1. …have a plan for the date gentlemen, and hold loosely to it in case of rain, she expresses a strong dislike for what you have planned–e.g. “I’m allergic to the smell of coffee,” so you compromise for the teahouse instead–or something unexpected happens.
2. …smile at your barista, server, ticket collector, or whoever you come across on your date. Starbucks employees need love too, and you are giving your date a sense of how you might treat them once the honeymoon phase has worn off.
3. …get the door fellas, buy her coffee, and let her go in front of you (chivalry is not dead!). Ladies, see if you can receive his kind gestures as it is a great place to begin building a connection with one another.
4. …practice vulnerability without oversharing, as this creates connection with your date without scaring them off. On initial dates you can practice vulnerability (Brene Brown’s the Power of Vulnerability on Youtube has more) by sharing how you feel about your family moving from San Francisco to NYC, but not necessarily that they did it because of your mom’s terminal Leukemia and the stress that has put on your parents’ marriage.
5. …be interested in whatever your date is talking about. Practice good eye contact, a sense of curiosity about what they are saying (e.g. follow-up questions), and making sure your date has about an even amount of time to talk.
1. ….talk about exes on the first date or two, because this typically results in your date comparing her/himself to your ex. If you are saying good things about the ex, your date feels bad; say bad things about the ex and your date will wonder how often they will have to listen to the b!tching.
2. …ask or talk about things that are boring to you, e.g. work, the weather, or anything that seems to cause your date to glaze over–just because you are passionate about the new camshaft length in the Porsche 911 doesn’t mean she is.
3. …discuss highly charged topics on the first couple dates, such as religion, politics (Romney vs. Obama) or any topic that causes your date to clam up. Get to know one another first, then build on this relationship by gradually broaching more sensitive issues.
4. …take your iPhone or any other phone out of your pocket. Friends and Facebook can wait. If you absolutely must text, do so after excusing yourself to the bathroom. Limit two bathroom breaks per date please.
5. …be all over your date on your first outing together. Men, you are likely to communicate that all you are looking for is sex and scare her off (unless that is what she is looking for) and women, you are likely to communicate desperation or that you don’t have a lot of respect for yourself. Definitely be flirty and physically friendly–perhaps greeting with a hug, occasionally squeeze her knee or brush his forearm–but save anything you wouldn’t do in front of your mother for future dates.
Anything I left out? Holler at me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeremi McManus is a Relationship Coach, Psychotherapist, and Couples Therapist who works with people who want more fulfilling and satisfying relationships. His own ups and downs in dating and relating were instrumental in leading him into this field. If you feel like you could use some perspective, he looks forward to hearing from you. Jeremi is a Licensed Psychotherapist and delighted to call San Francisco home.