She said yes. Amazing. Sh!t.. now what?? As challenging as it can be getting that date, it can feel totally debilitating to know where to even begin trying to put a date together. Here’s your cheat sheet.
Have a plan. First dates are often great in neutral locations and times so that she feels more comfortable, particularly if you met online (OkCupid, Match etc.) and have not met in person yet. Neutral times are before dark and neutral locations are those some people around such as a park. If you have a sense of what she might be into based on her profile or from a conversation that you had, steer toward those interests. If she’s into art or music, check out logistics for a local museum or daytime show at the town square. Similarly, if she does not seem at all into physical activities, don’t suggest rock climbing or bear hunting. Avoid really loud environments (cuts into conversation), movies (ditto), and overly intimate settings (can produce high expectations and anxiety). Have a backup time and place in your back pocket–plan B–in case the first one doesn’t work out for whatever reason.
Call her, don’t text her. It shows that you are really interested, and this kind of “I choose you” behavior goes a long way in a relationship, even at the beginning. Ask about how she’s doing/how her week’s been, then let her know that you’d like to take her out. Assertively (more on this in No More Mr. Nice Guy, very recommended) suggest a time, and once you have that sorted, suggest the location. I love the word “Let’s…” in doing this because it has a sense of inclusiveness and communicates assertiveness without being too bossy or demanding. Something like, “How’s 3p this Saturday?” then, “Great, let’s do the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.” Finally, “I am happy to pick you up somewhere or we can simply meet there?” Typically a woman will choose to meet you there on the first date (safety and I-don’t-know-you-yet reasons, nothing personal toward you), but you have given her a subtle message that chivalry is not dead and you will likely be offering to pick her up on potential future dates.
Logistics check. Make sure the place you are going to is open, and that you have a backup in case of rain or any other reason (hint: Yelp app on your smartphone). Get there a few minutes early. Have cash in your pocket. Have your phone on you in case you need to text her that you are running a few minutes late or something comes up on her end. And of course, be smelling fresh, looking fresh (according to what the venue calls for), breathing fresh.
Anxiety check. She’ll be feeling anxious on the date as well, which may come as some consolation. To manage yours, do some deep breathing, channel one of the favorite people in your life, and imagine that you are just out for an enjoyable Saturday afternoon (which, in fact, you are).
Check out the top 10 do’s and don’ts on a date here. And before I forget the most important piece of advice… have fun!
Jeremi McManus, founder of SF Relationship Coaching & Psychotherapy, is a Relationship Coach and Psychotherapist who works with people who want more fulfilling and satisfying relationships. His own challenges in dating and relating were instrumental in leading him into this field, so if you feel like you could use some perspective, he’d love to hear from you. Jeremi is a licensed MFT and delighted to call San Francisco home.