A first date fills you with excitement and trepidation in equal measure. Luckily, the DDM matchmakers have been supporting and soothing our clients’ nerves since 1984, and have some handy tips to help you prepare for a fun-filled first date.
1. Never say sometime
Never say ‘would you like to go on a date sometime?’ Make a specific request regarding a date at least a week ahead, and offer an alternative so there is a choice. For a first date suggest a mid-week day, not a Friday or Saturday (except lunch). Don’t go to a film, concert or even restaurant on your first date.
2. Be public
Always meet in a public place that is accessible to both of you – never in each other’s homes and of course never in the street. It is also considered more than a little selfish to pick somewhere just because it is convenient for you.
3. Choose a quiet venue
Eg. 5th floor bar at Waterstone’s in Piccadilly or a quiet bar in Kensington. It is ok to choose a place with an atmosphere but too much ambient noise could potentially make the date stressful, there is nothing worse than having to ask your date to repeat themselves.
4. Arrange your own transport to and from the date
Take your date’s contact numbers in case of last minute problems, and ensure you know how you are getting home from your date.
5. Arrange for the date to be short
Here at DDM we recommend meeting for 90 minutes no more on a first date. The old adage “always leave them wanting more” is never truer here. You will still be looking forward to discovering more about each other next time. With long dates you are likely to either run out of steam, leading to odd conversations and the sharing of far too much intimate information.
6. Be punctual
Chaps, please remember that it is much more embarrassing for a woman to wait alone in a bar.
Enjoying our sound dating advice? Appreciate even more? For FREE? Download our First Date Toolkit here.
7. Ensure your conversation is up to date
Do your homework: read or listen to the news, current affairs, be up to speed with what is happening globally. Why? It makes you a more interesting date, and there is nothing worse than being caught out not knowing about what is going on with world events. If you are really clueless, make it beguiling and tell your date how much you would love to hear more about their perspective on the topic. Then let them wax lyrical…
If you are never quite sure what to say on a first date, then our first date conversations guide might be the answer!
8. Update your voicemail
Update your voicemail, or even better, switch it off. If you are running late you might get a call so do you have a happy, positive message on your voicemail? You really don’t want a dreary message putting your date on a strange footing.
9. Admit to being nervous
Nervous on a date? Here’s how to zap nerves: simply own up to them. Your date probably feels nervous too and you can both laugh about it, which diffuses the tension. Vulnerability is always an attractive trait.
10. Body watch
Not just admiring your date’s figure, but reading their body language to see how they are reacting to you. Are they looking interested or bored? Is their body facing sideways or directly at you? Arms folded? Eyes engaging with yours or looking away? Note any flirting gestures such as “preening”, touching hair, throat or clothing, caressing their body or objects sensuously.
Turn on signs: they are facing you, feet pointed towards you, pupils dilated, smiling, sideways glances, prolonged eye contact, raised eyebrows, upright posture, boobs/chest + bums more prominent, pulling in tummy, hair primping, adjusting tie, touching objects, crossing/uncrossing legs.
One signal on its own is not enough – look for a cluster of body language signals.
11. Know your body language
Seductive dates are also in touch with their own body language. Hold your gaze a millisecond longer. Don’t look over their shoulder. Sit tall, don’t fold your arms. Smile – not effusively as this looks emotionally needy.
Ask a friend about how your smile and gestures come across – you may be in for a shock!
12. Create rapport
Create rapport by mirroring your date’s positive body language, also their voice tone and pacing.
13. Say their name
Say your date’s name from time to time in conversation – simple, and it can have an electric effect. Like the ringing of a bell, the sound of your name being said is one of the sweetest sounds a person can hear. Just make sure to ask in advance to ensure you are pronouncing it correctly!
14. Offer compliments
Offer compliments but never overtly sexual or risqué. What kind of compliments? Do you like the venue they picked, the suit, dress or outfit they have on? Say so! Don’t go too over the top, but a kind, friendly, genuine compliment goes a long way to making your date feeling comfortable and warm in your presence.
15. Be curious
Seductive people (listen up, guys) are generally very curious. But they don’t interrogate. This isn’t an interview. They typically ask what their date feels or thinks – not just factual or yes/no questions. Why is their work so satisfying? What do they feel about the art exhibition or play they saw? What do they think about the actions of a particular public figure or celebrity?
16. Listen and talk
Check out whether you are taking up more or less than 50% of talking time – men please take special notice here!
Do more proactive listening – repackaging and paraphrasing back to your date to get them to elaborate: ‘so you’re keen on scuba – tell me more’, ‘so you enjoy cooking – what sort of food? There is lots of evidence that men talk too much about themselves on first dates – the result: the woman feels bored and the man thinks she had a fascinating time!
17. Good manners and niceties
Old fashioned as some people think they are, charm and manners always win the day. Even in these days of equality most women prefer a man to open doors, help them on with their coat. The old custom of men walking on the outside of the pavement is still surprisingly much appreciated by some!
It is always a cardinal sin for a date to talk with their mouth full!
