First dates can be fun. They can also be absolute nightmares: awkward silences, someone with no funny bone and overthinking everything you say are all cause for cringing. Remember these 5 date hacks for a great first date—even if there definitely isn’t going to be a second one.
1. Put Away Your Smartphone
Who wants to go out on a date only to sit across from each other, faces buried in Instagram or Twitter? You could have stayed at home in your pajamas and done that any night. Putting away your phone—and not taking it out once unless it’s to snap a cute picture or exchange contact info—will communicate that you genuinely care about the person you’re spending the evening with. Plus, if your date follows your example, you’ll be able to truly get to know each other, which is why you’re doing this in the first place.
2. Find Out What They Love
While you’re showing genuine interest in the date, be sure to show genuine interest in the person you’re on it with! If you can find out what their passion is and get them to talk about it, things can really loosen up. It’s super easy to elaborate on what’s meaningful to you, and it will most likely be the same for your date. Plus, you showing genuine interest is flattering, and if your date has a great time, so will you.
3. Do a Little Prep Work
Even if you get to talking about your passions, awkward silences can still pop up. Ten minutes or less of prep work is all you need to prevent these nasty surprises. Just brainstorm some fun, easy-going questions to ask if things suddenly get quiet and neither of you knows what to say. Something as simple as “What’s your favorite movie, and why?” can start a whole conversation. Think of topics you really want to know about—college stories, future career plans, general life goals (short of the marriage and baby talk, though…), etc.—and that you’d be willing to answer too.
4. Find Something to Laugh About
Unless he’s like Dwight Shrute from The Office, you ought to be able to find at least one joke, story, people-watching specimen or other humorous tidbit to share a chuckle over. As you’re feeling your date out by discovering their passions and asking questions you thought up in advance, see if you can uncover what kind of humor they enjoy. And if you can’t, just wing it. After all, if your funny bones don’t measure up to one another’s, that could be a good indication you’re better off as friends.
5. Look At It As an Experience, Rather Than a Success or Failure
This is the most freeing and probably the most important piece of advice for a successful, stress-free first date: Don’t overthink it. You’re not signing your life away. You don’t have to decide if you want to marry them after one evening, and you’re not trapped in a whole relationship after just one night either. You can always decline the invitation for a second date if it’s not a good fit. Just make this date a fun time to get to know someone in a different way. You might learn something for your future dating toolbox, or you might become friends or business connections. There’s nothing bad about expanding your network!
Even if the evening wasn’t fun and you feel it was a waste of time, it wasn’t. You can always learn from every experience, and tuck away that knowledge for future reference. Get ready for your next date now by doing your homework and, most importantly, by being ready to just be you!