Are you going on a first date soon and want it to go well?
Learn everything you need to know to make sure all of your dates turn out great with this step by step, first date tips guide.
Practical and actionable dating advice so you don’t get stuck wondering why she’s “not replying” to your text. Or suddenly became “busy”, even though it seemed like everything went well.
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- Is it OK to kiss on a first date?
- Why you should never take a date for dinner
- Where to take a girl
- What to talk about
- Confidence tips
- What to expect
- Flirting tips
- Conversation tips
- The “rules” to make all of your dates great
- The biggest mistakes that make women flake after a first date
And much more.
Click the menu below to read each section.
1. Dating Mistakes
You asked a woman you just met to hang out with you, and she said “yes.” You were excited and determined to make sure the date would go well.
You took her to dinner and were a real gentleman (One huge mistake here, read below to learn why).
You thought the first date went well and there was definitely some chemistry.
She seemed interested, smiling and flirting the whole time. She laughed at your jokes and you two expressed similar interests.
After the date ended, you hinted about going on a second date, and she seemed to like the idea. You went home feeling like you were in love.
You were smitten. You couldn’t stop thinking about her.
After the date you texted her to tell her you had a good time, and you suggested maybe doing it again sometime soon.
So a few days later, you texted her to see if she’d like to meet up again tonight.
You texted again, asking if she got your message. Still no answer. In fact, you don’t hear a peep from her all day.
That night, you went to bed and wondered what happened.
Maybe she just got busy?
Whatever it was, you never heard from her again.
Did something like this ever happen to you?
The good news is that it doesn’t mean you’re a loser. Even the smoothest, most successful men out there go on first dates that don’t lead to second dates.
Chances are though that you made some of the following mistakes.
Top 11 mistakes guys make
- Picking her up: She’s an adult, she can drive herself.
- Going to her: Meet somewhere close to your place to avoid wasting time.
- Letting your date handle the details: You set the location.
- Waiting too long to make a move: The path to the friendzone.
- Letting her lead: A huge turn off for women.
- Not having a plan: No plan = Planning to fail.
- Going on really long dates: This is tiring and a waste of time.
- Dinner dates: Don’t pay for the company of a woman.
- Movies: You can’t talk at a movie.
- Not asking her home: You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
- Getting her flowers: Too much too soon. It makes guys look like saps.
Most of the mistakes above come down to being a pushover, or a “nice guy”. You’re doing too much for her and that shows neediness (an unattractive quality). You need to respect yourself and your own time.
Or you’re not doing the right things which show assertiveness (an attractive quality), like deciding on the date details (where you’re meeting and what you’re doing).
The two biggest dating mistakes are covered below.
Don’t take her to dinner: Why traditional dates don’t work
Traditional dating ideas are terrible for men.
What you should not do on a first date?
- Dinner dates: Expensive first dates don’t impress women, and there are many women who’ll take advantage of you if you’re willing to spend money on them. Considering how few first dates lead anywhere, it’s a terrible use of your money. Keep in mind, it doesn’t have to be “expensive”, but spending any money on dinner is a bad deal for you.
- Movie dates: If you’re watching a movie then you’re not having a conversation, which means you’re not getting to know each other. Not only that, but your biggest tool for developing attraction is completely taken out of the picture: Eye contact.
You end up spending money on someone you’ll probably never see again, and all you get is a conversation out of it. You’re paying for her company with no benefits at all.
According to surveys, 78% of Millennials say that “finding love” ranks higher on their list of priorities than making money.
What does that mean?
Women aren’t all gold-diggers looking to use you for an expensive dinner. Most women, just like men, want to find love, companionship, and sex.
The flip side is that there are some women who’ll be happy to use you as a meal ticket. Don’t be that guy.
Use the first date to get to know her, don’t blow money trying to impress anyone. It doesn’t work.
The qualities of a good first date
A good first date has these 3 qualities:
- It’s short: Long dates are tiring, and if she leaves tired that’s what she will remember about you.
- It’s planned: You know what you’re going to do from start to finish.
- It’s purposeful: You’re not there to make friends, so make a move that lets her know.
The importance of leading a date
Some people think that the best first dates are the ones that are “unplanned,” where you meet somewhere, “just hang out,” and let things unfold as they will.
