So, you met a cool person who you’re about to go out with. Exciting? Totally. A little nerve-wracking? Of course. So, how do you deal with the anxiety that inevitably comes with first-date territory? As cliché as it sounds, being yourself is probably best first date advice. It’ll ensure that you not only have a good time on a first date, but also get a second date, too.
That said, there are a few fairly concrete dos and don’ts to keep in mind when hanging out with someone totally new—just remember that it’s all about making a solid first impression to land a second date with someone you really like. Read on for first date advice that every girl should know.
1. DO Speak Up
Nobody likes a pushover, so if your date tells you he or she has planned an evening at a sushi restaurant and you don’t eat fish, or they want to hang at a cocktail lounge but you don’t drink, speak up. It’ll only look strange if you tell them all that after you’re already seated and waiting to order. Same goes for being decisive. If your date asks what you’d like to eat, drink, or share for dessert, don’t say “I don’t care, what do you want?” Wishy-washy can get real old, real fast.
2. DON’T Wear Things That You Can’t Walk, Eat, Breathe, or Talk in
Obviously, you want to look your best, but a first date isn’t the time to take those new stilettos out for a road test, or wear that dress that’s a little too tight. Why? Because first dates are anxiety-filled enough and being uncomfortable in your clothes only makes it worse. Plus, won’t it suck to not be able to walk a few blocks on a nice night because your heels are too high?
3. DO Be On Time
Yeah, we know the whole “fashionably late” ideology still exists, but on a first date, you’ll make a better impression if you show up on time. Would you want them to show up late? Probably not.
4. DON’T Drink Too Much
There’s not much to say here without sounding like a preachy parent, but keep this in mind: Having to be carried home by someone you barely know isn’t fun (nor is slurring your words or crying at the dinner table). Sure, a cocktail or two can be fun and loosen the mood, but know your limits.
5. DON’T Obsess Over Your Appearance
Who wants to waste precious date time running to bathroom to brush your hair, reapply your lipstick, or check the mirror every half hour? Put as much effort into your appearance as you want before you meet your date, but focus your energy on making solid conversation instead of worrying about how you look.
6. DO Put Your Phone Away
This is the big one, ladies: The act of obsessively checking your phone every two minutes could be a bona fide deal breaker. There’s nothing more rude than trying to have a conversation with a person who’s constantly stating at a screen. Checking Instagram can wait—and definitely don’t post any status updates, tweets about your date in real-time, or snap any candid pics when they’re not looking. That’s just weird.
7. DO Ask Questions
A foolproof way to ensure that conversation will always be flowing is to simply ask questions. Keep them semi-general (work, family, hobbies, etc.) until you both feel comfortable enough to tackle the big stuff, like politics, religion, and, uh, exes.
8. DO Offer to Pay
A tactful way to do this is to simply reach for the check when it comes. If your date insists, offer to split the bill, or at least leave the tip. However, if you offer to pay or split, be prepared to actually pay or split.
9. DON’T Stalk After the Date
If you had a wonderful time and feel like shooting your date a casual text later that night or the next day, go for it. Just maybe don’t stalk and accidentally like their Instagram photos—or worse, their ex’s Instagram photos.
10. DO be Positive
No matter how shitty of a day you had at work, or whether the restaurant you’re at has terrible service, or the movie you saw is total crap—try your best to stay positive when getting to know someone. It’ll alleviate any anxiety he’s having about whether he’s showing you a good time, and it’ll just make you more fun to be around, pure and simple.
Originally published September 2016. Updated June 2017.