First dates are nerve-wracking, even for the most confident of people so it’s important that things run as smoothly as possible to help you avoid any embarrassing dating disasters.
However, there are some definite first date no no’s, such as rambling on about your ‘perfect’ ex all night long and letting out a burp at the dinner table because you’ve drunk too much prosecco.
So what should you do to ensure you get asked out on date number two?
Jo Hemmings, behavioural psychologist, shares her recipe for the perfect first date. She said: “It’s worth remembering that everybody experiences anxiety when going on a first date, so if you’re feeling a bit nervous, it’s only to be expected and you can reassure yourself that your date will be feeling exactly the same way.
“Pamper yourself in whichever way will help you feel as confident as you can – given that it is a first date.
“Have your hair done or a fresh manicure or pedicure, or simply give yourself enough time to get ready. Rushing around with little time to spare, will just add to your nerves.
“Wear something that makes you feel good about yourself, but which isn’t too tight, too low-cut or too short. I’m not suggesting you dress like a nun, far from it, but wearing something too revealing will both distract you while you wiggle it about to cover yourself up and distract your date, who may not be able to fully concentrate on getting to know you.”
She continued: “ Arrive a few minutes early. It’s much easier to quell nerves when you’re the first to arrive.
“When he arrives, stand up, smile and give him a kiss (or two) on the cheek. It will help with your confidence to take some control early on and handshakes should be reserved for interviews and work related meetings only.
“We all know that foods rich in garlic are probably best avoided on a first date, but it’s also worth dodging those foods that are likely to make you bloated, or worse, burp or break wind.
“While you might well steer clear of sprouts outside of the festive season, did you know that unabsorbable carbohydrates such as beans, broccoli and apples can also lead to trapped wind? Sadly so does champagne, prosecco and most fizzy drinks – so if in any doubt stick to a couple of glasses of wine.”
She said anxiety makes us drink more or faster on a first date and being tipsy doesn’t necessarily make a good first impression. She suggests keeping to the OWOW system - one water, one wine.
Another tip is to think about a few questions to ask your date if the conversation doesn’t seem to be flowing as naturally as it might.
Safe bets include asking about his taste in films, music, travel or hobbies or telling him about yours. It is best to avoid talking about politics or asking too many questions about ex partners.
Jo continued: “Try not to build your expectations too high, while also not going on your date with too cynical a mind set, which is often tempting if you’ve been hurt by someone else or out of the dating scene for a while.
“First dates are about finding out about each other, recognising whether you have shared chemistry and humour and above all having fun!”
She also says people should think about where your first date should be and how long it should last. Her tips include not going to the movies as there won’t be a lot of time to talk, but to instead plan to meet for an hour or an hour and a half over coffee or a drink. She suggests it could be an idea to say you need to leave by a certain time so that if you both like each other you will see each other again - and if not, an hour is not too long to spend with someone.
She added: “Give your date your full attention. Which means your phone should be on silent and in your handbag – not on the table.
“You can tease a little with body language – lean in towards him if you like him, and slightly back if not. You can also check to see if he ‘mirrors’ your body language, which is always a revealing sign and helps build connection.”