There’s something about first dates that just seems to make them so much more memorable than any other date we have. Maybe because we have so many of them and they tend to run the gamut of fun, enlightening, weird, scary, and WTF! I know I’ve had plenty of first dates in my lifetime and they definitely fell into all of the above.
The problem is if you want to find true love then you need that first date just like you need air to breathe. First dates are just inevitable whether you like them or not.
When you go on a first date and your goal is to try to make a real love connection you want to make sure you put yourself in the best opportunity to succeed. To do that you have to make sure your first date doesn’t crash and burn so you can move on to date #2. That’s why I want to offer up my Top 5 Mistakes NEVER to Never Make on a First Date.
5 Mistakes NEVER to Make on a First Date
1: Choosing the Wrong Venue
Most people don’t think about this too much when they date, but the location you end up going on for your first one is really affected by the venue. For example, studies have shown that when adrenaline is added to a date, the attraction level actually goes up.
In one study by David Givens, Ph.D., an anthropologist at the Center for Nonverbal Studies, men met women on a bridge high above rushing water, what he learned is that subjects were more attracted to each other than those who met elsewhere. This doesn’t mean you must go bridge jumping or skydiving to get that second date, but what it does indicate is that you should do your best to add fun and excitement to your date.
At its core, first dates are about getting to know one another, but the underlying current is really about establishing a connection. So when you fire up both the “fun” and “chemistry” cylinders simultaneously, the chances for a great first date will increase dramatically.
On the other side of the dating venue coin, sedentary, static dating venues (aka movies, plays, etc.) where there’s limited time for talking and/or activity should be avoided if possible. Try to hit the higher activity venues like communal or exotic restaurants (think Ethiopian food), rock climbing at an indoor facility, bowling, driving range or miniature golf.
2: Not Understanding the ‘Art of Conversation’
Almost all dates begin and end with what you say and how you communicate with your date. So you want to make sure you don’t blow it by not following some basic conversation rules.
- ASK QUESTIONS – Asking questions is not only a dating tool; it’s a life tool. Studies have shown that people are attracted to people who show an interest in the, but remember this is a conversation not an interrogation.
- BE A GOOD LISTENER – The talking gene is one of those things that keep so many good women from achieving what they want out of love. Women who are good listeners have a huge advantage over their talkative competition.
- GOOD CONVERSATION IS ABOUT BALANCE – If you talk for more than a few minutes in a row, then it’s time to ask a question. If you have asked three or more questions in a row and your date asks none back, then you should change things up and offer up stories or info about yourself.
- SWEARING AND OFF-COLOR HUMOR ARE OK (TO A POINT) – Polls have shown that people who swear a lot turn people off. That being said, a real person knows their room (aka date and/or venue) more than anything else and swearing or making off-color remarks does NOT necessarily mean you will turn someone off if you are in the right setting. It might show you are fun, confident, and carefree.
3: Always Establish Some Boundaries
When it comes to first dates, having boundaries is very important, but also a double-edged sword. You surely don’t want to get into situations where you say things, “I don’t want to talk about that” or “That’s a part of my life I don’t like to think about.”
To a prospective mate, this might indicate to them that you are hiding something or our closed off. “Walls” are a turn-off, while having “boundaries” is just good, smart dating. For example, talk of your exes on a first date should be off the table, so you should not bring them up.
But what if your date asks you about them? Then you should answer the question, truthfully and as succinctly as possible, and at a point where you feel it’s appropriate, change the subject to something else.
There are also the standard taboo topics you want to do your best to steer clear of or at least limit the amount of time spent talking on them. Here is a sample list of some DANGER TOPICS:
- Over sharing your children or pets (Your date may think you may not have room for them if that’s all you talk about.)
- Anything that brings you to a negative place (Talk about positive things that make you happy and empowered.)
It’s OK to have opinions and to want to engage someone on a more intellectual level, but that comes with real dangers this early in the dating process. Because if you overstep boundaries by over sharing about your previous dating life and/or your geopolitical views, it might do the exact opposite of your intended purpose by pushing the person away, rather than closer towards you.
4: Caring Too Much About the Outcome
Do you know what almost always ranks as the most attractive trait someone can have? It’s not their body, or their intelligence, or their ability to tie a cherry stem into a knot with their tongue… It’s “Confidence”. And this confidence can be built up by letting go of the outcome of your dates. Simply put, you lower the expectation if the date will go well or not because in the end you know if this one doesn’t work out the next one, or the next one after that, will.
If you enter into every date with an attitude that says, “I will have fun and if they like me, great, if they don’t, that’s their loss and I will find someone else,” then the confidence will ooze out of you and do the very thing you want, attract your date.
5: Paying Too Much Attention to What They Say, Not What They Do
In my Conscious Dating Program I teach that it’s never solely what a person SAYS that should excite you and attract you to them, it’s also what they DO. As you go on your first date, pay attention to your date’s actions, instead of just the words. Do they treat wait staff and others around you with respect and courtesy? Do they avoid rude behaviors like talking on or checking their cell phone in your presence? Do they show body language that indicates interest in you? So many people out there use their words to attract someone and that’s why so many get hurt. It’s easy to say, “I really like you.” It’s much harder to actually show it!
READERS: What are some of the mistakes you or your dates have made on a first date? Do you have any to add? Share your insights in the comments below!
Written by Amie Leadingham – Amie the Dating Coach. You can find Amie on her website, on Twitter and on Facebook.
Great topic. One thing that does turn me off right away are men who start bashing exes. Tells me they aren’t ready or don’t like me.
I agree 100%. Staying positive is key to attracting a positive person. I always say like attracts like.
Very true. I’ve found that negative people only try to bring people down.
Worst ever, the guy who started going on about “all the damaged women on dating sites” and how many he had gone out with, THEN he started bashing his ex-boss who had recently fired him. Wow, I so could not wait to get out of there!
I’ve found those guys are super critical. I once went on a date (more like a pre date)with a guy I met on Plenty Of Fish. He was a decent guy but one thing he did was tell me how many women he met and how many were weird (I don’t think he used weird but you get the hint). He told me he had many first dates that went nowhere. You guessed it, he didn’t want to go out again.
It’s odd to me to be on an online date with someone then bash online dating? It’s truly not being conscious and aware of their audience. Great insight Susan!
I’ve noticed a lot of men do this. Maybe women do too but not sure since I only want a man. But anyway, I found it hypocritical to bash women for being online but they are the same. Reminds me of the men who would bash single moms until it’s discovered they are single dads.
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