18. To split the bill or not?
In spite of greater equality, men still generally earn more than women, and women spend far more prior to a date than men do. From feedback I’ve received it seems that the woman should offer to pay her share and then give in gracefully if the man tries to pay. I don’t agree with this, strongly. Why? Don’t offer if you don’t plan on paying. You will only be disappointed. As a dear male friend told me not that long ago “Men know they should pay on a first date”
19. Physical presentation
If you let yourself down in the way you present yourself, your date will be history. Women put a lot of effort into how they look, and a surprising number of men don’t. Unsightly nails and mossy teeth seem to be the culprits in men, followed by scruffy/stale clothes, especially shoes.
In fact, at Drawing Down the Moon, we are well known for being frank with potential clients about such matters. Both men and women should pay attention to posture – alpha males and fabulous amazonian women don’t stoop. Think tall.
20. Never pressure your date sexually the first time you meet
Gone are the days when sex was “expected” on a first, second or third date. Someone who holds back sexually is always much more intriguing, and most importantly there is no rule that you should have sex at a certain time. Other than my advice to wait 30 days before having sex in order to ensure a long term relationship.
21. Confirm you enjoyed the date
If you are a gentleman, ask your date to confirm they got home safely, it is both chivalrous and stylish. Both men and Women, please do send a text or whatsapp after a great date saying how much you enjoyed it. Don’t overdo it however as seeming too keen is a big turn off.
22. Ring when you say
Don’t promise to phone if you don’t mean it. This one requires no more explanation. It is just rude.
23. Don’t judge too soon
First dates can be misleading because of the psychological pressures on the occasion. It’s just a date! Neither of you are intending to marry anyone – just yet. This is not about deciding if they would get on with your friends, or you would or wouldn’t like their parents. This is also not a time to assess chemistry, after all, this is just lust, which is no predictor of a successful relationship. Unlike popular belief, you do not need chemistry on a first date to go on a second, in fact I would go so far as to say it was totally at your disadvantage to do so…
Because of the expectations and tensions surrounding first dates it’s often difficult to relax and be flirtatious. If you are feeling intense or not flirting, your date is less likely to flirt and you will not find them so attractive.
They might be the right person for you and it could just be the wrong time. But keep your boundaries clear – never let a date think you really fancy them if you don’t. That’s cruel.
24. Saying ‘No”
You don’t want to meet again? – thank your date, wish them well. Don’t say “we must do this again sometime” even though it is code for I won’t see you again, there is no point keeping up someones hopes. If they message you following the date asking to meet again, and you 100% definitely do not wish to do so, then be polite. Thank them for a lovely evening, tell them they were a lovely date, and you know they will find the right person for them, but that you know that person is not you. Be polite and caring, no matter how the date went, they too are just looking for love.
25. Give people a chance
Don’t write dates off just because they don’t provide all the ticks on your shopping list. Most people end up marrying someone who didn’t fit our preconceptions and very often possessed less than 60% of the attributes we were seeking. Give people a chance.
26. Hang out with positive, happy people if this is how you want to be yourself
It’s catching (so is being with moaners and groaners).
Above all, keep it light! Have fun – and remember it’s only a date!
Oh, here’s some more strategic dating stuff on how to find and keep a date:
The more dates you go on, just for practice, the easier it gets to find compatible people and become more attractive to them. One new date a year and it’s a big deal if it doesn’t work out. A dozen new dates and you’ll have learned lots, become more relaxed and attractive, and you will find it easier to give out flirt signals.
This is what I call the Domino Dating or the Ripple Dating effect: one date leads to another, directly or indirectly. It might be with a friend of the person you have dated, later on it might even be with the same person because you are feeling more confident and therefore radiate more attractiveness, it might be because you have just got to enjoy the adventure of dating and discovering new people or you’ve created a new circle of single, available friends through dating.
So go for volume. I don’t mean that you should become a serial dater – just more adventurous. So, how do you do this?
Use your friends
Telemarket your friends and explain you want them to find you a date, not Mr or Ms 100% just 60%. Very few people utilise this obvious networking resource for finding dates. Even have a ‘Launch Party’ for your new found dating mission and ask all guests to bring one single friend.
Activities – casual and organised
Courses in subjects likely to interest the opposite sex: languages, music, computers. Dancing. Skiing. Get a dog – “can my dog say ‘hello’ to your dog”. Scuba. Speed dating, wine tasting, debates, social events
Dating Agencies – Us !
Dating Agencies are filled with interesting, relationship minded people who either don’t have time to date online, or simply couldn’t due to their profile. Much like a tennis coach, or a dry cleaner, our clients are discerning people from all walks of life who realise that working with a trusted friend is better than going it alone.
Not everyone is accepted however, with a number of criteria that we take into consideration before inviting someone to join Drawing Down the Moon Matchmaking.
Dating sites and apps
Great fun but beware of people not being who they say they are. A YouGov poll showed that 29% of people on dating apps were in committed monogamous relationships.
However, we are far from critical of dating apps. If you have the time, the energy and the inclination, it can be a superb way to meet a partner. Just watch out for dating fatigue.
Drawing Down the Moon are London’s premier matchmaking and dating agency. Register online now or call +44 (0)20 7224 1001 to speak to one of our friendly, multi-award-winning matchmakers.
And don’t forget.. If you thought these ideas were helpful, you need to download our Free First Date Toolkit.
If you are ready to meet someone special, contact the friendly award winning matchmakers at Drawing Down the Moon Matchmaking.