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Matchmaker Alyssa Bunn’s First Date Manual

Nearly everyone feels nervous when going on a first date. Your anxiety might be mild or massive. A few - or many - butterflies are bound to appear when you’ll be spending time with someone you don’t know well (if at all). So, we must keep in mind that dating is a process...

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Old ways won’t open new doors.

Nearly everyone feels nervous when going on a first date. Your anxiety might be mild or massive. A few – or many – butterflies are bound to appear when you’ll be spending time with someone you don’t know well (if at all).

So, we must keep in mind that dating is a process.

First dates are opportunities. Opportunities to meet new people, get to know them better, and then decide if you want to pursue another date. Of course, first impressions are important, but to help you have fun without the blunder, here are a few rules of thumb:

1. Dress to impress… yourself!

Most of us know dressing like a slob on a date sends a bad message, but some people err by dressing up too much. Wearing ‘black tie’ is great if you’re off to the orchestra, but if you’re just meeting for coffee? That same outfit will indicate an absence of social intelligence. What you wear communicates your ability to navigate social scenes. Above all, always remember that it’s most important to dress in what makes you feel comfortable and best complements your personality. When you feel good, your date can sense that positivity and confidence — and we all know that confidence is key.

2. Mind your manners.

Punctuality. Not all struggle with this one, but many do. For those that are routinely late, consider running 15-minutes early for your first date. Being late sets a terrible first impression. Also, remember to be kind to service (wo)men and practice proper table manners.

For more on minding your manners, check out our dating etiquette series

3. Think of your date as a meet-and-greet.

Lower the pressure and keep your expectations realistic. A first date is far too fragile to support expectations of a future relationship. Throw away the pretense and be who you are. If you’re dating through Tawkify, your Matchmaker selected you two to meet — and found you to be compatible for a reason.

Now relax, breathe, and just be present. Remember, expectations are just resentments waiting to happen.

4. Visualize success.

Many Positive and Sports Psychologists encourage the use of positive “mental rehearsals” for optimal performance. It’s true – we become our thoughts! Before your date, get a pep talk from a friend to bolster courage and self-esteem. Give yourself a last-minute mirror check. Worry less about your nose, your crow’s feet, your clothes or your nail beds. Think kind thoughts about what’s inside. Review your best qualities, so that you think less about yourself on the first date and concentrate more on what the other person is saying.

5. Conversation is key.

Follow the 60/40 rule. You should be asking more questions than spouting off about your ex, medical history, how bad you are at dating, what you’re looking for in an ideal partner, or lecturing on your cherished beliefs. In fact, best not to mention topics 1-3 entirely. Talking too much makes it hard for the other person to get a word in. We all like a little mystery – so don’t feel that you must reveal everything on the first date. If you find yourself more talkative when you get nervous, try asking open-ended questions as these allow for longer, more fruitful responses from the other person.

For specific conversation starters, check out Matchmaker Says: Let’s Give Em’ Something to Talk About.

6. Two drinks, max!

Limit yourself to two drinks. It’s a great way to ensure you’re present and not loosening inhibitions beyond what is appropriate or useful. Remember to stay hydrated before and during the date, so for every glass of wine, have a glass of water. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

7. Social savvy, baby!

Adding your date on Facebook or following them right away on Instagram is presumptuous. It presumes an intimacy that may not actually be there and it also makes it harder to gauge the progress of the relationship. Allow yourself to sleep on it and complete the feedback session with your Matchmaker prior to making the decision on whether or not to pursue things socially.

8. No sex. Period.

He’s hot. You’re hot. Why not? Well, not so fast. Sex clouds your thinking. When you have sex with someone, the relationship shifts focus and becomes about doing it again —the sex, not the date. Any clarity about this person being a future partner goes out the window, in most cases. If the initial chemistry is that great, see if it’s still there on a second or third date.

9. Enjoy yourself!

Unlike most first dates, you had a whole team working to make yours possible (if you’re dating with Tawkify). So, relish in a new experience that is catered and created just for you! Jump in the car, play (or request, if you’re riding sharing!) your favorite song and get ready for a new connection.

Love is meant to be enjoyed, 

Alyssa Bunn
Professional Matchmaker at Tawkify and Founder of Love & Co

Looking for more first date help? Check out:

Cora Considers First Dates

Matchmaker Secret #8: The Complete First Date Guidebook

Ask Renée: Who Picks Up The Check?

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