People make fundamental errors on a first date that can reduce the chances of setting up a second. However, they’re easy to avoid, and I’m going to walk you through the way to do so.
First dates are one of the most exciting aspects of dating. Getting the date, going on it, and communicating afterwards can provide unique thrills and anticipation.
No moment in a relationship swells with more potential than a first date. It’s your first chance to get to know someone and make an impression.
However, first impressions are powerful and can have a lasting impact on the level of attraction your date will feel for you. First dates can also lead to more pitfalls and more nerves.
Even the impression you give off during the first 100 milliseconds of seeing someone’s face can create an enduring and often accurate judgment of who they are, according to research.
Here are 12 of the most common first date mistakes to avoid, from asking a woman out all the way through to following up. I want to help you make sure it’s the first date of many.
Before the date
Having the right mindset is an effective way to make sure confidence and social intelligence underpin your actions and body language on the date.
1. Assuming your date is out of your league.
Thinking a date is “too hot” for you can apply psychological blocks to the date before it even happens.
There are no such things as leagues. No one is too good for you. If you’re thinking in leagues, you’re using physical attractiveness as your only benchmark for a partner.
This is a grave mistake – you don’t know her, and you need to make sure you have other qualities by which you judge women. Compassion, intelligence, humour, drive – she may be gorgeous but lack these qualities.
So you’ve just as much right as anyone to be sitting at that dinner table with your date. You’re only there to have fun and see the woman sat opposite you meets your criteria – nothing more. Having that in your mindset will make the date a breeze.
It works the other way round. If you’re on a date with an amazing woman who aligns with your values, there’s no reason to assume they won’t be as interested in you.
Women want a fun, outgoing, and interesting man who knows what he wants and sets out to get it. And that includes her. You can possess all of these qualities, regardless of how you look.
Be bold and cultivate your social snowball.
2. Not capitalising on opportunities in the conversation
Every time a woman mentions her interests, you have the opportunity to quickly and naturally ask her out on a date if those are your intentions.
If she mentions that she loves a specific band or sports team, try saying this:
‘Hey, you know they’re playing next week. Want to go together? I can get us tickets.’
Maybe she loves French food, and you know of a sleek new restaurant to which you’d like to take her. Let her know.
You can turn any conversation point into an invitation, even from the standpoint of playful disagreement:
‘You know, I just don’t know enough to refute your argument, you’re too smart. Maybe if we met for a drink next weekend, I could do some research in the meantime and give myself a fighting chance?’
3. Not being assumptive when you first text
Once you’ve got a woman’s number and you’re texting for the first time, you might tank your opportunity by asking if she’s “still up for” that drink.
This indicates self-doubt from the start. Why would your date have changed her mind? You’re still the same engaging, fun guy you were when she gave you her number.
If her mood or situation has changed, she’ll tell you. It’s a better idea to start on a positive note. Positivity and negativity are equally contagious, and switching between them is an active choice.
Suggest a time and date of your own instead of asking what works for her. This shows leadership and confidence. If that time isn’t convenient, the ball’s now in your date’s court to come up with a new arrangement.
But it’s an arrangement, and that’s the critical factor.
‘Hey, it was great speaking to you last night. I’m looking forward to picking up where we left off. How about this Friday at 9 pm?
4. Not planning anything for the date
If you met online or didn’t speak for long before exchanging numbers, your date planning is the real first impression. You make that impression before you even turn up.
The activities and settings of your date will dictate whether you start on the right footing or if you’ll continuously play catch-up from the outset.
How you plan for the time you’ll spend together is an excellent opportunity to show off attractive traits like decisiveness, creativity, and thoughtfulness. Take the lead on it. You already did by asking her out. Go the extra mile.
Don’t make the questions in your text conversations too open-ended, leaving room for doubt. Here’s how not to go about it:
‘So, do you want to maybe go somewhere for a drink or something?’
That won’t look like you’ve put any thought into the evening.
Instead, demonstrate some retroactive listening skills by planning activities based on a passion or value she has already expressed.
If you’ve planned something exciting and unique and booked tickets or reserved a table, it shows you’ve put some effort into your planning. This act of forethought will make a woman feel special and experience positive feelings before you’ve arrived.
On the date
Planning and mentality are crucial, and both can get you a long way to success before you turn up. However, they’re not foolproof, and there are still several aspects of the date to get right on the day.
5. Turning up late.
This one is a complete no-brainer. Turning up late starts the date with negative vibes.
Lateness makes you look flippant or too unacquainted with adult life to stick to commitments—neither of these marks you out as a sound time investment for her.
Demonstrate your attentiveness, good manners, and organisational competence by getting there 5-10 minutes early. If you arrive before your date, earn yourself some extra brownie points by having a drink ready before she sits down.
Sometimes, lateness is unavoidable. However, be upfront and communicate this to your date while you’re en route.
