel positive about the date, and the person you’re meeting will feel the positivity around you. Remember, positive energy attracts positive energy.
- Mind your manners – Treat your date with respect and remember to be courteous and kind. Put simply, treat your date exactly how you would like to be treated. If you goof up once in a while, laugh it off instead of appearing nervous or awkward. In fact, a silly slip up can actually make the evening more fun and memorable.
- Hygiene and clothing – You only get one chance to make a good first impression so investing time in your appearance is critical. Wear a fresh shirt or outfit and wear a touch of perfume or cologne. Ladies, try not to dress too sexy. Gentlemen, try to avoid looking too casual.
- Compliment – Be genuine with your compliments. Appreciate the effort your date took to dress up and look good but be careful not to go overboard or be overly personal.
- Eye Contact – If you’re having a great time with your date, you can’t help but open your eyes wide with excitement. While they are speaking, hold a steady gaze and nod casually when they say something. This gesture shows them you are interested and listening to what they are saying.
- Body language – Be aware of your body when you’re sitting across the table or next to your date. Don’t fidget or rock back and forth, and don’t nod your head forever like you’ve got a spring for your neck. Being relaxed and leaning slightly forward towards your date shows you are interested.
- Don’t hog the conversation – Don’t interrupt or speak at length about the same topic unless your date is participating in the dialogue. Keep your sentences short, so your date has the chance to respond or add their own point of view.
- Disagree respectfully – When two people converse, there are bound to be differences of opinion. Respect their position, express your view lightheartedly and try to steer the conversation in another direction should things become a little intense. Remember, life would be very boring if we were all the same!
- Be playful – A playful nature is one of the most attractive traits in a person, especially on a date. Laugh, share a funny real life experience, and don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself now and then. A good sense of humor can definitely help you impress your date and make the evening more fun and interesting.
The Art of Conversation
First date conversation should be fun. Light, nothing serious, nothing too probing and definitely no relationship talk. DO make the conversation reciprocal, be inquisitive and show your interest in getting to know the other person.
Listen as much or more than you talk.
Some people consider themselves skilled communicators because they can talk endlessly. But the ability to speak is only one part of the equation—and not the most important part. The best communication occurs with an even and equal exchange between two people. Think of conversation as a tennis match in which the players lob the ball back and forth. Each person gets a turn—and no one hogs the ball.
Peel the onion, don’t stab it with a paring knife.
Getting to know someone new is like peeling an onion one thin layer at the time. It can be a slow process. But some people, overeager to get into deep and meaningful conversation, go too far too soon. They ask personal or sensitive questions that put the other person on the defensive. Should the relationship evolve, there will be plenty of time to get into weighty topics. For now, take it easy.
If feeling inhibited is a problem for some people, others go to the opposite extreme: they use a date as an opportunity to purge and vent. When a person reveals too much too soon, it can give a false sense of intimacy. In reality, premature or exaggerated revelations normally are an indication of boundary issues, unresolved pain, or self-centeredness.
Genuine interest goes a long way.
Maybe your first date questions will lead you to discover that this person is your soul mate—or maybe not. Either way, it’s exciting to be able to get to know another human being and get a peek into their world. Great communication starts with being genuinely interested in the individual you’re with and paying close attention to what they say.
To assist you in making your Matchmade dating experience a positive one, we have listed some conversation topics to help keep those awkward silences at bay.
- Favourite movies
- Do you like to travel? Where have you been? What is your favourite destination? Why?
- Are you planning any trips? Where would you like to go?
- Favourite food/restaurant
- Favourite drink/cocktail
- Funny childhood stories
- What makes you laugh?
- What is a typical weekend for you?
- Do you like to be active?
- Do you play any sports?
- Are there any sports that you would like to try?
- What is your favourite couch potato sport?
- Where did you grow up?
- What were you like as a kid?
- Do you have a nickname?
- Do you like to read? What is your favourite book?
- Do you like/have pets?
- What’s the best part about your job? What’s the worst part about your job?
- Do you have any career plans?
- Tell me about your friends…
- What did you want to be when you grew up?
- What type of music do you like listening to?
- Have you ever met anyone famous?
- Are you close to your family?
- Do you have any brother’s or sisters?
- Do you have an embarrassingly funny memory?
If there is a lull in conversation you can always go with a compliment. Do keep at least some of the conversation light-hearted, funny and intriguing. If you haven’t laughed at all during a date, things are going terribly wrong.
What to Avoid
We don’t like to harp on the negative, but avoiding these dating don’ts will go along way to making your first date an enjoyable experience.
- Don’t lead conversation with jokes and crudeness.
- Avoid discussing the big 3 – religion, politics & past relationships.
- Turn your phone on silent and keep it in your pocket or in your bag. Don’t put it on the table otherwise you’ll be tempted to look at it.
- Don’t be overly critical or judgmental.
- Don’t come on too strong. Watch yourself for behaviours that could be seen as needy, desperate or undesirable.
- Don’t get lost in talking about yourself and your past, including mistakes and heartaches.
- Don’t alter who you are to fit what you think your love interest wants or needs.
- Don’t complain about your lack of luck with love.
- Don’t gossip about anyone.
- Don’t overdo the perfume or cologne. Some people are allergic, while others just may find it too much.
- Don’t invade your date’s personal space.
- Don’t talk about your pets to excess.
- Don’t look for perfection. You are not perfect so it is unfair and unrealistic to expect your date to be.