When it comes to dating, making a great first-date impression is crucial if you want to score a second date. This involves putting your best foot forward and engaging in good behavior so your date sees you as potential partner material.
However, that might sound easier said than done. If you’re wondering how to make your date see you in a positive light, then our first-date etiquette guide is here to help. From basic manners to follow to certain topics you should avoid, our first-date tips are here to help you make a good first impression on your date.
Check out our advice below to prepare for your next romantic outing!
Practice Basic Hygiene
Your outward appearance plays a big role in the first impression you’re making, so be sure to take special care when getting ready. This means brushing (and flossing!) your teeth, running a comb through your hair, putting on deodorant, and making sure your hands and face are clean.
As for your clothes, you don’t need to dress to the nines but put an effort into your outfit choice, ensuring it’s clean and free of any wrinkles or stains. Also, be sure your clothes fit you right and are comfortable to wear—you don’t want to be fidgeting with sleeves that are too long or a skirt that’s too short. And while you’re at it, avoid wearing anything too revealing or suggestive on the first date. Remember; you want to leave something up to the imagination!
Arrive on Time
Arriving on time is one of the easiest ways to make a good first impression on a date. Not only does it suggest that you’re a prompt person, but it also shows that you respect your date’s time and have prioritized this outing. That said, if you are going to be late, be sure to communicate with your date (and apologize!) so they’re not left wondering if you’re standing them up.
Put Your Phone on Silent
If you’re picking up your phone every time it buzzes and responding to text messages left and right, there’s a good chance you’re killing any chemistry between you two. That’s why putting your phone on silent is another one of the most important first-date tips. When you silence your phone and put it out of view, it shows your date that they have your full, undivided attention. And, without any distractions, you can be fully present in the conversation and more likely to make a good impression.
Mind Your Manners
Being polite is also first-date etiquette. This means minding your manners, from covering your mouth if you feel a yawn coming on to excusing yourself if you accidentally burp. It also includes chewing with your mouth closed, not putting your elbows on the table, and using the proper utensils (not your fingers!) to eat your food. Furthermore, you’ll want to be kind even if you don’t agree with something your date says and refrain from interrupting them. While some table manners might seem old-fashioned, following them can really help you make a good impression.
Make Eye Contact
When on your first date, try to avoid looking around the room, gazing off into the distance, or looking down at your meal the entire time because this may make it seem like you’re bored or disinterested, making your date feel uncomfortable. Instead, look your date in the eyes.
Maintaining eye contact with your date shows you’re engaged in the conversation and not distracted by whatever else is going on in the room. Eye contact can also help you create a connection between you and your date. After all, they say the eyes are the windows to the soul!
Try Not to Overshare
There’s nothing wrong with a little mystery. By that, we mean you don’t have to tell your entire life story over the course of your first date. Your date doesn’t need to know about your childhood pets, the job you’re working that you hate with a passion, or the trials and tribulations of your dating history. No, we’re not recommending that you lie or hide certain aspects of yourself, but you don’t need to divulge every detail about your life within the first five minutes of meeting your date.
Want to make a great first date impression? Then start with active listening! Active listening means actually listening to what your date is saying without mentally preparing what you’re going to say next. This involves listening to their words, digesting the meaning behind them, and allowing yourself to process them before coming up with a response. When you take the time to fully engage in the conversation, you’ll come across as genuinely interested in your date and the things they’re saying.
Don’t Dominate the Conversation
For this next first-date etiquette tip, we recommend not commandeering the conversation. Because if you talk the entire time, it might actually be a turn-off to your date since they won’t be able to get a word in. Sure, it’s OK if you get a little nervous and find yourself taking up a storm, but try to calm down, come up for air, and allow your date to contribute to the conversation. After all, you want the opportunity to find out whether you really like them and share a connection, so you need to let them talk.
When making a great first date impression, it’s crucial to show interest in your date, and you can do so by asking questions. Begin by asking an open-ended question that can help you learn more about the kind of person they are and what they like, and then ask a follow-up question to show you’re invested and engaged in the conversation. For example, you might start by asking your date what their favorite food is and then following up with a question regarding what local restaurants serve that kind of cuisine. However, allow the conversation to flow naturally, and don’t bombard them with one question after the next because it’s a date—not an interview!
Avoid Uncomfortable Topics
Another part of mastering first-date etiquette involves knowing what kind of topics to avoid. Perhaps the biggest no-no topic (and dealbreaker) is your ex. Your date doesn’t want to hear about how great (or not so great) your ex was. In fact, they don’t want to hear about them at all! Politics is another topic you should keep off the table. Sure, you can briefly mention your party preference, but this isn’t the time or place to get into your opinions on polarizing political topics. And finally, don’t talk about dating numbers on your first date, such as how many dates you’ve gone on recently or how many people you’re currently messaging.
Keep the Conversation Light and Upbeat
If you want to make a good first impression on your date, focus on keeping the discussion light and upbeat. Talk about things that make you and your date happy and excited to discuss, such as your pets, careers, and hobbies, and avoid topics that are dark, heavy, gross, depressing, or offensive. Just think, your date will think more fondly of you if you spend your date gushing over your new puppy than discussing the latest gory event in the news.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask About a Second Date
If you felt sparks fly on your first date, don’t be afraid to suggest a follow-up date. This confident, straightforward move lets your date know that you’re interested in them and prevents them from wondering if they left a good impression on you! If the feelings are mutual, you’ll both leave the date with the comfort of knowing you’re on the same page.