First date tips

Even if you make an unfavourable impression when you first meet someone, if you can still get them on a date with you then you can always rectify that impression. Recovering from a terrible first date on the other hand is a difficult thing to do.

This article will discuss some tips for having an incredible first date, which paves the way for whatever sort of relationship you are looking for. I will also answer some common first date questions throughout…

The best attitude to have on a first date:

Most people’s downfall when arranging or actually going on a first date with someone new is putting far too much pressure and outcome dependence on what might happen.

I’ve always found it useful to think of a date as “hanging out with someone” rather than assuming romantic implications. The more informal and casual you make the date sound when discussing plans, the more relaxed the other person will feel about the whole event.

How to act on a first date:

The first few minutes of a date often determines how the rest of it will go and how at ease everyone feels. The absolute worst thing to occur is an awkward silence or a sense of unfamiliarity when you first meet.

What I often used to do when I first met a woman for a date was give her a big overly enthusiastic hug, as it immediately gets her in a fun state as well as immediately breaking any physical reservations. Even more important though is to smile genuinely and to start talking and interacting straight away.

As for gestures and actions, I always advocate being gentlemanly and polite but never submissive.

Remember that the purpose of a date is to get to know each other; there are obviously fun and boring ways to go about this. Ask lots of questions but avoid making it seem like an interview. If you struggle to come up with interesting questions, statements and stories then I actually have several games you can play on a date that achieve this that I am happy to share by request.

Who should pay on a first date?

A lot of men still worry about who should pay on a first date as it does indeed set a precedent for any relationship thereafter.

As with most things related to dating, something is only an issue if you make it an issue! Even so, there are still a lot of assumptions that people have about who should pay on a date.

A great way to diffuse any awkwardness over who should pay is to casually address the situation before it crops up. An example of what I used to say is something like, “I’ll get these drinks and you can get the ice-creams later.”

If you have the money and you are happy to pay then by all means do so, as long as it isn’t forced or obligatory. The only thing to remember is that roles such as this are a lot harder to change down the line than set out at the start of a relationship. If you don’t want to pay for everything if a relationship does develop then don’t pay for everything whilst dating.

Getting physical on a first date:

Following on from my suggestion of greeting your date with a hug, you want to go through the date with a smooth progression of physical touch. This begins with social touch (touching areas of the body like the shoulders and forearms) to more romantic touch such as hand-holding and prolonged contact. The key is to have a smooth escalation of all these different types of touch right from the start so that there are never any awkward jumps in levels of intimacy.

Kissing is really just another stage on this scale, somewhere between romantic touch and sexual touch.

This should answer the question about when to kiss on a first date; the answer being once your date is comfortable with romantic touch (touching areas such as the hands, legs and face).

Where to go on a first date:

One of my very first articles on sparklife was an article titled The perfect first date, which described what I believe is the best first date. I shall paraphrase some of that information here.

Cliché dates such as going to the cinema or going to dinner may well be enjoyable but they don’t allow the best opportunity for two people to connect and engage with each other.

A far better alternative is to arrange something quick, easy, low-commitment, casual and fun. This can be simply going for a drink together or perhaps meeting in a town centre or shopping mall for a bit. The activity shouldn’t have to be the source of fun… you should be!

You will also get far less flakes or rejections on dates such as these as there is far less pressure and expectation for a potential relationship.

Some final first date tips:

The main thing on a first date is to have fun and not worry about any eventual outcome for now. Every date is a learning experience.

Don’t hesitate to go on lots of dates and never pre-empt someone being “the one” before you have really got to know them. 🙂

Much love,


6 replies
  1. Jon
    Jon says:

    Hey. This is awesome advice for me man as I’m currently at this exact stage, dating various women and trying not to put too much hope into each one. It does seem that the less I care about a date the more natural and cool I am on it. Thats also usually the women I aint so attracted to, so bit of a problem there.

    I sometimes get really caught up trying to be myself or try to impress a women. Your stuff about the attitude to have and how to act helps a lot thanks.

    Also I guess I’m not the only one interested in knowing what the game you mention is when you said about being able to ask questions and stories and stuff. Would well love to know what it is as I sometimes struggle with keeping conversation going 1 on 1 with a new woman.

    Cheers -J

    • Samuel McCrohan
      Samuel McCrohan says:

      Hey Jon,

      That’s great that you’re putting yourself out there and going on lots of dates. It is hard to recreate that carefree attitude when you are genuinely attracted to a particular woman. More dating experience and surrounding yourself with more of the women you are attracted to is the best way to genuinely develop that natural, cool persona for all dates.

      Developing high standards with regards to dating and realising that there is more to women than physical attractiveness was the pivotal moment for me… I would go on dates with a very neutral attitude and a genuine curiosity to find out more about her. This will also help with neutralising any agendas, such as when you mention the conflict between being yourself and trying to impress a woman.

      As for some games to help ease socialising one on one, I actually have several of them that vary between being fun or rapport based.

      Probably the simplest to explain here is a game called ‘The Questions Game’. It is something that a lot of fellow dating coaches I’ve worked with have had input to and use themselves so I can’t take full credit for it.

      Anyway, the game goes as follows:

      First you tell the woman you are with that you want to play a game that will help you get to know each other better. The rules are simply that you take it in turns to answer questions, you can’t repeat any questions that the other person has asked and that the questions can’t be boring.

      This will still allow for natural conversation but it means that whenever there is a lull you can quickly rejuvenate the conversation with something like, “right, whose question is it next?”

      Another benefit of the questions game is that you can direct the conversation where you want to go without it sounding jarred. You can introduce various topics easily such as slightly sexual questions. Be creative with it! After many dates using something similar to this you’ll discover what sort of questions get the best reaction from women. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting and I’m glad you liked this article,


  2. Eva
    Eva says:

    I am also very intrigued to hear about the ‘games’ you mention! Please reveal some 🙂

    This is great advice Sam, I love the article. You’re so right about where to go on a date…as much as I love going to the cinema and out for a meal, I think meeting somewhere more casual puts so much less pressure on. I used to do the whole cliche date thing, but when I met my recent boyfriend, we started going to loads of other cool places. It was so much more fun!

    I look forward to reading your next article.

    Eva x

    • Samuel McCrohan
      Samuel McCrohan says:

      Hi Eva,

      I’ve explained one of the games in my reply to Jon’s comment above. There are more intricate ones too but I’ll leave it with that one for now as it is the easiest to remember and use.

      Cinema and meals out do make great dates… they just don’t make particularly great FIRST dates! I agree that the less pressure on a first date the better and it’s great to hear that you found someone who shares your idea of fun dates.

      Thanks for commenting, 🙂


  3. Elena
    Elena says:

    You bring up some really great points. I know that I have been excited about first dates that I put huge expectations on whether it works out or not. What do you think of something like bowling for a first date?

    • Samuel McCrohan
      Samuel McCrohan says:

      Hi Elena,

      I think bowling can be a great idea for a first date. There’s loads of opportunity for teasing, excitement and friendly competition. 🙂

      Following what I said in the article, depending on how well I knew the person already, I would still try and make a more organised activity such as bowling seem casual and low-committal. I would also make sure to go for a drink or something afterwards. The bowling would cover the fun aspect of the date but may now allow much time to get to know each other personally.

      Great suggestion; thanks a lot for commenting, 🙂


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