Mastering the first date: the dos and don’ts!

First dates can be downright terrifying, especially if you're just out of a relationship or haven't been on the dating scene in a while.

The most important thing to remember is that whoever you're meeting is probably just as nervous as you are. There is no point in freaking out – this is just a first date after all, a chance for you both to get to know eachother. It's not about selling yourself, it's about having a good time with someone new!

That said, there are a few basic dos and don'ts to keep in mind to ensure you show off your best self…

What to do

Do… speak up and be decisive
Saying "oh, I don't mind" to every question he asks about where to eat/what pub to try/what film to see doesn't show that you're totally chill, it just shows that you're… well, a little dull. Indecisiveness can get old, fast, so if you have a suggestion or an opinion on something, say it!

Do… be on time
At this stage in our lives we should all have a solid idea of how long we need to get ready for an evening out, so allow yourself ample time to prepare. Yes, arriving fashionably late might seem charming and sweet, but he'll appreciate you much more if you show up on time and don't leave him sitting by himself with only his nerves for company.

Do… avoid your phone
Checking our phone is something we do so many times a day that we barely even notice it's happening. Avoid getting lost in Facebook alerts or work emails by just putting your phone out of reach, in your bag or coat pocket. You're here to get to know each other so make the most of it!

Do… act interested
The best way to avoid awkward lulls in conversation is simply to ask questions. As you two get chatting, you'll find things flow more naturally, but having a few semi-general questions on hand is a great way to start things off.


What not to do

Don't… wear something uncomfortable
Yes, that high-waisted skirt might look A1, but if you can't breathe in it after two bites of dinner then maybe it's best to leave it in your wardrobe. A first date is nerve-wracking enough without you having to worry about how you look.

Don't… skip a meal beforehand
It's natural to lose your appetite if you're feeling a little nervous, but skipping lunch will only make you more jittery. The same goes for eating on the date – if you're going for lunch or dinner, then order as you normally would. Going for "just a green salad, please" when it's totally NOT you isn't going to make you appear any more feminine or attractive, in fact it'll probably just make him feel uncomfortable.

Don't… talk about your exes
Other men are the number one no-go topic on a first date. Be it other guys you're seeing right now or that ex who totally screwed you over, just avoid the topic until you've at least gotten through Date #1. Trust us on this one!

Don't… freak out over the bill
If the bill comes, offer to pay, but if he seems keen to cover it himself, then accept graciously, say it'll be your treat the next time and leave it at that. Don't push the issue if he genuinely wants to pay. If you two are meeting in a bar, let him buy the first round and buy the next one yourself. That way, you're both on even footing with no hassle.