How To Be Successful On A First Date
Want to Have First Date Success? And What Does That Even Mean Anyway?
You asked her out on a date and she said yes. That’s awesome - congrats!
So naturally, you are thinking… now what? It’s pretty obvious you want it to go well because you are here reading this article to make sure it does! Here are the high quality and professional-grade tips you need to ensure that your first date is a complete success.
But to start…. what do you consider to be a “successful” date?
Well, let's get something out of the way first. Rooster doesn’t consider a successful date “getting some” at the end of the night. This is not an article to teach you how to “score” – Gross. If that is what you are looking for, the door is that way. Truthfully, what we consider success might mean NOT going on a second date! We’re here to explain how to go on a successful first date, and in our humble opinion, a successful date meets these criteria:
- Meeting someone you are romantically interested in
- Presenting yourself openly and authentically
- Learning about the other person to discover if there is a genuine connection
- And having fun while exploring this possibility!
If there’s a connection, great! Whatever follows is up to the two of you. However, also keep in mind that, if you go on a date and put yourself out there and there isn’t a reciprocal connection…. then not going on a second date might be the best thing! Look, you’re a rad person, you are literally taking the time to read an article to make sure your date goes well. That’s already amazingly considerate!
Besides, you don’t want to date someone that doesn’t want to date you. So, this simply means that this person may not be for you and your time is more valuable being spent trying to find someone who is.
Now that being said there are definitely some Do’s and Don’ts to ensure this date goes the best that it possibly can. So, let’s break it down.
First, Make A Decision
She agreed to go out with you and now you must decide where you want to go and what you are going to do. Start off on a confident note with presenting an idea right off the bat.
“Hey how about meeting at this cool little place around 8?”
It doesn’t make the best impression to drag on and on with “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” Throw something out there that you think would be fun and be enjoyable. If the idea you lead with isn’t a winner, that’s ok. Keep it light and adapt but have an initial idea of what you want to do when meeting.
An ABSOLUTE DON’T is going to the movies. This is a first date; you are trying to determine if you are into each other. That requires conversation - no movies.
Also, we highly recommend keeping the date somewhat brief. Meeting for a drink or a dessert is a great idea. Don’t get us wrong, dinner dates can be wonderful but two points to make here:
- It’s entirely possible that you may find out quickly that this isn’t going to be a connection. If you discover this before the bread hits the table, now you’re committed to a few hours of forcing it - which isn’t fun for anyone. Save dinner for when you know there is at least an initial connection and you want to spend a good amount of time with that person.
- Also, dinner for two can get pretty expensive! If you are going on multiple dates you may want to consider that meeting for drinks may be more budget-friendly.
Sounds Simple But Say It With Me…BE YOURSELF.
The simplest concept is first but it’s probably also the hardest. "Being yourself" is an easy idea to understand but can be difficult to master. This is AGE-OLD WISDOM passed down for hundreds of generations here. If used correctly this will GUARANTEE, with 100% confidence, that your date is a success. Because if you are really being yourself, then you can have nothing in common and never see each other again…and that would be a success. Besides, if you are being yourself and there is no connection, then you shouldn’t want to go on a second date anyway. Going on another date because you “played the game well” just means you aren’t being honest with her or yourself.
However, one reason being yourself is so important is because it is overwhelmingly attractive. We all respect and admire people who are comfortable with themselves. Your level of ease with yourself, your thoughts, opinions, and beliefs when presenting them to someone else is EVERYTHING.
Imagine a salesperson who tries to sell you something and they keep telling you how perfect their product is. Picture them pushing that what they offer is everything you want and it’s exactly you need; they make it seem like what they are selling is so completely perfect for you that you just have to say yes. Doesn’t that start that little suspicious feeling in your gut? It’s that feeling of sleaziness and the possibility of being manipulated to give up something that person wants. Your intuition can pick up on this and really make you back away from an interaction. Dating is no different.
Don't SELL yourself - BE yourself.
Big Difference: someone who is comfortable in their own skin is far more attractive than someone who is constantly trying to prove themselves. Look, we all know that women (and men) are attracted to confidence but confidence isn’t that macho, over-inflated, ego facade.
When you think being confident, think being comfortable. Be comfortable with who you are - that includes all the weird and fascinating things that make you unique. Own who you are. Think – “The me that walked into this room is the same me that walks into every room.”
"When you accept yourself, the whole world accepts you.” ― Lao Tzu
Oh, were you not expecting an article about dating to quote ancient Chinese proverbs? Boom – it just did.
If "be yourself" is a little too spiritually vague and you are looking for more practical advice, then this tip is as simple and as practical as it gets. Use good manners.
