Best First Date Tips to Make a Good Impression
We all want to make a good first impression, right?
The first time you meet someone for a date sets the stage for the future of the relationship.
If you met someone on an online dating app, this will likely be the first time you ever meet this person in the real world!
If you already knew the person and you’re taking it to the next step with a real first date, then understanding how to have a great first date is critical.
We’re going to cover first date ideas, first date questions and how to land that second date.
Getting to the first date
Before you can get to the actual date itself, you have to make the ask!
How you ask is just as important as what you ask the other person to do on the first date.
Here are some ways to phrase asking someone out on a first date:
- I’ve really enjoyed chatting with you over the last [time period]. Would you be interested in a coffee date this weekend?
- I’m much better in-person than I am online. Would you like to go on a date with me this Tuesday?
- I’d like to take this to the next level — are you free this Wednesday?
The most important thing when setting up a first date is to be sure you’re communicating your intentions clearly (i.e. this IS a first date). Make sure you be super respectful in the ask and don’t feel devastated if they turn you down. It could be that they don’t see you in a romantic way or aren’t ready to move from online to in-person.
Dating Rule: The person who asks is the person who plans (and pays!).
Our best first date tips for 2022
Now that you’ve confirmed you’re going on a date, it’s time to set the stage for the best first date ever. Just kidding — that’s setting yourself up for failure.
First dates are always nerve-wracking (for both parties!) so don’t think too much about making it the best date ever and focus more on how you plan to make your date feel during your time together. A successful first date is all about deciding if you want a second date with this person. Knowing this will take a lot of pressure of the situation!
That being said, you want to put your best foot forward — you never know if they could be the one!
Here are our best first date tips to help start the spark!
#1 - Pick the place
Remember - the person who asks is the person who picks (and pays!). If you’ve just asked someone on a date, you should have a place in mind. You can say you have somewhere in mind but also say you’re open to feedback.
For example, you can state:
- I know a really good coffee shop near the library. What do you think?
- I’ve been in the mood for sushi lately — and you mentioned it is one of your favorite foods. Can I take you to my favorite spot?
- I’d like to have some fun while getting to know you more. What do you think about a picnic or going to an amusement park this weekend?
Whatever place you suggest sets the tone for the first date. Try to find the balance between having fun and having a fun conversation.
#2 - Think about safety
Whether you’re the person asking or the person being asked, dating safety should always be top of mind.
The most important thing to do when asking someone on a date is to ensure they’re comfortable. They may be a survivor dating for the first time after their experience, heard an online dating horror story, or simply want to be cautious.
This means you should think about how the other person could view your actions. For example, picking someone up for a first date seems like a kind gesture, but if the other person doesn’t know you that well this could cause some red flags.
Here are our first date safety tips:
- Meet in a public place - Like we said above, if you’ve never met this person you should NOT get in their car. You should meet them at the first date location and, if possible, know how to safely leave if needed.
- Search them online - Even if you already know this person, you don’t really know them. You should definitely search them on Google, social media, and on Garbo. Garbo offers a low-cost background check to see if someone has any public arrests, convictions, or sex offender registry information.
- Tell someone - Sometimes we’re embarrassed about going on a first date. There’s no shame in this game. Tell someone you know where you’re going, the details of the other person (name, age, phone number), and what time you should be home. Have a plan to check in with them at that time. This person can also help you get out of an uncomfortable situation if needed.
#3 - Select a First Date Outfit
Whether you like it or not, what you wear on a first date says a lot about you. You want to make a good impression and how you show up and present yourself is the very first step.
That means you shouldn’t show up in a day old t-shirt and crusty jeans. If you’re going on a dinner date, make sure you know the atmosphere and expected wardrobe.
Chances are your date is also nervous about what to wear. You can make this less awkward by texting them and asking what they’re wearing or checking out the vibe of the place you’re going online.
Treat the first date like a job interview and dress for success.
#4 - Think of the best first date questions
Interesting conversations are what keep a relationship going — especially in the early stages of dating. If you come unprepared to have a quality conversation on the first date, chances are there won’t be a second.
Having great conversation starters and using active listening can help make your date feel special. You don’t need to hear their life story (or share yours!) but making sure you’re set up for an interesting and exciting conversation can help start the spark.
Awkward silences are going to happen. But, having solid first date questions can help you make the most out of a lull in the conversation.
#5 - Keep it cool
You’re probably super stoked to go on this date. If you’re not... why are you going?
But, you want to keep your cool while preparing for the best first date possible. Being too hyped up or excited can be a turn off while not committing enough to the experience can also start things off on the wrong foot (i.e. making the person you asked on a date plan it).
When you’re actually on the first date, think about:
- Body language - How you hold yourself is important. Remember to stand up straight, use your best manners, and think about their body language throughout the date to gauge their interest.
- Eye contact - You want the other person to know that you like them. Eye contact throughout the date can at first be intimidating and awkward. However, it will show the other person you’re attracted to them and care what they’re saying.
- Compatibility - Oftentimes we’re so focused on impressing the other person that we forget to ask if we even like them. Use the first date to see if you really actually like them or just like the idea of them.
What should you not do no a first date?
Okay - would this be a first date tips blog if we didn’t talk about what NOT to do on a first date?
Here’s what to avoid:
- Having expectations - The other person said they would go on a date with you. That’s it. Don’t set yourself up for failure by thinking too far ahead.
- Talking too much - Ugh. Don’t be the person who never shuts up. Conversations are a two-way street.
- Not talking enough - This is why having first date questions and conversation starters prepared is key. If you don’t come prepared, the awkward silences are going to happen.
- Focusing on their physical appearance - Okay, if they’re catfishing you that’s a major red flag. But, if they’re five pounds heavier than their photos or you don’t like their hair cut, you might be focusing too much on their physical appearance and not enough on your compatibility with the other person.
Our #1 First Date Tip: Be Yourself!
Why try to be someone you’re not?
Whether you met on Tinder (or another dating app), through friends, at work, or wherever else you can meet strangers nowadays... just be yourself.
We’re not (officially) relationship experts but we do know that the best way to start a relationship is to focus on being your best self. You set the stage for your entire dating experience and if you show up as someone other than you, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
At the end of the day, first dates are about seeing if you want a second date. A good impression and a great first date will get you there!