Online dating can be intimidating, especially the first time you give it a try. You've exchanged a few e-mails, and it's gone relatively well. You both like sushi, the Black Keys, and the same political party. Now, you're finally ready to meet in person.
But there's so much pressure! Maybe you didn’t spark the conversation through an online dating site, but rather, you met in person. Either way, don't stress. These tips will guarantee that "I had a nice time" text after dinner and at least a second date.
Preserve the mystery.
I'm constantly terrified that whoever I'm on a date with is actually an axe murderer, so this part is easy for me. Whether or not you fear this as a real possibility, it’s important to remain mysterious on the first date. There is no way that he imagined you to be exactly as you are from the text description and few photos on your online profile. Aside from the little introductory conversation that has taken place, this person knows very little about you. Take advantage of the mystery and let him play the guessing game for a while. It makes you more appealing, which means he’ll need that second date.
1. Do not - I repeat - do NOT give away your last name. This is just a safety precaution, in case this person turns out to be a total whack job. And do I really have to say this? Don't let him pick you up or know where you live. If you two end up being completely wrong for one another, you don’t know this person well enough to know your personal information.
2. It's a good rule of thumb to pretend that you have a deep family secret of some sort. I like to pretend that my family is secret royalty, and therefore, I can't give much personal information. Whatever you stir up, don't feel bad about it. It's only the first date. The entire purpose of the first date is to leave him wanting more.
3. He doesn't need to know where you work. Say that you work at an ad agency, or something else company obscure. You don't need to specifically name a company. Hell, you don't even need to be honest about the kind of work that you're in if you don't feel comfortable. This isn't being dishonest. It's dispensing information on a need-to-know basis. I was telling a date once that I love doing karaoke and go every Friday night. When he asked where I usually go, I said I couldn't tell him. What if he's a crazy, and then I have to change karaoke bars? Not happening.
4. Turn the subject onto him.
Use his name.
People love hearing their own name, and if you use it, they will feel more engaged. Plus, studies show that using someone's name shows them that they are important to you (that what you're saying to him wouldn't apply to just anybody), and so they are more likely to reciprocate by making an effort to get to know you better.
While you're at it, make sure you ask your date plenty of questions about him. It's tempting, especially if you're into somebody, to go in trying to impress them as much as you can by talking about your awesome job, your thriving social life, and all your accomplishments. It's true: people love to talk about themselves, especially to someone who genuinely cares. So as much as you want to talk about yourself, genuinely care about your date.
Give cues that you are listening and that you understand what they're saying (i.e. "That must have been so hard,” or "That’s so interesting!") Nod and give vocal cues. Say something later on in the date referencing what he'd said earlier to show that you really were listening. The first date is just a big game of body language. Play that game, and the rules will work in your favor.
A man likes it when a woman appears super confident, and vice versa, for that matter. Whether or not that's actually who you are, it doesn't matter because fortunately, you can fake it. Here's how:
1. Look him in the eye. Don't be creepy and look him square-in-the-eye at all times, but don't dodge eye contact, either. Show that you have nothing to hide and no reason to be shy because you are fabulous. Practice making eye contact with people you find yourself in conversation with: friends, your boss, strangers, etc.
2. Don't forget to breathe. You may not even realize you're doing it, but you hold your breath when you're feeling nervous. Periodically throughout the date, tell yourself to take a big, deep, relaxed breath. You'll instantly appear more calm, and thus, more confident.
3. Fix that b*tchy resting face. Be aware of the expression you're wearing and always have a faint smile. It helps to raise your eyebrows ever so slightly, which makes you look more awake, more interested, and more engaged. It's great practice to assess your facial expressions when hanging out with a friend or a co-worker before the date. Stay aware of your expression. Does it say that you're bored? Tired? Apathetic? Unhappy?
4. Stand or sit up tall. Tuck in your tummy, gently pull your shoulders back, and uncross your arms. Again, you have nothing to hide, so don't look as if you do. Also, remember that body language is everything. If you remain closed off, the conversation will come to a rapid close.
There you have it. If it's possible for anyone to succeed on that first date, it’s you. Now go home, have a glass of wine, and await the adoring text message inviting you out again tomorrow night.
Top Photo Courtesy: Tumblr