I would say that pound for pound this is the easiest adjustment you can make that will have the biggest positive impact on a date. In this day and age, manners are becoming more of a dying art. However, these moves are timeless classics that will leave a huge impression.
- If you are picking her up, or you are leaving to drive somewhere - open her door first. This is simple and oh so classy. Open the car door for her, allow her to get in, close it and then walk to your side to get in. It's a guarantee that most dates she has been on, this doesn’t happen. You’re standing out already
- Open other doors too. Simple and maybe obvious but it’s really a must.
- Pull out her chair and allow her to sit down first.
- If she leaves the table or comes back to the table - stand-up while she sits. This is a good one. Simple to do and very debonair.
- If there is food or drink involved - wait until you’ve both been served before partaking.
- Time for the check - now you might fight me on this, just hear me out. More specifically (with the exception that your date being a completely awful person and punching a waiter) you should offer to pay. Now, this isn’t really about money or some outdated misogynistic power trip - it’s just about the gesture and the intention of politeness. If she insists on splitting the check or even insists on paying - those outcomes are totally ok if that's what she prefers. But you asked her on a date - you should be offering to take care of it.
- Use please, thank you and excuse me - Duh.
"Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength." - Eric Hoffer
Now, I apologize if these seem like basics, but they had to be mentioned. Simple manners will go such a long way.
Stay Off Your Phone
This one goes right along with manners but…please put the phones away. You are there to talk to that person and they are literally right in front of you! So, talk to them!
If she gets up to go to the bathroom you will instantly be tempted to whip out your glowing rectangle. If you really must, OK, do it. BUT don’t be on it when she comes back. This shows that even while she is away, the interaction (and her) are the priority. Simple but effective.
Don't Just Say What You Think Someone Wants To Hear
While you are on this date, you are sitting across from her and you are dancing (or stumbling) through quizzing each other about everything from siblings to movies - be careful. You might be subconsciously tempted to make one of the absolute worst dating mistakes…
“What am I into? Well I really love going to EDM festivals!”
(EDM festivals? You mean those loud concerts with thousands of people where DJs play their MacBook, and everyone is dressed like they are going to a sexy light-up pre-school? That sounds exhausting. I don’t even like that kind of music…. but god damn she’s pretty.
“Oh my god totally. Me too!”
Don’t just agree and tell her what you think she wants to hear. Ok, first off be gentle with yourself because this is completely normal. Let’s be honest here, what you are really wanting, what we all are really wanting, is approval. It’s just our natural instinct.
We want someone to notice us, to laugh at our jokes and to find us attractive. Hell, we just want to be liked! But remember we are going for genuine, and if you aren’t being truthful then you aren’t being genuine.
Besides dating at its core is a connection built on conversation and a conversation where everyone agrees is BORING. Disagree and (politely) challenge some things. It’s only going to improve your chemistry.
Ask GOOD Questions
Probably THE most common complaint I hear from women who went on bad dates was this.
“Oh my god he just went on and on and he wouldn’t stop talking about himself!"
This one is bad. Look we get it; we all want to appear confident but let me tell you…rattling off your resume of cool things you have done or the impressive people you know is NOT the way to get that message across. You need to ask questions. Don’t mistakenly think that your date is as obsessed with you as you assume your Instagram followers are.
Show interest in your date by asking about her. Show curiosity about her life and about what makes her unique! Also, don't just ask factual questions like times, dates and events.
- “When did you move here?”
- “Where did you go to school?”
- “How many siblings do you have?”
- “Do you like dogs?”
I mean, these questions are fine of course and, in many ways, necessary. Just remember that you aren’t interviewing this person for a newspaper article. You’re on a date so ask some questions that invoke feelings and emotion
- “Do you enjoy what you do for work?”
- “Who is the most important person in your life?”
- “What is your biggest passion?"
These are the important questions anyway. The facts are all well and good but think about the fact-based "surface" conversations you have every day. You can chat with someone about the news, the weather and what you did that day for hours and not really feel any closer to them. It’s the information tied to our intimate self that develops that close and personal connection. Get to the REAL stuff.
That being said, all of your questions don’t have to come off like a Dr. Phil episode either. Dates should be fun! Don’t be afraid to be a little goofy and keep some completely silly questions in your back pocket for when you feel the conversation drop off.
- “What would your last meal on earth be?"
- “Which would be harder to give up forever, music or movies?"
- "If you had a real get out of jail free card, what’s the first law you would break?”
- “Do you believe in putting pineapple on pizza?”
- "If you could have lunch with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?”
