The 5 A's That Make Up The Anatomy Of A Great First Date

by Sydney McBride

Dating is such a double-edged sword. Some of us love it and some of us hate it.

I have friends who are serial daters, and I have friends who date so selectively. It’s like an FBI background test to take them out.

A first date is even more nerve-racking: meeting someone new, one on one, wondering if you will even really like him or her and whether he or she will like you.

I can’t tell you the number of group chats I’ve been in with friends prepping before a night out with someone.

What should I wear? What should I say? What questions should I ask? What if I need to get out of there as quickly as possible?

Yes, we all think about it, overanalyze and stress ourselves out — usually over nothing.

Dating doesn’t have to be stressful. You actually can have a decent time with the majority of people you go out with, even if it doesn’t lead to anything more. You just need to keep dating in perspective.

Here are the five things you need to remember to have a really great date:


If you want someone to think you are interesting, you have to be interested.

Do not tell your life story, do not talk all about yourself and do not show all of your cards. Ask questions and really try to learn about the other person.

It’s easy to judge a book by its cover, but it’s so much better when someone surprises you with depth, knowledge and humor that you weren’t expecting.

The only way to find this is to ask questions and engage in conversation.


Don’t ask someone a question just because you want to tell him or her your answer to the question immediately after you hear his or hers.

When someone tells you a story or answers a question, first acknowledge what he or she said. People need to feel heard. A simple, “wow,” ”yes,” or a, “I couldn’t agree more,” can go a long way.

No one wants to share something to have it feel like the other person wasn’t listening, just waiting to reply.

Acknowledge what someone says and shares, then add to it. You have to make someone feel validated for him or her to want to open up to you.


Even the most confident people need affirmation on a first date.

A simple compliment can go a long way. You might think a girl knows she looks pretty, but it’s better if she hears it from you.

You might think that guy knows he looks nice, but it goes a long way if you just tell him.

It doesn’t need to be over-the-top and it doesn’t need to forced. If you had a great time with someone, if you thought he was funny or if you can’t wait to see her again, say so!

People aren’t mind readers; start with great communication in the beginning so it can build into great communication as the relationship progresses.


You are not a peacock. You do not need to spread out your feathers and show them to the world on a first date.

A first date isn’t about knocking it out of the park on the first try; it’s about figuring out if there is enough substance to move forward.

First dates can be really awkward; nerves do crazy things to people.

It takes a while to see if you could actually be compatible with someone, and it takes even longer to really get to know someone.

You have plenty of time to share your accomplishments, so you don’t need to bring a list of them with you to dinner.

Relationships don’t last based on the trophies and awards you have won in the past or the type of car you drive.

Relationships last based on who you are and what core values you most believe in.


Manners do still matter. You should always say thank you.

Whether or not you decide on a second date, you can still appreciate spending time with someone who can teach you something. You can learn from everyone.

Dating is just as much about getting to know someone else as it is getting to know yourself, and figuring out the things that you really want and need out of a partner.

Appreciate dating and don’t let the stress of trying to find "the one" make you forget that you need to put forth your best effort to be the one someone else would want to date.

The truth is, we don’t have magic with everyone. Some people can be more than great on paper, but lacking chemistry when you meet in person.

Some people can be questionable through text, but completely engaging when you finally get to speak to them.

Dating can lead to networking, friendship, new opportunities and yes, a really great relationship.

So, give it a chance and go into every date knowing it will lead you closer to finding what you really want.