Essential First Date Tips That’ll Better Your Chances

Romany Malco and Meagan Good in “Think Like A Man” (Photo by: Alan Markfield of Sony Pictures)

Its a Friday night, you’re pacing back and forth, changing outfits and peeking out the window for your date of the night to arrive, or stalling the time before picking them up.

Say, you two have been talking for a few weeks, maybe more or even less, because time doesn’t determine comfortability or connection. You’ve finally decided to take the chance on an outing together, maybe dinner at a nice restaurant, a bit of thrill and fun at a fair or amusement park, or something quieter but visually pleasing, like the movies, an art museum or going to see a production on Broadway. But it’s not really about where you’re going, but what you make out of it.

I’m going to break down a few first date pointers that’ll hopefully have things running smoothly even during the supposed “awkward car ride,” and after when it’s the end of the night and you don’t know whether that moment in time kiss or a side church hug, is appropriate.

Here are a few essential first date tips that’ll possibly guarantee the second one:

Choose A Location Out of The Norm
Allen Payne and Jada Pinkett Smith in “Jason’s Lyric” (1994)

Dinner and a movie. An all too common go-to for a date that has rooted from way back when. Sometimes it comes from trying to avoid the possibility of indecisiveness from both parties, or its one plan that can’t really go wrong because you not only get food, but entertainment of some sort to follow.

People in this generation fail to realize there’s a ton of things to do in their cities that are as enjoyable and even free. I mean you have the art and history museum, botanical gardens, open-mic clubs, year-round plays, a boat ride, themed city fairs and seasonal amusement parks. This list is pretty much endless, but it’s up to the individuals or the person who suggests the date in the first place, to broaden their horizons and let their date know they love to have a good time, which may spark more of an enjoyment for the opposite person.

And I ain’t trying to drag the good ole “dinner and a movie,” mantra because I’ve been around the way on that one a few times myself, but you’ll never know what’s to offer if you don’t take advantage of your surroundings.

Appearances Are Important but They’re Not Everything
GIF: imgur

Don’t get me wrong, if it’s a first date or any occasion where appearance is highly taken into consideration, you want to show up and show out, but that shouldn’t put any extra weight on your shoulders or force you to think you have to meet a certain standard.

The most important thing as far as attire is to dress accordingly, as to wherever the date will take place, is exactly how you should dress. Then, it’ll be certain that you’re comfortable, but still able to make it look good. If you know you and your significant other are heading to the movies and then grabbing something to eat afterward, you can’t go wrong with tennis shoes, a nice top and some slacks or jeans. But if it’s one of those fancy dinners, gone head and bring out the pumps and shine on em’ with the embroidered or stoned dress, a button up and dress pants wouldn’t be pushing the limit either guys, a girl loves a man in a suit but also someone who’s able to keep it cool in laidback wear.  

The bottom line is to make sure that you’re comfortable in whatever you choose to wear, and if you get that “meh” face on an outfit once viewing it in the mirror, issa no and you’ll know what to wear once just like your heart, your body knows, it’s right.

Car Rides Are For Conversation
Queen Latifah and Common in “Just Wright” (Photo: FOX Searchlight)

The car ride to your designated location is probably one of the most important moments, being that there’s nothing but free time to get a few questions in and figure out more on the person, you’re spending the rest of the night with.

Now I know the go to is to plug in the AUX and get that playlist going, and if you trust the person in the passenger seat enough or just want to be generous, you’ll let them show what they rocking with, in the music department.

But let’s avoid the awkward head-nods and sneaky side-eye glances, then turning away to stare out the window at a city you’ve seen more than enough times and TALK. This would be the perfect time to ask about where you’re going, if it’s a movie, ask about if they heard any reviews or what movies they prefer watching, shoot, you can even get a plug on some Netflix originals you may be missing out on. There’s always the simple conversation starter, “How has your day been?”, which can lead to an open-ended conversation based on their response, which tailgates into other subjects and topics that by then, you’ve reached your destination and the icebreaker part of the date, is over. Now if you do have to rely on the music, that’s also a green light for conversation because just like social issues, hobbies or “a day in the life of,” communication, we all got something to say about music and how universal it can be.

If you feel uncomfortable during the car ride, that’s probably a red flag because if you didn’t know, you still have the rest of the night.

NO Phones At The Table
Nia Long and Larenz Tate in “Love Jones” (1997)

My absolute personal, pet peeve.

