Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to ask someone out on a date or just let someone special to you know that you care. It may have been marketed and commercialised, and some people treat it as just another “Hallmark holiday”, but we at Find Keep Love think there is no better ‘official’ opportunity to share the love than February 14th each year.
If you are lucky enough to have scored a date for Valentine’s Day and this is your first date together, it’s a good idea to go over the first date dos and don’ts listed below. This post might be designed for those in the early days of dating, but there’s some wisdom here for those in longer term relationships: how many of the dos do you do, and how many of the don’ts have crept into your dating behaviour?
- DO think carefully about the location of the date and the activities you have planned. It pays to choose a safe date for your first date, and it’s definitely worthwhile finding out a little about your date’s preferences in a general sense before choosing where to go. You don’t want to take a vegetarian to a steakhouse, for example!
- DO dress smartly, but DON’T go over the top. There’s nothing more awkward than two people on a date dressed on completely different levels. If the place you’re going to has a dress code, make sure you both know it. If not, smart casual will do the trick. If you’ve come straight from work, you can always fall back on that as an excuse.
- DON’T order messy food. If your date involves eating, you’ll want to eat politely, safely and tidily. You’ll want to avoid any foods that have sloppy sauces or might require slurping (spaghetti, noodle bowls, and so on), or spicy/greasy/heavy foods that might leave you feeling bloated or gassy – there’s nothing worse than burping and farting your way through the rest of the date. Appearing healthy is one quality that is extremely attractive to the opposite sex – it gives them an impression you care about yourself (in a way that is not narcissistic) – so fast food is not recommended either. And garlic and onion, no matter how tasty, reduce your chances of leaving a favourable impression and stealing an end-of-date kiss. Last, but not least, some food has a tendency to get stuck in teeth – avoid corn, spinach and anything with a lot of herbs.
- DO enjoy an alcoholic drink or two (if you do indeed drink alcohol), but DON’T get really drunk. Alcohol is a great social lubricant and can wash away some of the anxiety and nervousness associated with a first date. But getting really drunk doesn’t lead to good decisions or good outcomes, despite what we might think at the time, and it isn’t sexy. Drink responsibly.
- DON’T talk too much about yourself, but DO ask your date lots of open questions (questions like “What did you do last week/weekend?” or “What do you do in your spare time?”, instead of closed questions that end in a yes/no or similarly short answer. Good conversational flow makes for a good date. You should show that you are interested in finding out as much as possible about your date, without feeling like a job interview or coming across as an obsessed stalker!
- DO meet in public. It will be more comfortable for both of you and protects you from any potentially awkward or dangerous situations.
- DON’T expect anything physical. This mainly relates to physical interaction with your date and is mainly aimed at male readers, but the date will go much smoother going into it without any expectations (other than the expectation of a nice date). Go with the flow and don’t force anything – you’ll know if the moment’s right. Guys, act gentlemanly; similarly, ladies, act ladylike.
- Finally, DO make your first date fun and leaving them wanting more, but, and this might sound counterintuitive, DON’T peak too early and make the fun of the first date unsurpassable. The first date sets a benchmark for (hopefully) following dates – if it’s too fun and exciting, you’ll have high expectations to live up to. On the other hand, if the date’s too slow and boring, you won’t get another one. The first date should give ample opportunity to get to know each other better with sufficient distraction (music, for example) to help with any awkward/nervous moments during the date. Action dates provide a fun way to interact with each other and can help you bond quicker than conversation can, but you want to build up to a crescendo (and not play all your cards at once!).
What are your dating dos and don’ts? Do you have a dating experience that went horribly wrong?