You're going on a first date with someone, and if you're like most people, you've probably got butterflies in your stomach. But before you let your nerves get the best of you, keep this in mind: If you're the person who did the asking out, then it's up to you not only to make all of the plans but also to pick up the tab.
There is no right or wrong “thing” to do on a first date. If the two of you met through a mutual hobby, you can find a way to work that hobby into your first date. If you're both food lovers, going to dinner at a restaurant would be a great way to spend time together.
It's sort of an unwritten rule that the person who initiated the date should make the plans for the date, but if you don't feel comfortable having all the control over your plans, it's fine to poll your date about what he or she would like to do. However, if you get a response that the person doesn't care or would like to leave it up to you, then by all means plan away.
While you may want to impress your date, you don't want to overwhelm him or her the first time you go out. Don't go over the top with any of your plans, and don't spend money wildly your first time out. Your intentions may be good, but your extravagance may have the opposite effect.
Sometimes it's best to have a first date on a weeknight. This option gives you an automatic ending time, since you'll both need to get up for work, school, or other commitments the next day. Of course, if you really like each other, you can always make plans to see each other again the next night or that coming weekend. However, not everyone works a nine to five schedule, so the weeknight rule doesn't always apply. Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you make plans for your date:
What are your respective work schedules? Might having a breakfast date make the most sense for you?
Do you have a mutual hobby that you can pursue together on your first date?
What's your financial situation? Do you need to plan something that won't cost a lot of money yet will still be fun?
How will each of you arrive at your first date? Do you need to make plans to pick your date up and take him or her home?
As mentioned earlier, it's never bad etiquette to run a date idea by someone before making plans. That way if any of the above considerations give you pause, you can always ask your intended date for his or her opinion and make your plans accordingly.
When picking someone up for a date, do not announce your arrival by honking the horn or calling your date from your cell phone. Show your consideration and get out of your car to meet your date at his or her door.
Picking Up Your Date
If you're the one who asked the person out, you should be the one to pick him or her up. Unless you and your date agree on other arrangements, you should pick him or her up or meet at a location that's convenient. You can either pick him or her up at home or at the office.
If the pick-up place is her home, then you should really do the right thing and meet any of the people she lives with—whether it's her parents or her roommates. This gives them the chance to check you out and may help her feel more comfortable because she's able to have the people she trusts and loves around before she goes out on a first date with you.
If you're the parent and your child is about to have her first date, then you should insist that the person taking her out pick her up at home. If they've decided to meet somewhere, such as at the mall or the movies, then it is your duty to make sure that you meet the lady or gentleman that your child is going out with, introduce yourself, shake hands, and state any clear boundaries about the date's duration or when you expect your child home.
At the end of the night, you should always make sure that your date gets home safely whether you drive that person home, share a cab, or walk him or her to the door. This is a must, even if you are not the person who initiated the date, the night didn't go well, or you have no intentions of going out on another date.
How do I impress someone on a first date? Use chivalry whenever possible. You can hold the door open, or you can open the car door when you get to your destination. When it comes to dating demeanor, chivalry never goes out of style.
Now what if things did go well and you're getting ready to say goodnight? There's nothing wrong with a kiss to say goodnight and then ending the evening. But what do you do if you want more than a kiss?
You've probably heard the line, “Would you like to come upstairs for a nightcap?” in movies or on television. Or perhaps you've even used it yourself in the past. This can be a catchall phrase to see if your date is interested in getting intimate with you on that first date, or it could be a completely platonic request to continue your conversation only.
If you would like to spend more time with this person but tonight's not a good night, ask for a rain check and mention a night that works for you. By giving the person a specific response, you're letting him know that you are interested in seeing him and that you're willing to commit to a second date on the spot.
What do you do if your dating experience is dead in the water? Shake the person's hand when saying goodnight and offer something like this: “It was a lovely evening, but I think it would be best if we just remained friends.”
The best time for you to bring up the subject of a second date is at the end of the first date. This helps you to avoid the whole “I'll call you” scenario, even if you have every intention of phoning that person the next day. That phrase leaves too many people hanging on, and to be a delightful date, you should never leave someone wondering, “How does he really feel about me?”
Instead, if you'd like to see that person again, bring up when you'd like to have that second date. You can firm up your plans with a phone call the next day or sometime soon, but don't end the night without something concrete in place: “Let me call you on Friday once I know my plans for the weekend” will be much more satisfying than your saying, “Let's talk at some point over the weekend.”
Thanking someone after a date is always appropriate, especially if you really like that person and want to see him or her again. But unlike gift-giving occasions, you can get away with a phoned-in thank you to let the other person know how much fun you had on your date.