But having got over the practicalities of what to wear etc ... you can’t escape the nitty-gritty. What on earth will you talk about? Will the words flow, or will there be a lot of awkward silences? Will he crack any jokes, or laugh at any of yours? Will he expect you to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of art and history? Will he be some sort of nerd or a boffin? Will you feel totally stupid?
Let’s think about the “do’s and dont’s” of making this a success.
To start with remember the fundamental difference between you – he is a man and you are a woman.
Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus
(Yes - do read the book, I swear by it!). We may both be the same species, but the difference between the two sexes is like the difference between an ant an elephant!
If you were going for a girlie night out, your anticipation of the event would be totally different. Girls immediately fall into gossipy chat mode. We get close at the flick of a wrist and with the first glass of wine. This is the point, a meet up with a member of the opposite sex will be more daunting, more reserved, more formal in a way, less easy to relax into it and get conversing. It just is! So read on because with some forethought, yes you can handle it!
In essence, women LOVE to talk, and yes, they utter on average at least an extra 20,000 words a day! A woman talks expansively, getting her point across and venting her feelings. A man, who was historically the hunter/gatherer/provider – then gets anxious as he doesn’t have a solution to her problems and backs away. This is not conducive to good communication!
So ... on that first date ladies, you need to button up! Don’t pour your heart out (yet!) and expect a reaction. Keep the conversation light and flippant so he doesn’t feel any responsibility to sort you out!!
Now ... what’s the secret of success in most walks of life?
Answer - the preparation!
What should I do?
Go back to the dating site and read his profile carefully. Look for clues. Note everything. Look at his pictures. Think about all of this. So his favourite film is Star wars - is he a space geek? His favourite hobby is a county walk followed by a nice glass of wine - is he a wine guru? That picture of him has a boat behind it - is it his boat? Does he sail? He mentioned liking a bet on the horses - does he ride? Does he go to the races? Does he own a horse? If he likes Radio 4, have a look at what’s been on this week and make sure you can talk about it.
Does it mention his occupation? If it does, read about it.
For example, if he works for a newspaper – find and read an edition of the newspaper! If he works in/runs a garage, look at his website, see what type of cars they sell/service – research the newest car they’ve just brought out. If he’s a chef, find out which restaurant he works in and read about the different menus he is cooking.
If he likes to travel, see if you can see where he’s been. Have you been to any of these places? Have a look at them online. Find out the name of the capital city, the climate, the main sights to see, the local language and currency. Have something up your sleeve about this.
Using all this information, start to plan your topics of conversation. Read this week’s news and write down a few amusing stories. For example this week , as I write, the world’s first driverless bus went into action in the USA. What do you think of that, is it safe, is it good? What about the bus drivers who will lose their jobs etc ... Also, two women were rescued with a dog that had been adrift in the Atlantic for 5 months, after they had engine failure in their power boat. They survived on dried food, and nuts and were rescued eventually b a passing cargo ship. What an incredible story!
Now - when you get to the venue, first things first.
Look pleased to see him - even if - and it’s very likely - he doesn’t look anything like his photograph!
You need direct eye contact and a good firm handshake.
Say something welcoming like, “I’m just so pleased to meet you. I’ve been looking forward to this!”
Have a drink – it doesn’t have to be alcohol – but it’s convivial to share something together. Even if this is two cups of coffee or two diet cokes.
Sit comfortably where you can keep good eye contact and hear what he is saying. I found it uncomfortable to be so close our knees were touching on a first date - so personally I would keep a little distance apart. I would suggest sitting opposite each other, rather than side by side for these reasons, or perhaps at right angles to each other, but its more awkward if you are side by side.
This may sound obvious but it’s easy to forget when you are nervous. Try to speak slowly and in an even tone. It’s hard to engage with someone who is babbling away nineteen to the dozen, or who is booming or shrieking! The conversation needs to be measured, mature and engaging.
What else should I do?
Turn off your mobile phone! It is very off putting when a new person in your life is more interested in looking at social media than concentrating on you!
