Famed matchmaker Rachel Greenwald once wrote: the purpose of a first date is to get a second date.
I couldn’t agree more.
The truth is, the purpose of the first date, is to prove that you can have fun together. So much so that it leads to another date. The concept of “getting to know” someone on the first date is grossly overrated. Human beings are far too guarded and far too skilled at deception to reveal their true selves over sushi and a few cocktails.
Going on a date with a complete stranger and expecting anything more than a good time is setting yourself up for failure.
You aren’t going to remember who said what about their childhoods or future ambitions. You’ll remember what you laughed about more than what you talked about and most importantly you’ll remember how the other person made you feel.
Having better first dates starts with setting the right intention. First, you must make your date feel comfortable by removing all expectations.
- What does this person want from me?
- How can I get what I want from this person?
These questions often run through our minds on the first date. If you treat dating like a barter system or an exchange then you run the risk of your request being rejected. Your date may not want what you’re offering in exchange for what they have.
So you must replace expectation and exchange with collaboration. Use phrases such as:
- “Let’s just have fun tonight.”
- “I just want to have a good time with you.”
- “I just want to enjoy each other’s company.”
The previous statements imply togetherness. Now you and your date are on the same side and you both want the same thing, to have fun. Phrases like “let us”, “with you” and “each other’s” minimize expectation.
Next, you must make your date feel validated by avoiding judgment. On the first date you might learn information about your date that you turns you off. Immediately, everything they say becomes a losing round in a fictional game of – Are we a match?
You don’t want kids- wrong answer.
You have kids- wrong answer.
You don’t cook- wrong answer.
You live at home with your parents- wrong answer.
It’s not your place to make them out to be a good person or a bad person. You are on the first date to decide if you can have fun together. If you stop enjoying yourself because you feel that you aren’t compatible then end the date, thank them and never see them again.
Too often we are lead by unrealistic expectations. We want to “qualify” our dates based on our criteria but guess what. If the person that fit your list existed you would have met them already. When you start getting the impression that your date isn’t for you (even if you initially perceived them as perfect) make a mental note and move on. Don’t make a scene or worse let them know how you feel.
Keep the realistic expectation that in the moment all you want to do is have fun together and nothing more.
Lastly, you must make your date feel better about themselves. This might be the hardest part of the equation but dating isn’t about you and your feelings.
If you aren’t pandering to your date, complimenting your date and going out of your way to make your date feel like a million bucks then you shouldn’t be on that date. Just stay home.
It is your job to make your date feel good and it is their job to make you feel good, if one person doesn’t fulfill their duty then the date will not be a success.
- Flatter your date.
- Accommodate your date.
- Be patient, understanding and engaged.
- Be gracious with your date.
When it’s all said and done if you have fun together then go out again and if you don’t: don’t. Divorce the idea that if someone isn’t acting right on a date or it didn’t live up to your expectation that it’s anyone’s fault.
There is a lid for every pot and this person just isn’t yours.
Don’t get angry with them because you wanted the date to be something it wasn’t. Use the criteria above to have the best date you can and if it fails then move on. When you understand that your only goal on a first date is to have fun and secure a second date you’ll never have to wonder if it was a success.