I Asked All My Tinder Matches For Their Best Dating Tips & They Actually Gave Great Advice

It's funny. I spend half of my waking hours crafting sexts for strangers, dishing out dating advice to friends (and asking for their tips in exchange), or chatting with relationship experts about how best to overcome the hurdles of modern dating. But you know whose counsel I rarely seek? Guys on dating apps — i.e. the fellows I'd actually (potentially) be going out with IRL. So I decided to turn the tables and ask a bunch of my matches for their best first date tips in an effort to round out my own knowledge and get a sense of what men really want. Or, at least, what seven men in the greater London area between the ages of 18 and 28 really want.

In truth, I had fairly low expectations for this experiment. I was prepared for guys to hit me with cagey responses ("Why are you asking?) or clichéd suggestions ("Just be yourself"). And while several replies fell into these two categories — and several people unmatched me upon learning that I was a dating writer (whoops!) — a handful of gents also shared real, honest, and thoughtful advice.

According to these guys, what men want — what they really, really want — is to go out with someone who approaches their date with an open mind, understands the art of balancing sharing their own stories with listening to others, and is down to have a good time. I'll let them take it from here.

Marc, 25

Marc offered up the classic advice, "Be yourself, have fun." Then he threw a curveball and recommended doing something *exciting.* Which obviously meant playing mini golf.

(PS: At least three other guys also suggested mini golf. Are all men secretly obsessed with mini golf? Is it the pinnacle of romance? Am I missing something? Please report back.)

Daniel, 23

Ugh, Daniel annoyed me. First off, he apparently doesn't understand the meaning of the word, "Shucks." Second, his top first date tip was a lackluster, "Let her pick the place."

Like please. Use your imagination, Daniel.

Also, am I the only one who would rather have my date plan out the evening than have to pick the spot myself? IDK. Moving on.

Aaron, 23

Next up was Aaron, who gave some advice that I'd never heard before and absolutely adore: Treat your date like a friend, not a stranger.

Now, if you — like me — have a tendency to braid your friends' hair, ask if they "have any idea what's going on with your uterus," or force them to watch Timothée Chalamet interviews on a loop, maybe don't take this advice super literally. But approaching the situation as though you're hanging out in a casual setting, rather than trying to prove yourself, is a great way to go. It also probably makes dates feel a whole lot more like dates and less like job interviews, I'm sure.

Minding your manners and seeking out similarities, or "common ground," never hurt, either.

Sam, 27

Glad to know Sam assumed that, at 25, I had never been on a date and was seeking the advice of strangers on Tinder to really nail down my first date etiquette.

If this had been the case, boy would I have been lucky to have Sam here. Get to know each other? On a date? You don't say!

Kalel, 28

Umm, is Kalel also a dating writer? I hope so. Because Homeboy had a ton of first date tips, and honestly, they were pretty solid.

No dinners. (Totally agree — plus, eating and small talk don't exactly go hand-in-hand. At least not for me. Ask anyone who's ever seen me eat an egg salad sandwich, which yes, I would totally order on a date. Have I veered off-topic? Excuse me.)

BACK TO KALEL'S SAGE ADVICE: Have some questions ready. Try to focus your attention on one person at a time. And don't waste your time on people with whom you're not truly compatible.

I totally agree. On all fronts.

Matt, 27

I switched the narrative around a bit with Matt and asked what type of dating advice he might give to friends. He came back with four tips, and I'd say they're all worth taking. Sure, the phrase "neutral ground" makes dating sound a little like an overly aggressive, combat situation, but I guess love is a battlefield?

Hussien, 27

Hussien started with, "Don't get lost." Which, while sensible, isn't exactly dating advice. I mean, I try not to get lost all of the time, Hussien, and often find myself wandering down dark alleyways because Google Maps told me to. It's not that easy.

He followed his navigational advice up with this little nugget of truth, though: If you and your date click, everything else will likely fall into place. Which makes total sense.

TBH, I think we sometimes overuse the "If it's right, it's right" trope. Not all connections are instant, and we tend to brush past our close friends' crazy proclamations much more easily than a stranger's (trust me, I learned the hard way).

But I think more often than not, if you click with a person, you click. No crazy first date tips or tricks required. And if you do need tips, well, just scroll up. And maybe suggest a round of mini golf?