Even when I’m out with friends, who I’ve known for 10 years, it’s so annoying looking around to see everyone scrolling on social media while I’m trying to engage in a conversation and more importantly, enjoy each other’s company. I’m not going to sit here like I don’t want to respond to that message or Snapchat, maybe get a laugh from the twitter TL, but I have restraint when I’m around people I care about and would rather have a conversation and laugh with them, then to my phone. I find using your cell phone while at the dinner table or out to eat, rude and you might as well have worn an “I rather be anywhere but here,” shirt.

Especially when you’re on a date. If it’s the first date and this is the time where you’re supposed to be feeling each other’s persona out, you constantly peeping at your phone or scrolling through social media posts of the same people you see every day, could put the opposite person in an awkward or standoffish situation if they see you’d rather look at your screen, than them. This, before you even get your food, could be their “aye okay,” that a second date is out of the question, and you’ll catch them on Instagram or joining in on the Black Twitter feed.

With that being said, just put your phone away. I’m not saying you gotta turn it off or hit that DND on the group message, but for the sake of respect and manners, don’t be checking every notification that hits your line. If it’s that important, ask to be excused and handle your social bidness, in the bathroom.

But hopefully, for your sake, the person you’re on a date with is as interesting as they were through text or however you communicated before and can hold a decent convo.

If You Incited The Date, Pay For The Date
Gif: MTV News

Look. If you were the one throwing subtle hints at taking out the other person, “showing them around town,” or wanting to introduce them to your favorite restaurant, then that pretty much makes them believe, you’ll be covering the tab.

For me personally, here and there I’ll offer to go Dutch depending on the quality of the date. I don’t mind paying for my own food and since it’s the first date, you’re not sure where it’s going to go from there and the whole “free meal for an uninterested date” is lame, with a capital L, but if the person you’re on a date with insists on covering the entire bill, then so be it.

Let’s try to avoid the fake wallet grab or awkward glance between one another when the waiter asks “All on one check?” and just be confident and established in how the bill is going to be taken care of, from the jump.

Be Yourself
GIF: tumblr

You ain’t gotta lie to kick it.

I know we all get nervous, may have endless brain farts or short pauses where we’re searching for the right thing to say, but don’t let that intimidate you into becoming someone you’re not or making up some gibberish you can’t relate to.

My laugh is one of the most obnoxiously, loud and weird noises anyone will probably ever hear, and when I would be around guys I like or on dates, I would cover my mouth in self-consciousness of not only my laugh but my braces. Then I realized, both aren’t going anywhere for a while, so why not embrace it.

If you’re an outspoken and expressive individual, let that be known to your date, they may turn out to like your willingness, and ability to be honest and bold. Sometimes people even enjoy bringing you out of your shell, so if you’re shy and have layers on top of your true self, let that progressively shine through your words and approach to the effort you put, into your communicative exchange.

Also, no need to gloat or brag to try and impress. Although, everyone loves encouraging a come up and we want to be acknowledged for our accomplishments, talking too much about ourselves with the goal of putting yourself on a certain pedestal, can come off as arrogant. To avoid such mishaps, bounce your hobbies, passions, and interests off on one another and how you plan on building around it, you never know who your date may know or experiences they’ve encountered, that you can learn from.

No Matter What Happens, End on A Positive Note
GIF: imgur

Alright, so the food was good, whatever attraction or event you attended was worth the money and time and you actually enjoyed yourself, you two are now laughing and recapping on something bizarre that happened during the movie, or how you’ll check out the restaurant you went to, sometime again this week.

You roll up to the drop off location, turn the radio down, sit there in silence for a quick second and thank each other for one another’s company and a good time. Now you’re both wondering if a kiss is too forward, or if a church hug is too friendly when you actually turned out liking your date more than you thought. Whatever your next move is, sets the tone for the next time you guys will talk or see each other, but more so, the choice is based on again, your comfortability and the pace you want to go with that person. So, a suggestion of a phone call the next morning or them telling you “text me when you get home,” may just be enough to let you know, the date was a success and they plan on encountering in more.

Now, if the date didn’t turn out as planned, the conversation was dry, restaurant or venue experience wasn’t up to par or the person you thought you were interested in, is about as lifeless as a Trump family portrait, don’t worry too much. That’s the point of dating, sometimes you luck up and find your soulmate, other times it’s just a trial run and practice, up until you finally win the game.

Still, tell your date thank you for their time, be safe and keep in touch on a level that’s not as romantic. The night doesn’t have to be a complete L.

Dates are meant for people to test the waters and figure out what they like and what they ultimately, plan on happily settling with. Be wise in your choices and decisions and learn from the ones that don’t work out, because eventually, you’ll secure, anotha one.

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