How can you make a good impression on a first date? It’s nowhere near as difficult as it may seem. You’ve swiped successfully, you’ve scheduled a meetup, and now all you have to do is show up and be your charming self. If it’s been awhile since you’ve had one though, the simple task of being yourself with a stranger can seem daunting. Happily, a few simple hints and tips can help you make the most of the meeting. Here’s a helpful rundown on how to make good impression on a first date.
Have a Plan — This doesn’t have to be an elaborate scavenger hunt of your city’s trendiest locales. Just be mindful of who you’re trying to get to know, and the vibe you’re setting for this first interaction. You may want to avoid over-crowded trivia and karaoke night at the neighborhood dive bar (unless you’ve discussed how much the both of you love that sort of thing). When in doubt, stick to neutral and mellow settings. If the date is going well, there’s always time to suggest a change of scenery.
Be Positive and Upbeat — Conversation is key when it comes to first impressions, but this doesn’t mean it’s time to unload all your insecurities and grievances. While it’s a good idea to be open and honest, that’s not the same as treating that booth you’re sharing like a confessional. Keep things light, friendly, and (it should go without saying) fun. If things go well, you’ll have plenty of time to enlighten your date to your cemented familial and professional resentments, so leave some fun surprises for the holidays!
Listen and Observe — Allow space for your date to speak and share, and encourage casual exchanges by asking questions about their hobbies and passions, and really taking an interest in what they’re saying. Much of how to make good impression on a first date revolves around you being open and genuinely interested: The more engaged you are, the better your chance at making a connection and making your date feel comfortable. Your best bet at creating a good impression is making people feel understood and accepted.
Mind Your Manners — If you’ve had a good upbringing, this should be an obvious one. Be gracious, kind, and polite to all those you encounter (e.g. servers, hosts, etc.) – not just your date. If you’re rude to the waitstaff, demanding at the bar, and a bad tipper to boot, your date will notice. They say you can easily judge someone’s character by how they treat those who can do nothing for them. That goes for you, too.
Know Your Limits — While a drink or two might loosen you up, and get you open enough to share a few cute and awkward stories about your adolescence, know your limit. Getting extra sloppy on the first date has the potential to create embarrassing encounters and blocked numbers. If your date suggests going shot for shot… well, you can decide if that’s your new partner in crime or a red flag.
Follow Up — Everything went well. You were charming, engaging, gracious, and alluring. Now, make sure that your date knows that you’re interested in a second get-together. Follow up, make your intentions clear, and don’t squander the goodwill you’ve built.
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Keenly-attuned to fashion, travel, and nightlife trends, associate editor T.T.’s encyclopedic knowledge of bars and restaurants remains unrivaled – and her word is gospel when it comes to Sunday brunch. Our resident trivia night expert and staff humorist, she’s only been banned from one karaoke joint (that we know about). Also: Dog is her co-pilot.