First Date Tips

You’ve finally set a date with someone you are interested in. The flutter of expectations and emotions can be overwhelming. It’s so nice to feel hopeful about someone  but how can you stack the odds so that this first date leads to a second?

first date

As a therapist I find that the initial enthusiasm that people experience can some times be the nail in the coffin before a date even begins. When it is someone you are really interested in, sometimes all common sense goes out the window. Here are a few tips to keep things grounded and to help you succeed with your next first date.

Lower Expectations

I’m not telling you to slum it. What I mean by this is a sense of openness. Very often we get caught up in the fantasy of how we think the first date is going to unfold and then when it doesn’t (cue annoying wah, wah sound), we end up feeling duped and then negative about what might have been a perfectly nice first date. Allow for the date to happen naturally, be present; see what it feels like to simply be in this person’s company. It can help give you a more realistic gauge on whether there is real chemistry or not.

Keep it short

Long drawn out dinners or day long dates may either a) be completely overwhelming or b) a real nightmare if the the two you don’t gel. You both are taking time out of your busy schedules to experience one another. I personally believe a little goes a long way. The coffee/tea date is the perfect vehicle. No commitment. And if it goes great, you are assured of a second longer date that you can go into feeling good about.

Do it in the day time

Sometimes just the expectation of dinner is too much. Not only does a “dinner” insight a certain way of dress, or spending a certain amount of money but it can create a higher sense of anxiety. A day date is more friendly and flexible. Maybe it is focused around an activity; catching a baseball game, going to an art gallery or see above having coffee together. Regardless, it can help relax the entire situation by getting together in the daylight hours.

Don’t follow ridiculous dating rules

Note I am giving you “tips” not hard and fast rules. The authors of all of the dating rules about what to do and not do, when to call and what to say can go fly a kite. No one should feel caught up in following a strict guide of behavior. Every first date is different and the people who know best how to act are the ones involved in the date. So by all means if you had a good time, call the next day. There is no need to play aloof and wait out a phone call. If the chemistry isn’t there you’ll either know by how you feel or you’ll get feedback from the other person that they are not interested. It is not the end of the world if that happens. All information is good, even if it is information that you don’t necessarily want. Again, being open to what realistically happens will help you either have a great second date or help you to move on to a fantastic first date with someone more compatible.


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 is the resident sexologist at Adam & Eve and also runs a private practice and media consulting business. She has a Doctorate from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. Her professional affiliations include AASECT, SSSS, and the American Board of Sexologists. She also has a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology and completed a postgraduate degree in Marriage, Family and Addictions Recovery Therapy.

© Copyright Dr. Kathleen Van Kirk