As the wise old saying goes, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” That’s definitely true for first dates.
When you don’t have a plan, then you’re leaving everything up to chance which reduces your odds for a second date.
Even worse, I’ve had many clients leave it up to their date as to whether or not it was even a date.
“Is this a date or just meeting as friends?” should never be a question. When you meet a woman you’re interested in, it’s a date. At the very least now you have a chance to influence her, or better said, “sweep her off her feet” and start something romantic.
If you leave it up to her to define then you’re already a “friend”.
Before the date begins you should know:
- It’s a date
- Where it will begin
- How long it will be
- What you will do at the end of the date
This can go a number of ways, but be sure to know what the date will look like from start to finish.
The First Impression
Almost nothing is more important than a first impression.
Social psychologist Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson calls this “the primacy effect,” and it’s very, very important when it comes to dating. The first impression is the lens through which everything else about you is perceived.
The best way to make a good first impression:
- Style: Dress in clothes that fit you well and show your personality. Shoes are the most important thing here. You don’t have to wear dress shoes, just make sure they are clean and not falling apart.
- Hygiene: Get a haircut, brush your teeth, shower, cut your nails, trim your beard if you have one.
- Be on time: Don’t be late to the date, but don’t be too early either. Just show you have enough discipline to be on time.
- Strong eye contact: Eye contact is your #1 tool for communicating confidence and creating attraction.
- Strong voice: A weak voice communicates a lack of confidence.
- Stand tall: Bad posture will make you look bad and feel insecure.
- Hands out of your pockets: Hands in your pockets communicates a lack of confidence.
- Lead her: Don’t be indecisive. Show her where to go and what to do.
2. The Date
What to do on the first date
There are only 4 things you should ever do on a first date:
- Coffee: It’s cheap, let’s you chat, and is great for eye contact
- A drink: Casual, help you both relax, not too expensive
- A walk: Active, you can chat, allows some physical contact
- Your place: Intimate, can lead to sex, allows for fast connection
Here are some more details:
On a coffee date you won’t spend much money, even if you buy her coffee (do that).
You have an opportunity here to keep strong eye contact, some physical touch if you’re seated near her, and the perfect environment for a connection building conversation.
Chat and learn who she is and what her passions are.
Drinks are more expensive than coffee, but if you limit it to ONE drink each then you’ll be ok. More than one is a waste of money and the potential for overdrinking.
One plus for a drink is that it’s a more intimate date environment than a cafe, so that can have an effect on the “feelings” you both get.
Completely free and an active date. By walking around you can release some dating nerves and not be stuck in the same place.
It’s also a good chance to lead physically by gently, and briefly, placing your hand on the small of her back when taking her across the street. To take it a step further, hold her hand.
By meeting at your place, or going after coffee, you’re increasing the intimacy a lot. Whether this works or not depends on how confident you are.
Your comfort and confidence will also make her feel more comfortable.
If you invite her home don’t worry if she says no, it doesn’t mean there won’t be a second date. You’ve established that you’re assertive and that is an attractive quality in men.
Physical contact on a first date
Touching her is important for many reasons:
- Physical contact helps build attraction
- It shows her you’re confident
- It establishes the frame that, “this is a date” to avoid the friend zone
Normally, physical touch on the date will be light and brief.
- Lead her by touching the small of her back
- Hold her hand
- Touch briefly on her arms, hands, lap
- Leave your hand touching too long (in the beginning)
But what if she doesn’t like being touched?
If she tenses up or moves away when you put your hand on her shoulder, that means one of two things:
- She just isn’t that attracted to you
- She’s shy and simply isn’t comfortable with being touched
- She does like you but isn’t ready to move any further than a chat
Either way respect her personal space. Later on, she might lighten up and you can try physical contact again.
3. First Date Conversation Tips
What Not to Talk About During the First Date
So, what do you think about abortion?
Avoid sensitive topics like politics and religion.
The first date is not the time to ask about what she thinks about a top marginal tax rate, or America’s participation in the United Nations.
Politics and religion are extremely polarizing topics.
If she’s a democratic socialist and you’re a die-hard libertarian, instead of having a fun day walking through the park, you’re going to waste your time arguing.