Now, just remember listening is a skill. It’s a surprisingly active process! It’s not just about hearing what the other person has to say, it’s about taking it in. You may have been taught this as an interview technique. It’s very important that you are attentive. It’s so negative if you miss something or get it wrong, and it shows you weren’t really paying attention. The way you do this is by good body language, eye contact, hand movements, nodding the head etc ... But also with pit stops, saying from time to time “Oh I see ... so you lived in Australia after your son was born ... he wasn’t born out there ...” or, “That makes sense - you downsized after your son left home...” so he knows you are following the conversation.
In general, there is a technique to conversation. It’s important to say things in such a way that he has the inspiration to answer. So - don’t ask closed questions “Did you have a good day at work?” where he is invited just to say yes or no. Ask open ended questions such as “What happened at work today?”
Try to fire his imagination. “Can I tell you about the best holiday I ever had? I went to Thailand ...” Then ask him “Where was your best holiday?” and invite him to tell you a story.
At this stage, as you have only just met, quizzing him about his ex-wife or divorce is not helpful. So unless he mentions it, I wouldn’t say anything, even if you are dying of curiosity. In fact, the reason he was on dating site is because he wanted a new relationship and for now that information has to be good enough. Also, if he asks you about yours, I would keep it brief. It’s really unattractive to start delving into detail about who did what to whom. A more mature attitude, just that it’s in the past and you are over it, is infinitely preferable. If he breaks the taboo and goes go off into a diatribe about this last relationship, I would steer clear, as he probably isn’t over it and may well not be ready for anew commitment of any sort.
Remember everyone on internet dating sites has baggage. Some are widowed, some are divorced and some are just plainly and simply destined to be alone. The difference is that some people have got over their troubles and can move on. But some can’t. Beware those who are still emotionally traumatised as they may even unwittingly just be using you as a staging post.
Have a laugh!
It’s good to laugh, so if you can tell a few funny stories that’s good. It is important to try and see if you have the same sense of humour.
Think about the future. If you do get together, after the initial lust/sex thing is out of the way, what will you talk about? What do you have in common? Think about what you read on the profile and saw in his pictures. You can ask questions - sure - but do it gently. Not like the Gestapo!
Be complimentary. If he does something nice, says something flattering, is funny or inspiring, say so. We all like to feel appreciated. “That’s such a nice thing to say, thank you!” Don’t miss an opportunity. He will be feeling as nervous as you.
I would say don’t let the first meeting go on too long. Bow out while the going is good and leave him wanting more, so it should be you who draws things to a close. If you like him, it’s a good idea to suggest maybe we can do this again? But if not, just be brief and say it was lovely and I’ll email you – and go. The excuses can come later. But if you draw the meeting to a close, you are the one in control.
Do offer to pay for the drinks or buy a round. This is important. Many men are chivalrous but this is 2017 and certainly at the start, it’s important to be generous and up front about money. If he won’t let you, it’s your opportunity to say it’s your turn next time.
Men love a chase. They don’t value an easy lay – it’s true. So I would say it’s not good to have sex on the first date. Concentrate on the personality, friendship, communication aspects and let the feelings develop - before you give yourself away. You are a prize worth waiting for! A peck on the cheek and a short hug, so he can breathe you in is acceptable, but stop there. You want to leave him wanting more!
So - In Summary
Some might say the first date is unpredictable and it’s in the lap of the Gods -but I would say not at all. You need to research this as you would for a final dissertation! If you put in the effort - oh and incidentally if he puts in some effort too - it should be a positive, rewarding experience that will surprise and delight you both, and leave the scaffolding ready for the next phase.
Everything you needed to know about the first date and didn’t know who to ask!
How to Talk to a Man on a First Date
Surely THE MOST IMPORTANT thing about the success of any date – is the conversation?!
Here’s the thing – and I keep coming back to this – we are not robots.
We human beings are stuffed full of thoughts and emotions. If we could live happily side by side like two tin man people – in silence – but getting on famously – we would. But as we all know, life is not like that. Our emotional well being, psychological and physical health depends on the quality of our relationships. Communication is the key.
So, here you are preparing for a first date with a guy you have been emailing for a couple of weeks. It may well be that you haven’t had a date for a long time. In my case in Dating Daisy, I hadn’t had to think about dating for nearly three decades! So the very idea of getting ready for a date is scary.