Many singles who are wanting to date, or have arranged to meet someone soon, always ask me what they should do on a first date. In this second of my two-part article, I will explore some of the best ways to make a first date thrive. This mainly comes down to activity, an additional date, and a connection.  

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In my last post, I looked at some types of first dates which can hinder us. No cinema, no coffee, and no cutlery were the big don’ts I suggested. It’s worth remembering because these dates can create pressure and unhelpful environments. (Click here to read Part 1).

If the aim of dating is to get to know someone and begin to see if you enjoy each others company, then we want to create dates that allow us to do that.

In this post, we can look at the more exciting dos. Some of this advice is from personal experience, some comes from chatting to others, and some is from researchers and psychologists who have analysed the ‘art’ of first dates. So if you’re preparing for a first date, this will help you thrive and not just survive it.

It’s About Activity, An Additional Date, and A Connection

In most situations, it’s best to try and date in a way that involves:

  • An Activity
  • An Additional Date
  • A Connection

Activity is Better

This is the best bit of advice I can give anyone who wants a successful first date because doing an activity together makes it less awkward, and you’re more likely to be yourself and see the real them.

You will both naturally be more relaxed and authentic.

The activity could be going to a dance lesson together, a cocktail making class, bowling, or a fun high ropes course. It could be something less expensive like looking around an interactive science museum, an ancient castle or going to a funfair.  (Other suggestions are welcomed in the comments below in the comments).

The reason for doing an activity is three-fold. Firstly, if you’re looking around a museum or doing a high ropes course, there is no need to constantly talk. You’re allowed to focus on other things and not have the pressure to keep talking and keep impressing each other all the time. You will both naturally be more relaxed and authentic.

Sitting down and chatting over a meal results in less chance of an attraction or relationship forming.

Secondly, when someone isn’t sitting down over a romantic candle-lit dinner, but instead remembering the dance teacher’s instructions, or learning about an ancient building, it’s harder to put on a front. When people aren’t just talking but being active, the real personality comes out. So you’re more likely to see the real them, and them the real you.

Thirdly statistical analysis of first dates shows that people are more likely to create an emotional bond, and therefore like each other if they do something together. Sitting down and chatting over a meal results in less chance of an attraction and a relationship forming.

All this means if your first date is an activity, you’re more likely to be relaxed and feel less pressure. You’ll probably both enjoy it more see what they’re really like, and vice versa.

Do an activity so that:

  • You can be more relaxed and not feel the need to constantly talk
  • It’s harder to put on a front, so your real personalities come out
  • You’re statistically more likely to create a relationship

Go On Two Dates

So are we talking about the first date or the second one? Well, actually, it’s kind of one date really.

People frequently say to me something along the lines of ‘The date was okay, but there was no spark’. Well on average, it takes people about six hours to really know if they’re attracted to someone romantically. Love at first sight is very rare (and probably a myth).

If you go out on a first date with someone, and it was awful and you know for sure you’re not suited, that’s fair enough.

However, if you go out on a date and think, they’re nice, the date was quite good, but there was no ‘spark’, go out on another one. A date usually lasts about two or three hours, so two dates are needed to know for sure if there really is a ‘spark’ or not.

A Connection Is More Important Than a Checklist

I believe dating should be enjoyable. I don’t believe this means we can use people, lead people on, or just think about ‘my selfish needs’. But dating is meant to be enjoyable.

No one knows the future, but you can know if you are growing closer or not.

Often people are constantly thinking on a first date about the ‘long term’ or ‘marriage’ criteria. A mental check of the checklist happens in their head. This creates pressure, judgment and ultimately can stop you getting to know someone for who they are.

On a first date, and the next few dates, the aim is about getting to know someone. Do you like each others company? As you get to know them more, is there a connection which means you could build a relationship worth having together? No one knows the future, but you can know if you are growing closer or not.

So many potential relationships end because of the mental checklist. It’s right to think about the kind of person we want to date and the kind of person we want to marry. But we can’t know everything about someone after one or two dates.

The First Date

Do remember to enjoy getting to know the person in front of you. Do enjoy trying to see if you connect and want to move forward together. (Read I Wasn’t Sure When We Were An ‘Official Couple’). Don’t add unnecessary pressure too early on.

Do an activity, do an additional date, and do remember to enjoy getting to know the person in front of you. This advice probably has exceptions and isn’t fool-proof, but it will help you to relax and enjoy rather than dread the first date.

If you have ever followed this or similar advice for a first date, did you find it useful?

Originally posted 2/11/2016