These are great for getting the conversation started back up but, in a light, playful and easy-going way. Then be ready to give your answers too! Questions like these may lead to smiles, some laughs and maybe even some weird off the wall facts you otherwise wouldn’t have learned. Have fun - people like fun.
Ask clarifying questions. If the person is explaining something that you don't fully understand, don't keep nodding and saying "uh-huh". Wait for them to pause and ask questions that clear up what is being said. "Back up a second, explain that to me again." This translates to "I'm invested in what you are telling me."
Now look, this is Dating 101 but you would be amazed how many guys mess this up. I don’t know where some men got the idea that negging on women or playing like you are “too cool” was smart. But knock that stuff off!
- If she looks nice - Tell her
- If you think her outfit is pretty - Say so
- If her hair looks amazing - Point it out
If you even hold onto a shred of that “nice guys finish last” theory, please give that up immediately. Be nice. It’s a desirable trait to be kind and complimentary. It shows confidence, compassion, and attention to detail; all good things. Also, she's expecting it! According to a study released by Match.com, 94% of women want their date to compliment them.
Now for a disclaimer here, compliments are good but don’t go overboard. It’s great to be kind but don't cross that line into being creepy. Don’t be overly complimenting to some weird obsessive degree and avoid compliments that are overtly sexual or inappropriate.
"Feeling gratitude, and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it." - William Arthur Ward
Break The Physical Barrier
This is a tough one to explain but we are going to go for it. Basically, you are on this date to determine if there is romantic chemistry between you and another person. Now everyone has their own individual degree of personal space and those boundaries absolutely deserve to be respected.
But at some point in the evening, someone is going to have to at least attempt to breach the bubble and see how the two of you feel about getting a little closer. Now it bears repeating again, any physical advance that is not returned or welcomed whether verbally, or by body language, needs to be stopped. Consider small things to test the waters:
- If you are standing in line somewhere or waiting to be seated, try standing a little bit closer than you would with just a friend
- Keep touching playful and in areas that aren’t considered sexual. Consider the hands, arms or shoulder.
- If you aren’t sure or you don’t feel comfortable attempting those advances - just ask! If you are walking around somewhere afterward just confidently ask “Do you mind if I hold your hand?” When done right this can actually be quite charming. It shows intent, respectfulness and exudes a degree of safety to the other person.
If you are sitting across from her and she is wearing an interesting ring or bracelet. Say “Wow this ring is really pretty” and lift her hand to get a better look. Even something small and casual like that can start opening the doors to physical touch.
Going In For The Kiss
If you think the date went well, you feel that there’s a connection and you’ve gotten some signals that going in for the kiss might be ok - Go for it! However, there are some right and wrong ways to go about this.
First, the physical barrier must have been opened up a bit. If you don't feel that any flirtatious touching happened and at the end of the date you are still sitting across from each other like you are applying for a bank loan - don't go trying to steal first base. This will feel forced and awkward and put you both in a place you don’t want to be.
Don’t take your shot too soon. If you two haven’t had enough time to get to know each other a little better, then tonsil hockey just isn’t on the table yet.
However, much like the physical barrier earlier, if you aren’t sure, you can use your words. The phrasing this time though should be slightly different. If it is the end of the date, there’s been some flirting and you both had fun, but you aren’t entirely sure if she is into the idea of kissing - try stating that you want to kiss her. The difference here is you aren’t asking per se, but you are still creating an opportunity for that person to clearly consent.
Say something like “Just so you know I’ve been dying to find the right time to try and kiss you.” Be cute and sweet about it. It’s not a question but gives her the chance to respond. Maybe she’ll say, “I’d like that” or “I was hoping you would.” then you know to go for it. On the flip side though, she may say “I don’t think that would be a good idea" or “maybe on our next date.”
If there is a rejection, whether it’s physical or verbal, for the love of god guys - BE COOL. Don’t get offended, don’t get huffy and don’t pout about it for the rest of the night. This is a quick way to make sure that she never sees you as a physical option ever again.
Just be cool and relaxed about it, maybe say something sweet and disarming like “Well you are completely gorgeous, so I at least had to try.” Then drop it. A rejection isn't always defeating, there may be another opportunity later that evening or on another date. Even if it is a full rejection, that’s ok too, it happens.
REGARDLESS OF WHAT HAPPENS, be suave. Be graceful.
Be a gentleman about it.
So, Do You Feel Ready?
There you go guys! These tips will help make sure that your first date goes successfully. Follow these and we are sure it’s going to be great! Put yourself out there, treat her well and be proud of yourself for it!
Remember, we are all human beings and the person sitting across from you is probably just as nervous as you are! But you are a lot less nervous now because you studied up. You got this! Be nice. Ask questions. Have fun. Be you!