That’s a definite full-stop on any chances for a second date.
You also want to avoid broad, interview-like questions or conversation starters, such as, “Tell me about yourself.”
Take a second to consider what you say when someone asks you something like that: Do you dive into your dying passion for bass guitar? Your favorite movies? Your life goals and aspirations?
No, you don’t. Instead, you’re unable to wrap your mind around such a broad question, so you stumble and say, “Oh, you know… I’m just a normal guy, really.”
The trick with questions is to be specific (read more about the right things to say below).
Here are some more topics to avoid on first dates:
- Don’t talk about your ex’s and past dates
- Avoid anything negative and never complain
- Keep your baggage to yourself
- Avoid gallows humor (dirty jokes)
- Don’t swear every second word
You’ll eventually want to know if you’re on the same page for some sensitive topics, especially if it’s a show stopper, but the first date should be about fun and attraction.
Her world view and your will either blend together, be compatible or be in conflict. As you get to know each other you’ll find out naturally while exploring each other's personalities.
What should you talk about on a first date?
If you want to be the man in the relationship (and, by extension, make yourself as attractive as possible), you need to lead, in words and in action.
Not only should you decide where to go and what to do, but you should also lead the conversation on what to talk about.
The best question to get to know her:
- “You told me you were in X field. Why did you get into X field of work?”
This question assumes you already asked her what she does when you approached her. Now you will want to learn more and get her to share what’s important to her.
By getting your date to open up and share what’s important to her, you will:
- Create trust: People who share personal details about themselves will develop feelings of trust.
- Create a connection: Sharing a person's ambitions creates a feeling of connection.
The biggest mistake guys make in conversations is to talk about meaningless banter. If you don’t dig deeper then it’s unlikely you’ll get a connection.
Don’t dominate the conversation. A lot of times it’s best to sit and listen.
No one likes to be cut off when they’re saying something they think is important.
Follow the “60/40 rule of conversation.” For best results, let her do around 60% of the talking, and you talk about 40% of the time.
Dealing with Awkward Silences
Sometimes you’ll run out of things to say, and that’s ok. In fact, it’s awesome if you know what to do.
The biggest mistake guys make during an awkward silence is rushing to say something. Anything, just to avoid the tension and feeling of pressure.
Awkward silences are great for the following reasons:
- Creates tension: Sexual tension comes out of tension, so don’t kill it.
- Demonstrates confidence: If you don’t rush to fill in the void you will look more confident.
- Takes the pressure off: Let her fill in the void and allow yourself to relax.
What do you say in an awkward silence?
Nothing at all. Instead, look into her eyes and smile or smirk a bit. You should naturally smile because of the fact you’re staring in each other's eyes creating sexual tension. Own it.
Is Awkward silence normal?
Absolutely. Nobody is a conversation machine, and you shouldn’t be. By trying to avoid all silences you’re creating unnecessary pressure which will end up sabotaging your conversations. Relax and slow down instead of trying to be a motormouth.
How do I stop awkward silence in a conversation?
You don’t. Let it happen naturally and smile instead of talking. Pause and allow your date to say something and carry the conversation instead of putting all of the weight on your shoulders.
Why do I find silence awkward?
Guys tend to find silences awkward because there is an expectation to be interesting and entertaining. By letting go of these expectations you can relax and have much better conversations.
Dating Tips for Shy Guys
If you’re a naturally shy guy, the problem isn’t that you don’t know what to say, but that you think too much. You get stuck in your own head and worry about judgment.
You don’t need to be perfect.
To deal with your shyness:
- Focus on her: Shyness is mostly being self conscious. Stop thinking about yourself and focus on her.
- Put your phone away: This trains you to focus on your conversation instead of escaping from it with a distraction
- Don’t be self-deprecating: It’s okay to apologize if you said or did something wrong, but it’s not okay to apologize for no reason.
- Be nice, but not too nice: You’ll want to joke around with her, tease her, and push the boundaries of “how far you can go” with her. Don’t be a doormat.
4. How to Flirt with a Girl over Text or in Person
- Look into her eyes: Strong eye contact will create sexual tension.
- Smile: Smiling a little will make her smile, and create a lighthearted atmosphere.
