So you’re going out with someone for the first time – on a real date, anyway, since you may know them more casually already. This can be nerve-wracking as it may seem like a potential minefield of missteps.
Bearing in mind that the whole purpose of a date is to get to know each other better, which by its very nature makes both parties feel a bit vulnerable, how can you maximise the opportunity to help you decide whether you’d like another one or not?
Keep the first date casual
Agree to meet for coffee or a drink, rather than an entire evening or day out, or do something together that you’re both interested in anyway, like learning how to dance or attending an interesting talk, so you can get to know each other without too much pressure or time invested. If that goes well, you can then arrange something further.
Give yourself and your fellow date a chance
People are often very nervous on first dates so things may not flow easily right from the beginning. Give each other time to relax a bit by keeping the conversation light to start with.
Ask good questions
Once you’ve both relaxed a bit, you have an opportunity to find out more about your date. Without it seeming like an interrogation, try to work some informative questions into the conversation. Questions like “Do you like to go out a lot or are you more of a homebody?’ or “What’s your dream job?” can tell you a lot about someone. Do not ask questions like “What would your ideal wedding look like?” or “How many kids do you want?” unless you want them to run for the hills.
If it’s really not going to work, let them down gently but honestly
If you’ve got to know each a bit and you can see that it’s really not going to work on a dating level – maybe the spark just isn’t there or your value systems are just too different – be honest about it. Be kind and respectful of their feelings while being clear about yours. Only take the “Let’s just be friends” route if it’s clearly a mutual decision. That way you can each be free to go your own way and find someone more compatible.
Image credit: enggul via Flickr