First dates are always a bit nervy, no matter how confident you are. Both of you want to make a good first impression but if you have already been talking with this person (assuming it’s not a blind date) and you sparked a good chemistry during your first meeting, the transition from your first meet to your first date isn’t as scary as it might sound.

Dating is supposed to be fun and exciting! You’re meeting someone (possibly) for the first time in a more intimate social environment and everyone wants to make a good first impression. So, with that in mind, we’ve outlined 14 successful first date tips for women and men to help both of you feel comfortable and maximise the potential of securing a second date.

  1. Arrange your date sooner rather than later

arrange your date sooner than later
Not to rush into anything, but meeting your date in person sooner is beneficial for a number of reasons. If you met online or have been chatting online for a while, it’s a good idea to meet face to face when you’re both free. It’s not uncommon for people to fall into the trap of chatting online for too long and struggle to spark exciting conversations during their first meetup.

Try to meet up within the first two weeks, because you might find that the longer you chat online, the less you have to speak about in person and the chances of sparking a positive connection lessen.

2. Dress (but don’t overdress) to impress

dress to impress
I’m not saying wear a ball-gown to Costa, but dressing appropriately is certainly a good way to show you care about and value your appearance. Your outfit says a lot about your personality and is a reflection of how much you value your public appearance.

Although we all want to make a good first impression, don’t go OTT with an outfit if you don’t feel comfortable wearing it. For example, if you don’t usually wear high heels, don’t start wearing them for the sake of a first date. Staying true to yourself and wearing what makes you feel comfortable and confident will be immediately reflected in your personality and your date experience will benefit from it.

3. Show up on time

arrange your date sooner

The first rule of dating, be on time! Yes, it’s common knowledge but you’d be surprised how many people still fail to arrive to their first date on time. Once you organise a time, date and a place to meet, it’s important you stick to it. Of course, unforeseen circumstances can and do happen, so be sure to call your date to explain the situation and suggest a later time or rain check for another day.

You should be prioritising arriving on time or even early, it is after all the first date and you want to make a good first impression!

4. Keep the location and activity simple

first lunch date
Try not to choose a location or activity that’s too intense for a first date. While bungee jumping might sound like an exhilarating idea, it’s not necessarily appropriate for a first date. Try and pick somewhere where you can actually talk, like arranging a lunch date. Meeting up at lunch is also more casual than meeting for drinks in the evening, making it ideal for those who are anxious about the ‘first kiss’ typically associated with dinner and evening dates.

Top first lunch date tip: keep the conversation light and fun.

5. Choose the right conversation topics

choose the right conversation topics
One of the biggest first date conversation tips I can offer is to keep it simple and avoid taboo conversation topics. Sometimes it can be difficult to know what topics to avoid, for example, your date may not want to overshare on their relationship with their family on the first date. If you sense that they are deflecting family-based questions, subtle change the conversation topic to something more lighthearted.

However, oversharing about past relationships, partners and boasting about your accomplishments are slightly more obvious topics to avoid.

First date talking tips: avoid taboo topics and keep conversation light and if you sense they are deviating from certain topics, subtly change the topic.

6. Be mindful of your body language

mindful of body language
We all know a lot can be said about a person’s body language. Sitting slumped in a chair with wondering eyes isn’t exactly the sign of someone who’s respectful or even interested in the person sitting opposite them. I know being constantly aware of your body language can be difficult, as it’s part of our natural physical instinct.

If we’re bored, we lose eye contact, fold our arms and generally looked disengaged, and although you may not be aware of what you’re doing, it’s blindingly obvious to the person opposite you. Maintaining eye contact and leaning in when your date is talking are subtle signs that you’re engaged and interested in the conversion.

7. Don’t try to be anything you’re not

dont try to be anything you're not
Dating can be a nervy experience for many people and some people may consciously or unconsciously alter their personality to appear more confident or to look more impressive. For example, trying to be overly flirty isn’t always a good idea, especially if it’s not natural. Rather than trying to impress someone by throwing cheesy chat-up lines and enacting your best Ryan Gosling, be yourself, it’ll make you more comfortable and probably less awkward for your date.

Be cool, be calm and enjoy the experience! There’s no harm being tactile and complimenting your date, just don’t overdo it.

8. Keep your phone in your pocket!

keep your phone in your pocket
I know we’re all glued to our phones today and the temptation to grab your phone as soon as conversation deviates or involves the use of Google seems difficult to avoid, do avoid it. Being overly reliant on our phones is not necessarily a bad thing but there’s a time and a place and a first date is not that time. Having your phone buzz and you checking it every five minutes indicates that the person in front of you is less important, not exactly the impression you want to put across.

Turn your phone off or put it on silent mode, there are plenty of other times for you to respond to your friends and family and check Instagram, but avoid doing this during a first date.

9. Arrange a second date

arrange the second date
If you both feel your first date was a success, then politely ask if they’d be interested in arranging a second date. You should have a fairly good idea of the topics and activities they enjoy by the end of the first date, so consider asking them to do something they are interested in.

You may also want to consider doing something more active or stimulating on the second date if your first date was a casual lunch or coffee. Consider active ideas that both of you enjoy; taking a trip to a museum, tackling an escape room or simply going for a walk. Getting out and about on the second date is good to keep up the excitement and intrigue and it also lets you see your date in a different setting

For some more inspiration on active and fun date ideas in London, take a look at our 50 Date Ideas in London article.

10. Don’t be afraid to consult your friends and family

consult friends and family
You’re bound to want to discuss your experience with your nearest and dearest and I’d encourage it! Speaking openly about how your date went and your impressions is important to get a different perspective and their opinions on the next step. If the date went well, great! Talk about the positives and what made you like them and your plans for the next date, and if it went badly, then talk through the reasons why and learn from it.

11. Be confident and be assertive

be confident and be assertive
This doesn’t mean be so confident that you become egotistical and dominate the conversation with your past successes and triumphs. More specifically, it’s important to be assertive in the way that your date knows that things are going well and you aren’t being so shy as to make them believe your aren’t interested.

Being ‘too nice’ is never a bad thing, but if you like the person in front of you and you are interested in taking things further, don’t be afraid to show it fearing that you’ll be rejected.

12. Communication after the date

talk after the date
Whether your date was amazing or you simply didn’t click, communicating this to your date is important to alleviate any misconceptions or false messages. As stated before, arranging a second date during your first date is a good idea. However, if for whatever reason you don’t want to see the other person again, let them know as soon as possible.

A simple text or phone call saying that you had a great time but something didn’t quite click is perfectly acceptable and they will respect you for not leading them on. Communicating your feelings soon after the first date is a sign of good manners and maturity, and this goes a long way.

13. Make sure they get home safe

make sure they get home safe
Offering to walk them to their car or booking a taxi home is always advised. Their safety is the priority and offering ways to make their journey home more comfortable is a sign that you care about them.

14. Don’t put too much pressure on the date, enjoy yourself!

enjoy your date
It’s okay to be nervous but you should also be optimistic! First dates are always a mixture of excitement and apprehension. Enjoy the time and the experience with your date, be honest and be yourself. Remember, first dates are supposed to be fun and exciting, you’re getting to know a new person and potentially someone you see a future with.

Our top tip for a good first date: don’t put too much pressure on the occasion, you aren’t going to learn everything about your date on the first meeting, keep it light, keep it fun and enjoy the experience!

Are there different dating tips for men and women?

There aren’t too many stark differences when it comes to giving first date advice between genders. While there may be some stereotypical differences assigned to each gender, first date tips for women and men are mostly the same; be yourself, be present and keep things simple!

Looking to apply our top tips for your first date?

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