- Touch her hand: If her hand is out touch it briefly to initiate physical contact.
- Tease her: Make a light joke about the way she laughs, or about how she keeps looking away.
- Ask something personal: Ask a question that pushes the boundaries, just a little.
- Sit close to each other: Physical closeness will create intimacy.
- Play a game: Play a game of dare or truth.
How do you flirt to make a girl want you?
The main thing to keep in mind with flirting is to have fun. If you’re too serious flirting won’t work. Create some intimacy by sitting close and looking into each other's eyes. Also tease and make jokes. If you create sexual tension this way she is more likely to want you.
How do you flirt with a girl without being obvious?
This is the wrong question to ask because you should never avoid being obvious. You like her, so flirt and do be obvious. It’s possible to be too overt during a conversation, but doing everything you can to avoid letting her know you like her is probably going to put you in the friend-zone.
How do you flirt without being awkward?
Awkwardness is ok if you embrace it. In fact, trying to avoid any awkwardness will probably make you more awkward because you’re being self conscious. Instead, focus on her and learn what she’s about.
How to flirt with a woman over text
In most cases until you’ve gotten to know her, avoid flirting over text. It’s too easy to be misunderstood and not communicate the intended feeling. Flirt with her in person instead so you can use eye contact, your voice, proximity and physical touch for effective flirting.
To become a master texter check out: How to write text messages that work
5. What Should You Expect on the First Date?
Anything can happen on the first date but don’t be attached to the outcome. Have no expectations about things you can’t control, like whether or not she goes home with you.
Focus on doing three things:
- Avoid making any of the “nice guy” mistakes
- Focus on having a good time
- Push the boundaries of how far you can go with her
Also, set some positive expectations for things you can control which will affect the outcome:
What to expect on a first date
- A great date: Positive expectations will help create a better date.
- Some flirting: Expect to flirt and tease her.
- Nerves: You’ll probably both be nervous but use that as fuel.
- Ask her home: Ask her home and don’t worry if she says yes.
- A chance to connect: You could make a connection with someone new.
How touchy should you be on a first date?
Many women are okay with kissing on the first date. Others are even okay with sleeping together after the first date.
On the other hand, other women are more traditional. They’d rather wait a few dates before even giving you a peck on the cheek.
Now, there’s no way of knowing what a woman’s boundaries are for the first date without making a move.
Now, you might be thinking: “Wouldn’t she get turned off if I’m too pushy?”
Yes, but that’s only if you’re too aggressive and don’t pay attention to how she reacts.
If you want your first date to lead to a second one -- or better yet, a relationship or romantic encounter that same night, then you should get physical.
But you must touch her the right way. Being overly aggressive will scare women away. You need to build up to it.
So what’s appropriate?
Think of the following kinds of touches:
- A handshake or high-five
- Letting her loop her arm around yours as you stride side-by-side
- Putting your hand on her shoulder or the small of her back
- Touching her hands
- Putting your hand on her hip
The key to pushing the boundaries through touch is by “climbing the ladder,” with your touches becoming riskier as she gets more and more comfortable with you.
If she’s okay with you putting your hand on her shoulder, later on try touching her hands. If she’s okay with that, put your hand on her hip or leg while you’re talking. And so on and so forth.
Now, if at any point she shows some discomfort from your touch, dial back.
For example, if you put your hand on her lap and she turns away or makes space, just move your hand off.
You act like nothing happened, and keep chatting.
Later on when you sense she’s more comfortable you might try again or something less risque.
At some point your date might give a clear indication that she doesn’t like to be touched at all. If that happens then just relax and back off. Don’t react to it but be respectful of her boundaries.
Now you’ll know that a second date may not be worth it.
Is it ok to kiss on a first date?
The answer is, it depends. Kissing is great if you’ve managed to create some attraction. If she likes you then she will expect you to do something. Even if she’s not ready yet that’s OK because you’ll show that:
- You’re assertive
- You’re interested in her
- You’re attracted to her
- You’re confident
- This is a date, not a friendship
If it doesn’t work on the first date then try again on the second date. You’re more likely to get a second date if you tried because you’ve made a move. The guys who don’t try anything are likely to be seen as friends.