First dates can be hard. They can be awkward for some people, but they don’t have to be. I always try to frame first dates as an opportunity to connect with a new person. I learn about what makes them click, their drive, and personality. Ideally, my first date with a girl is at one of two places: a coffee shop or a restaurant/bar.
I like both of these locations because they are light, conversation centered, and if things aren’t going well either party can leave after the cup of joe, meal, or drink relatively unscaved. While some dates like going to the movies, concerts, or festivals, they make better second or third dates when there is more rapport.
Here are a few things that men want to hear on the first date.
Call us Handsome
“My mom once told me that if you ever want to make a man happy… flatter his vanity. Tell him he’s handsome. She said not to bother calling him interesting or clever, because that’s what their bosses and colleagues are for. But every man carries a secret dream of being handsome, and desperately yearns to be recognized as such.” – Daydream Nation
Give a short, sincere compliment on the guy’s appearance in the first few minutes of the date. You don’t need to babble, just call him cute, handsome, or attractive and then compliment something specific about his appearance. Most guys are socially inept when it comes to fashion so compliment something he’s wearing. Saying, “You look nice tonight” is a perfect, simple compliment that will make us feel a jolt of self-pride. We secretly like to think we dress chic and giving us a compliment on fashion as simple as “I really love that shirt” will make us feel like James Bond.
We Want to Hear About You
When I’m on a date with a girl, I want to hear about her. When you start to talk about you and who you are, I’m fascinated. I’m all ears; I want to hear most importantly on who you want to become. For example, if you are a pre-med student, why did you choose that career path. I want to hear more than the boring dollars and figures of how your parents want to get a good paying job, I want to hear about the time that you broke your leg as a kid and vowed your life to becoming a doctor to help people. Tell your date about your hobbies, interests, and desires. Tell him something that you’ve never told anyone else. Talk about things that matter, and then I’m interested.
I’m not going to say this again. You’re on a date. The date must feel like it is moving forward to something romantic or it is a failure. There is nothing wrong with things not working out and sometimes this may lead to nice platonic friends. However, don’t be paralyzed to make the first move. We’ll be glad you did. There should be a nice fun, flirty, push-pull dynamic during the first date. Just be comfortable with yourself. We can tell when you are putting on airs. Flirting may just be joking around and nudging the guy’s shoulder, or it could be more sexually charged.
I don’t know how many dates I’ve been on where all the girl wanted to do was talk about the atrocities of living with their roommate. I get it, living with a roommate sucks but don’t complain about her on your date. First dates should be drama free zones where guys get to know a girl and not free therapy sessions for your personal life problems. Leave your previous dating life out of date number one. (I am well aware of how this negates point #2; however, dates are strange life experiments where we try to parade our best selves forward, and complaining about your ex is not doing that; no matter how bad, he, or she was.)
Offer to Split the Check
This is a classy move on dinner dates. I will usually pay the whole tab myself, unless she is buying lobster, caviar, and drinking Dom Perignon. All joking aside, I respect when a date offers to pay for their meal. I will respectfully tell her thanks for the offer and pay for the whole bill. I understand that the dating paradigm of man pays for meal is archaic, but if I ask a woman out on a date I will usually pay for the meal regardless. This sometimes ensues in a battle of credit cards and a weary eyed waiter hanging in the balance, nevertheless I want to be sophisticated and mannerly and pay the bill. No matter how much it hurts my wallet as a writer.
Dating can be weird. You are spending an intimate evening with a stranger. We all play strange personality games on dates, pretending to be the best versions of ourselves. Try to reframe the dating experience as a fun way to get to know people that may lead to romance. If things go terribly wrong, and you spill the Tortellini on your lap at The Olive Garden or find out that your date is annoying and self-centered, at least it is a learning experience. Think of dating as practice while you wait for your perfect partner. You never know when “Mr. or Miss. Right” will come along and you won’t have to go through the beautiful, but the sometimes embarrassing experience of dating.