6. Not paying a woman enough attention
You may be dating in the same area your friends and family live. If you see people you know while you’re out or find yourself making conversation with strangers, don’t let it drag on too long. Your date will start to zone out.
Always bring the attention back to learning about her life and character.
It’s also best to resist the temptation to join a group of friends if invited. You may feel safe around people you know well, but she might not. You can have a more intimate conversation without other people around.
Impress her with your personality, not your social circle. Show her why you have so many friends, rather than how many friends you have.
7. Talking too much, or too little
Ask open questions, listen to your date’s answers, and then show her through your responses that you’ve been listening.
Continually changing the subject can be distracting, but waffling about one topic can turn dull very quickly. Let your date do the majority of the talking. People love to talk about themselves. It makes them feel noticed and valued.
You might notice that she’s filling pauses in the conversation with noncommittal fillers like ‘really’ and ‘oh, wow’ instead of asking open questions for more information. These are signs that she’s checking out of the chat.
Move on to the next subject, bringing it back to her interests.
8. Not picking up on cues
Your date could express their attraction through body language, such as prolonged eye contact, playful touching, or leaning in towards you during the conversation.
They may take the form of conversational cues, such as your suggesting the next place to check out or staying for another round of drinks.
These all indicate that she wants the night to continue and are sure signs that she’s into you. Make sure you mirror her enthusiasm and say yes before taking the encounter to the next level.
If she’s asking about where you live, offer to show her your place.
9. Not engaging your date physically
If her body language is open, and she’s tactile with you, respond in kind. Taking touch out of her sensory experience means that she’s likely to put up barriers as the evening progresses.
She may touch your arm lightly as it rests on the bar, so do the same to her. You might like what she’s wearing, so gently feel the material in an appropriate location while complimenting her and asking about it.
When your date is sitting next to you on a cosy sofa, occasionally touch her leg as you engage her in conversation. You might end up taking a walk somewhere. If so, hold her hand or walk arm-in-arm.
If she’s receptive, you can be a little more cheeky, but it’s possible to demonstrate physically without crossing her boundaries.
This will also communicate your sexual interest in her and encourage a response.
10. Not making a move
Failing to make a move is the absolute clincher. You could’ve done everything right up to this point, but bottling it at the last minute is the least sexy action imaginable.
If she’s been giving you obvious cues, she’s interested and will most likely want you to make a move.
Women often don’t take the initiative for several reasons. Maybe she’s shy or anxious, perhaps she doesn’t want to be seen as too forward, or she might be worried about rejection.
Maybe she likes a man who shows no fear in accepting the risk attached to a first move – it could well be a test of your mettle.
Whatever the reason, assume that it’s on you to make the first move if she’s sending signals. Go in for the kiss if she stands close to you, looks into your eyes, or pauses at her door before entering.
If your place is on the way to hers, ask if she’d like to pop in for coffee. Avoiding the kiss will make her feel rejected, which could mean it’s the last time you hear from her.
After the date
You can plan the most fantastic date of all time and carry it off without a hitch. However, if you start to act too clingy afterwards or ignore her altogether, you might find your chances starting to slim back down.
11. Not setting up the next dat
While you’re on the first date, steer the conversation toward a common interest or an experience you’d both like to share. Suggest doing it together, and if your date agrees, confirm a time and place. Establishing a second date should be that easy.
If she enjoys hanging out with you and wants to have fun a second time, it should be a foregone conclusion.
You can now relax a little knowing the second date’s already happening. This approach works especially well with events that are happening at a specific date and time, such as a gig, play, or sports fixture.
For those scenarios, the time is already confirmed. You just have to extend the invitation.
If you’d rather keep things simple and open, ask instead about her plans for next week. If she’s free, ask her if she’d like to go out again on a specific night.
Vague plans lead to vague responses. If she likes you, she’ll commit to a time.
12. Texting or calling too much after the date
Give her some space after you’ve met up. Let those pleasant memories marinate.
Ping her a quick text after your date once you’re back home, thanking her for a lovely evening and checking that she got home safe. That’s all you need. After this, wait a day or two to strike up contact again, if she doesn’t touch base first.
You should have already lined up a second date. If not, text your date mid-week to make arrangements.
Text or call in a couple of days, and tell her how much you look forward to meeting again. Also, be sure to ask how she’s doing.
Have patience when awaiting replies – she may well play it cool.
Bombarding her with unanswered calls and texts will put her completely off you if she isn’t responding in kind. They may also undo all the progress you made on your first date by giving an impression of neediness.
A positive mentality, open mind, and proactive, assumptive approach to setting up the second date can turn your first date into the premiere of a series.
Avoid smothering her with contact between dates, but make sure you check in on your date once or twice to let her know you’re thinking about her.
Most of all, have fun. It’s infectious.
My virtual Impactful Connections workshops can help you meet hundreds of women and form deep, emotional bonds – as well as sharing some sexual electricity on the way.