GETTING THE FIRST DATE RIGHT

BEST FIRST IMPRESSIONS!

GETTING THE FIRST DATE RIGHT: A WINNING YOU,
MISTAKES TO AVOID

Through some enticing combination of screen time andvoice communication it’s come down to this—the first date. Is it theopening page of a story that will last a lifetime? Or a disappointingevening you may never get back?

THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT

There are two kinds of first dates. Short ones andlong ones. If the conversation leading up to it has been brief—say acouple of messages, maybe a quick call—it makes sense to meet just forcoffee or a drink at a public place you choose together.

We often know in just minutes whether we feel aconnection and are attracted to somebody. There’s no end of tomorrowsif the spark is there (you can even turn drinks into dinner if it’slove at first sight). But the short date gives singles a comfortableway to introduce themselves, learn a little about each other and make agraceful exit. Besides, almost everyone is interesting for an hour.

Then there’s the long first date. This likely comesup after a more extensive connection, probably including some“getting-to-know-you” conversations. Ready to invest in an evening?Here’s how to make the best of it. (Most of what follows also appliesto the short date and we know you’re smart enough to figure out whichones or you wouldn’t be here.)

1. BE YOURSELF, BUT BE YOUR BEST SELF
Althoughit’s easier said than done, we’re really at our most attractive whenwe’re being ourselves, relaxed and natural. Trying too hard to impressoften achieves the opposite. It’s a date, not a court appearance. Butdon’t get too relaxed. Dating still means bringing two grown peopletogether, each with their own particular history. A certain amount ofcare and consideration is in order. Trust your instincts; err on theside of caution.

2. FLATTERY IS GOLDEN
Flatterymay not get you everywhere but it’s a good step in the right direction.We all like to be seen as appealing or talented. Find somethingattractive or interesting about your date and let him or her know itand the earlier in the date the better. It will put your date at ease.(“What a great smile you have!” “Brilliant suggestion! I’ve alwayswanted to try this place.”)

3. ASK QUESTIONS
Considerpreparing for the date; take another look at their dating profile.Asking thoughtful questions does a bunch of good things so have a fewready. Questions get people talking about their favorite subject(themselves); meanwhile you get to learn a lot about them. Ask aboutwork or career interests. Who are their best friends? What are theirfavorite places in town? What do they like to do in their spare time?What are they passionate about? Ask follow up questions. Surely there’scommon ground. An interesting coincidence?

4. PAY CLOSE ATTENTION
Avoidscanning the room and maintain eye contact. Make your date feel theyhave your undivided attention. The only conceivable reason to have yourcell phone with you is for serious emergencies; in that case, let theother person know about it up front. If you absolutely must checkmessages a trip to the bathroom will provide cover. Otherwise,answering your phone or checking messages at the table earns you aticket to The First Date Hall of Shame.

5. IT’S A CONVERSATION, NOT A MONOLOG
Listenas much as you talk. It’s fine to talk about yourself but keep a lid onit. Mystery sells better than history sometimes. Avoid rants about yourexes; in fact keep discussion of past relationships to a minimum. Bepositive. Allow for response time. Watch and mirror your date’s moodand body language. Be funny. And don’t talk about sex (unless it’ssomething funny…and maybe even then).

6. ESPECIALLY FOR MEN
By almostall accounts, women like a man with a plan, a bit of a take chargeattitude. It suggests you’ll be a solid, protective partner. Arrangethe long first dating date well in advance, select a familiarrestaurant (it doesn’t have to be expensive and maybe shouldn’t be),make the reservations and call her to confirm arrangements. Show up ontime and demonstrate approval with an early compliment (if all elsefails “you look great,” delivered with the boy-am-I-a-lucky-guy headshake, will do the job). Some authorities claim that a sense of humorvirtually guarantees a man a second date. And, unless there’s been anexplicit understanding to the contrary, pick up the check. (Draw it toyou right away but don’t look at it for awhile.)

THE CLOSE: SHORT OR LONG

Whether it’s been the short cup of coffee or the longevening date, if it doesn’t look like there’s a bright future it’s wiseto avoid expressing false intentions. “I’ve enjoyed meeting you” orsomething noncommittal works better than “let’s do this again” if youhave no such intention. It’s part of life if things don’t cometogether. A more compatible connection is waiting for you right here atYouand.me.

On the other hand, if the spark is lit and clearlymutual it’s okay to set another date, share a brief caress and a lightkiss. The first date is behind you, one of those things that onlyhappen once in a relationship. The electrifying promise of an intimateconnection beckons on the romantic horizon.