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How to Be Great on a First Date

April S. Lambert, LMFT

Going out with someone for the first time can be scary, right? How should I dress? What will I talk about? How should I act? As a Marriage and Family Therapist I get to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly of what people have experienced on dates, especially in an era of online dating. So if you want to be great on a first date, here are some helpful tips:

Be Clean and Well Groomed

“You never have a second chance to make a good first impression”

Will Rogers

Wear something that looks like you made an effort to look good. Your clothes don’t have to be fancy, but they do need to be clean, matching and unwrinkled. It never hurts to smell nice also. Dressing up for a date is a sign that you are putting your best foot forward and shows respect for the person you are going to be with.

Don't Dominate the Conversation

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; but of thinking of yourself less”

 CS Lewis

The number one complaint I hear about first dates is that often the guy (sorry guys), talk way too much about themselves without ever asking their date anything about themself. Now, this is a common communication problem for many people, not knowing when or how to turn the conversation over to the other person. Think of it like playing a good game of social tennis. The ball needs to go back and forth over the net for both players to be playing tennis and having fun. The same is true in conversation. If you find that you have been talking for 5 minutes for example, switch gears and ask a question about the other person. Let’s say that you have been talking about your dog Tigger, and your date seems interested and keeps making encouraging comments, which makes you believe that they are just as fascinated about your dog as you are. DON’T FALL FOR IT! It is still time to switch gears, ask a good question and move the game along. Your Serve!

Be Present and Stay Engaged

“The most desired gift of love is not diamonds or roses or chocolate. It is focused attention” 

Being distracted is the norm of our day. Our cell phones are always one glance away and can feel like a giant black hole, always sucking us in. On a date, resist the temptation to look at your phone; instead, give the person in front of you your focused attention and hopefully they, in turn, will give you theirs. If you took the time to meet up with this person, then give it your all, even if you may already be feeling that this person is not for you. It takes time and energy to connect to another human being, way more energy than watching a YouTube Video or sending a text. So on a date, be present, stay engaged and you never know, you may meet the love of your life.


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