First Date – What to Do and Not to Do

First dates can be very nerve-racking and may leave us shy, silent and blowing our chances of getting a second date because we weren’t prepared for the first one. With that in mind, we’ve assembled a list of 10 things you should do on a first date and 10 things that you should not do on a first date.

SEE ALSO: Dating Turnoffs – Don’t be the Date from Hell

Hopefully these pointers will help you navigate successfully through your first date while leaving a great impression:

First Date Do’s (Things to do on a First Date)

Things to do and not to do on a first date.

Making a great impression on a first date is vital.

1. Be on time. The last thing you want to do is make a bad impression on your date. If you are late then your date will think that you don’t care or that he/she isn’t important. Even worse, your date might not hang around for you to turn up.

2. Make your partner feel comfortable. We all feel like a bag of nerves on our first date with someone; so by making your date feel comfortable you will be able to also relax and simply enjoy yourself.

3. Be an interesting date. The worse thing you can do is turn up for a date and then sit there all evening with nothing to say or ask! Be prepared to be interesting and to have a good conversation. Show you are interesting (and a good listener) by asking questions that help you learn interesting things about your date. Dress great. Take great care in your hygiene. Don’t reveal too much about yourself, but reveal just enough to show the other person that you are interesting and different – in a good way.

4. Laugh at their jokes. Even if you have heard the joke 100 times or more (or it just isn’t funny at all) laughing along with your date will make your date feel you are interested in him/her. It will at least make your date feel more comfortable with the situation.

5. Keep the conversation alive. That dreaded silence when no one knows what to say can seem to last for a life time and will make both of you think the other is boring. Jot down a few questions you would like to ask (but don’t refer to the list during your date!). Practicing for the date can make quite a bit of difference and once you have started a great conversation, the rest will just follow. Here are a few conversation starters you may want to use.

6. Take an interest in your date. Listen to your date when he/she is talking. Be interested in what your date has to say and show how interested you are by asking questions about what your date is talking about. For example, if your date says he/she likes to travel then ask him/her what the most unique place is he/she has traveled to.

7. Take your date somewhere unique. First dates don’t just have to be about going to the cinema or to a restaurant for a nice meal. You will make a longer, lasting impression if you are imaginative with your date. Check out these creative date ideas and these first date ideas.

8. Be confident. Confidence says a lot about a person. Being more confident will help you get through that first date with ease.

9. Be yourself. You won’t fool anyone by pretending to be someone you are not.

10. Most importantly – STAY SAFE. Check out our pointers to dating safely.

First Date Don’ts (Things not to do on a First Date)

1. Don’t be late. First impressions count and if you are late then this will make your date think of you as lazy, having lack of initiative, or not putting an importance on the evening.

2. Don’t talk about yourself all night. There is nothing worse then a person that loves to talk about himself or herself all the time. Be the one asking the questions!

3. Don’t chat about past relationships. Maybe that’s how you lost the last one. Nobody wants to hear you drone on about your ex and what he or she did or didn’t do. Concentrate on your date and see if you can get to the second date.

Nobody wants to hear you drone on about your ex and what he or she did Click To Tweet

4. Don’t eat with your mouth open. This will not only create a negative impression of you to your date, but also to other people around you.

5. Don’t ask too many personal questions. This is your first date and your date may not want to reveal too much about himself/herself just yet. If you like each other and want to continue with the relationship then there will be plenty of time to ask more intimate questions.

6. Don’t try to be someone you are not. It’s important to be yourself as you don’t want other people to settle for anything different. Trying to act like someone you are not will only backfire in the future.

7. Don’t forget to thank them for the date. It is good manners and etiquette to thank your date for the evening. If you don’t want to go on a date again, this is where you will get your chance to end it. If you do, then this is your chance to ask your date out on another date.

8. Don’t propose marriage or kids. That is unless you don’t want to see them again.

9. Don’t pursue sex. Work on the relationship first and be considerate of your date/partner’s feelings.

10. Don’t get drunk. You don’t want to spend half the night in the toilet vomiting and your date won’t think much of you. You can also put yourself at risk of unwanted advances and will not be in the right frame of mind or body to do anything about it.

Do you have anything to add to either list? If so, please leave a comment below. It’s easy!

(Editor’s note: this article was originally published in 2009 and updated in 2015)


Joe Tracy

Joe Tracy is the publisher and founder of Online Dating Magazine, which launched in July 2003 and has been providing original dating advice, tips, articles, reviews, and videos to readers ever since.

1 Comment

  1. prince6688 on October 24, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    * Be yourself. Let me amend that to be your BEST self. This is not the time to admit to all the vulnerabilities and insecurities that regularly beset you, nor to share the story of how the shock of catching your fiancé in bed with your brother landed you in a mental institution. Trot out the tried-and-true tales that showcase your sweet and sparkling personality.

    * Be a good listener. The purpose of this strategy is twofold. A man likes a woman who isn’t a conversation hog. He wants the opportunity to shine in your eyes by trotting out HIS tried-and-true tales. Plus, allowing him to orate gives you the chance to discern what makes him tick. If he talks about how ALL of his ex girlfriends are bitter, selfish, man-hating crones, imagine their side of the story. If he admits to not being the marrying kind, that’s valuable information to have early on as well. (No, you won’t change him!) If he talks about how the thing that gives life meaning for him is being involved in a love relationship – well, isn’t that good info to know?

    * Try to have fun. Your life does not hang in the balance. It’s just a date. All you’re really doing is hanging out for a few hours with a new acquaintance. Lighten up.

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