The Do's and Don'ts of First Dates

Dating can be both a positive and negative experience. For many people, first dates are intimidating, especially if you are meeting in person for the first time. First dates can be filled with awkward pauses, nerves running high, and for many people, they tend to trigger anxiety.

I recently conducted research on the do’s and don'ts of first dates. I asked both men and women, all within their 20’s, about their past dating experiences. Using their answers, I have compiled a list of do’s and don’ts of first dates from both perspectives. 

I would like to precede this list, however, by acknowledging that above all, the best thing you can do on a first date is to be yourself. If a relationship is meant to be, it will be. As well, not all items in the lists below will apply to each individual's experience. That’s what I believe makes dating such an interesting concept, everyone has their own set list of do’s and don'ts. Dating should be about having fun, being yourself, and finding the person who shares the same beliefs and ideals as you do.

couple seen holding hands through the window at a table with two glasses of wine on the table

Let’s get into the list of Do’s and Don’ts.

Advice from Men: First Date Do’s 

  1. When speaking with men about the topic of first dates, the general consensus was that although the man would never make their date pay, the offer to pay is nice to receive because it shows the kind of person you are. 
  2. Be yourself. Don’t lie to try and impress me.

  3. Ask me about my family, my life, my interests. Engage in conversation with me. 

  4. Sometimes, it’s nice when the girl makes the first move. It shouldn't always have to be the guy. If you’re interested, be flirty, sometimes it’s hard to read a girl. 

  5. Do something or go somewhere where you can talk and enjoy one another's company. If you're both into music, try going to a show. 

  6. Message after the date to say you had a fun time, be appreciative. 

Advice from Men: First Date Don’ts 

  1. If at a restaurant, don’t order messy food. An example given was spaghetti or chicken wings. Once you get more comfortable with one another, order all the messy foods you want! 

  2. Don’t put me on the spot by asking me a super serious question. It may make things awkward.

  3. Don’t go on your phone. It’s fine to have it at the table but it kills the mood if you're on it the entire time or constantly looking at it. 

  4. Don’t play with your hair the entire time.

  5. Don’t overthink!!!! 

  6. Don’t do your “research” on me via social media. Get to know me on the date.

holding hands at sunset

Advice from Women: First Date Do’s

  1. Wear something that makes you feel confident.

  2. Give me an idea of what we’re doing so I know what to wear.

  3. Set a time and be on time. 

  4. Text me after the date to say you had fun / ask if I got home safe. This says a lot about who you are. Be appreciative! 

  5. A “ladies first” man is attractive. Hold the door for me. If you're picking me up, opening the car door for me makes a great impression.

  6. Go in with an open mind, people are never what they seem.

Advice from Women: First Date Don’ts

  1. Don’t ignore the red flags. Trust your gut. 

  2. Try not to have too high expectations; they will disappoint every time.

  3. If you're picking me up, don't text me that you're here. Come to the door and knock on it. I know this may be scary, but it really sets you apart from those who send a quick “here” text. 

  4. Don’t talk about your ex or past relationships, only if asked. Even if asked, keep it brief. 

  5. Don’t drive away after dropping me off. Walk me to the door and wait until I get in the house before driving off. 

  6. Don’t force something if it isn't there.

rose wine