The first date. It can be equal parts excitement and nerves.
I’m sure many of us have an array of first date stories, both good and not so good. I had one man show up forty-five minutes late (yes you read that correctly!) for a date after he was the one who chose the time and day to meet. Another first date started with coffee and ended with floor seats to a Carrie Underwood concert. I had another first date where we met for coffee at a local Italian bakery/store because our mutual favorite city was Assisi.
Whether a first date is a home run or not, I think there are some helpful principles to keep in mind as we show up as our authentic self, while treating the other how we wish to be treated. Here are five things to always do on a first date.
I know it sounds a bit over-simplistic, but this is so true! Show up as your unique, authentic self. Bring your real personality on that first date.
I have found first dates are so much more enjoyable when I practice this mindset. Plus, a radiant demeanor and confidence are so striking when it comes to dating.
The right man or woman will always love you for you, so just be yourself. Regardless of how the date goes, know that you are worthy of love. The right person will see that shine through.
Always say “Thank you”
As a woman, I’ve found that most men almost always offer to pay for the drinks, meal, or whatever we are enjoying together. I always make sure to thank a man for doing this.
Then, I’ll take time to affirm a man for doing this or planning our time together. I’ll thank him for the delicious dinner, and let him know that it feels so good to be treated to a nice meal. Or, I’ll thank him for the fun time this evening, and let him know that I enjoyed getting to know him more.
Your first date may not be a love connection, and there may not be a second date for you. However, always make the effort to say thank you and express your appreciation when someone takes you out. It is just a kind thing to do.
Look for similar interests and experiences
If you are going out on a date with someone you met via online dating, you will already have seen their profile and will likely have a sense about their likes or interests. Listen well to your date and ask good follow-up questions you would like to learn more about.
If there are similarities in your interests, talk and share about those more together. This can be a helpful way to keep conversation moving and light, without feeling like you need to fill every second with talk.
Have a next step
As you leave a first date, you’ll likely have a sense of you want to see this person again, or if this is a relationship you do not want to pursue. Listen to your gut and trust yourself, but have a next step ready in your mind.
If you had a great time and would be interested in another date, thank them for the fun time and let them know you would love to get together again sometime. For me, I would either say this in person or send a little thank you text afterwards.
However, if you know you would not be open to a second date, no worries, that is okay too! I have a helpful formula a girlfriend taught me on how to kindly turn a man down. I start with a genuine compliments and share my intuition that we are not the right romantic fit.
Here’s what it would sound like: “Thank you so much for dinner last night, Steve. I really appreciated how attentive you were listening to me and enjoyed learning all about flying from you. My intuition is telling me we are not the right romantic fit, and I just want to be honest and upfront with you about that. I wish you the best in your search for love.”
Pray to the Holy Spirit
Before I ever went on a date, I would always say a prayer to the Holy Spirit. Mine went something like this: “Holy Spirit, make it so clear to me if I should be open to this or something further with this man. Make it abundantly clear. Fill me with your peace.”
Your prayer could also be as simple as “Come Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit.”
This was so important for my Catholic dating life. Praying to the Holy Spirit and asking for his help allowed me to get out of the way and rely on God, both as I went on the date and when I went home afterwards.
This prayer practice has helped me trust myself and rely on God more as I dated.
Don’t overthink a first date. Have fun and smile. Don’t let your nerves or any awkwardness leave you unsettled. Show up, be open, and most likely you will have a great time!