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How To Have A Wonderful First Date

Ah, the first date. Right up there with exams and job interviews, it’s one of life’s situations that makes our knees knock together just from the thought of it! You’ve met someone, you like them, and you think that there’s a chance they might like you – but where to go, how to dress, what to say?! Have no fear – here’s a guide to get you through that all-important first date.

 Ask
So you met a friend of a friend, or someone cute at the coffee shop, and you’ve decided that you’d like to meet up with them for a little one-to-one interaction! If you’ve already met them a couple of times and had a few conversations, it’s not too forward to ask for their number, or, in these modern times, add them on Facebook! (What did we do before Facebook?!) If you don’t particularly know them, or any of their friends, it might just be a good idea to be completely brazen about it and tell them outright that you’d like to go for a coffee/see a film/attend a poetry reading. Be brave! And if you’re the one who’s been asked out – reply enthusiastically!

 Choose
If you’re the one who’s done the asking, then first of all, well done you! Give yourself a pat on the back. Now, where are you going to take this fine suitor? If you want to play it safe, then taking them out for a meal, going to the cinema or having a drink at your local are all good choices. On the other hand, if you want to stir things up a bit – or your sense that your potential partner is a little eccentric! – then why not take them to the zoo, a carnival, the seaside, or ice skating? Whatever you decide, let them know – turning up to surprise them with a pair of roller skates and a protective helmet might not impress them all that much!

 Clarify
First of all, find a casual, flirtatious way to clarify that what you’ve arranged actually is a date! This sounds silly, but it helps to save any confusion or awkward moments later on. You don’t know if you might turn up to be greeted by a whole collection of their friends, or you could arrive to what you think is a date and end up listening to your crush talk endlessly about their other half, mistakenly believing that you’ve just met up for a friendly chat! So, sometime before the big day, send them a light-hearted text (“Ready for our big date?”), or mention it in passing if you happen to see them in person.

 Dress
Next comes that age-old dilemma of what to wear! Do you pull out all the stops, or keep it casual? Though it largely depends on where you’re going and what you’ll be doing, I think cool and casual is the best way to play it. Of course, you’ll want to make an effort to impress this possible lover, but dressing down doesn’t mean that you can’t do that! Wear one of your “go to” outfits that always makes you feel both comfortable and confident. It’s tempting to buy something new, but what if the fabric makes you sweaty, or you don’t realise quite how short the hem is until you’re already out of the house? Go for what you know!

 Preen
Style your hair and put on your make up, if you wear any, in the same manner as usual. Two hours before a nerve-wracking date is not the best time to experiment with a new hair product, or copy an innovative catwalk look from a magazine. Why not? Well, it could all go horribly wrong and leave you either running late while you fix the damage, or feeling self conscious for the rest of the night because you’re stuck with an unflattering shade of lipstick, or tight ringlets that don’t suit you. Your date just wants to see you as they already know you – so though it’s tempting to get dolled up, keep your hair and make up the same as usual!

 Relax
You’re all dressed up and ready to date, but perhaps you’re not feeling as wonderful on the inside as you’re looking on the outside! If you’re nervous, set aside a few minutes for when you’ve finished getting ready, and sit down somewhere quiet. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Run through some positive affirmations in your head: “I am confident; this date will go well; I am calm and relaxed.” Say them aloud, if you dare! Think of compliments that others have given you, and moments that you’ve handled confidently in the past. And if all else fails, you could try a little Dutch courage to take the edge off!

 Talk
The best way to get someone to like you is to talk about them. Yes, it’s that easy! Pay great attention to the other person and they will go home at the end of the night thinking that you are wonderful! Ask them questions, laugh at their jokes, be interested in what they have to say. Of course, you can talk about yourself too – dates are about getting to know one another –  but be sure to bounce the conversation back onto them and make sure that it doesn’t become too one-sided. Mentally store a few back-up, emergency topics to use should the conversation run dry – something from the news, an upcoming band, or a funny story.

 Feedback
If you like the person and feel that the date is going well, let them know! The best way to let someone know that you like them is to use active listening, so be sure to nod, murmur in agreement, and use affirmative statements – “That’s true; you’re so right; I completely agree,” but only if you mean it, of course! Don’t stare out of the window, glance at your watch periodically or start playing with your mobile phone. And if you only remember to do one thing – smile! This isn’t an unpleasant experience, it’s a chance for you to meet someone new and learn all about them – enjoy yourself!

 Smooch
It’s the end of the date, and it went perfectly. The question now is: to kiss, or not to kiss? It’s entirely up to you, but personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little harmless smoochin’ if you’ve decided that you like one another! But how do you know if your possible beau is up for it? Check out their body language – if they’re smiling at you, sitting or standing openly (i.e. no arms crossed over their chest), and have their body directed towards you (their knees or feet pointing at yours), I’d say smooching is on! To initiate a kiss, face them head on, and glance from their lips to their eyes – they should get the message!

 Follow up
You’ve said goodnight, shared a kiss, and tottered home – time to plan date number two! If you want to see them again, I think the best way to do this is to send them a message the following day, saying that you had a lovely time yesterday/last night, and would they like to do it again soon? I personally don’t believe in playing games, waiting three days before you get in touch, or playing hard to get – if you like someone, let them know! You don’t have to be a complete bunny boiler, just send a casual note, suggest that the two of you could meet in a week or so, and wait for their reply. Roll on date number two – good luck!

What are your tips for a successful first date?

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