2a448e46-ef55-4a69-92d0-359d2720d400First dates have changed over the course of the years. Things that were customary in the past are considered old-fashioned, creepy, or just not safe. It’s a sign of the times, and to be successful, you need to roll with it.

Here are some guidelines to make sure your first date is a success.

First Dates Do Not Include…

Picking her up at home — While this used to be customary, the world is a scarier place now. Unless she specifically asks to be picked up, assume that she has her own ride.

Flowers or gifts — This is also an old-fashioned custom. Nowadays, most girls will find this a bit too forward and a tad creepy. If you’re an old-fashioned guy and insist on presenting her with something, buy a single rose in pink (admiration) or yellow (friendship).

First Dates Need…

A unique location — Every other first date she’s been on has taken her to dinner and a movie. Set yourself apart by taking her out for dinner theater, bocce ball, the arcade, or a “staycation” adventure in your hometown.

A clean bod — Take a shower (yes, even if you showered this morning). Deodorize and put on a small amount of cologne. Can’t smell it if you only use a little bit? That’s because you’re used to the smell. Trust me, she’ll notice it.

If you have a cloud of Axe (can product link here, change to any cologne
you want) orbiting your head, there’s a chance she might go into a wheezing fit just being near you. A little goes a long way.

Appropriate dress — Even if you’re going to Chili’s you should pay attention to what you’re wearing. A three-piece suit isn’t necessary (unless you’re going to the opera or a 5-star restaurant!). On the flip side, you should avoid jeans unless they’re high quality and paired with a button-down shirt. Finally, women notice shoes. Wear your best pair.

Timeliness — Plan to arrive early. The most stressful part of a date for a woman is waiting for the guy to show up, especially if he’s late. Her mind will spin in all sorts of directions and that’s not the frame of mind you want her to be in for your evening!

No big surprises — Remember, she’s as nervous as you are. A sense of predictability helps to ease the anxiety. If you show up at the chic new restaurant only to find it’s an hour wait for a table, then you’re stuck without a plan.

Call your date location in advance. Make a reservation if that’s possible. If your restaurant of choice doesn’t offer reservations, ask what the average wait time is for a party of two for that night of the week.

If your plans were dinner at 7 and there’s normally a 45-minute wait, arrive at 6:30 to put your name on the list. When your date arrives, it will be just in time to sit and eat. This is easy to do and very impressive.

A warm greeting — Here’s a place where you’ll have to read her body language. Some women are comfortable with a hug or kiss on the cheek as a hello, while others prefer a handshake.

Skip the three-pump business handshake! Gently grasp her hand with both
of yours, make eye contact and say how great it is to finally meet her in person.

Conversation — Nothing turns a good date sour faster than an awkward silence. Have at least a few conversation starters up your sleeve just in case. If it’s a great date and you get along well, you probably won’t use any of them!

Avoid talk of sex, religion, or politics unless she brings it up; these topics tend to be sensitive and best saved for when you know each other better.

Your job in the conversation of a first date is to keep her talking about herself as much as possible. The more interest you show in her, the more she will like you. Talking about yourself is fine (especially if she asks!), but keep it short and sweet and then turn the conversation back to her interests.

A good wrap-up — If things went well, tell her! It’s not taboo to talk about setting up a second date if you feel she’s really interested in you. If she’s sending out the right signals, it’s also appropriate to seal the evening with a kiss.

Take these steps to success and enjoy your great dates!