How to Handle a First Date

Scoring a first date with your newest crush can be exhilarating, but then comes the pressure of not screwing it up. Anything you do or say during your date may be scrutinized; putting your best foot forward certainly boosts your chances for a second date. That said, many people have misconceptions about first dates that could lead to unwise choices. Understanding the myths and truths about first-date etiquette can help you make a first impression that leaves your date yearning for more.

7 Active Myths | Suggest a Myth
MYTH: You should wait at least one or two days before trying to arrange a second date.

This outdated rule of dating is rooted in a time when people didn't carry smartphones with texting and social media. Now, to ignore your date for the requisite 24-hour cool down period just seems contrived. If you want to text your date and say, "I had a really good time," then do it! If you want to call the next day and ask for a second date, do it! People communicate much more rapidly nowadays than ever before, and waiting two days to contact your suitor again can seem like an eternity - especially if the first date went really well.

FACT: You should always offer to pay for yourself.

Chivalry isn't completely dead, but times have certainly changed. Today's young women are more independent and career-minded than women of previous generations, and many are willing and able to cover their own costs. However, this puts men in a predicament; how do you know when you should or shouldn't pay? And, for women, how do you know whether your date has more old-fashioned views about paying? That's why offering to pay for yourself is a good rule of thumb for everyone involved. Men who want to pick up the tab can still do it, and women who would rather pay for themselves don't need to feel awkward.

MYTH: Never talk politics on a first date.

Politics isn't a good idea if you don't know much about who you're dating. Even people who have similar political views in some ways may still wind up in heated, date-killing arguments. However, don't be afraid to talk politics if it comes up; while talking politics can have consequences, an agreeable conversation could also be favorable. Also, don't shy away from politics if you're normally outspoken on the topic. If it's that big of a deal to you, the it's going to come up anyway.

FACT: Sparks don't always fly from the very start.

As much as people would love to believe in love at first site, that's often not really what happens in real life - but that's why people go on dates. You should feel some kind of chemistry on the first date, but sometimes the "ah ha!" moment doesn't happen until after a few dates. Be patient and focus on getting to know the person; you'll learn soon enough whether the relationship is a good fit.

MYTH: Dinner and a movie is a great first date.

Going out to dinner is a tried-and-true option for a first date, but you may want to skip the movie and go someplace where you can keep talking. Nothing puts a damper on a killer date like sitting in silence for two hours. If you want something fun and entertaining to follow dinner, consider going to a pub or watching some stand-up comedy. Dates filled with smiling, chatting and laughter almost always result in second dates.

MYTH: Don't worry too much about what you wear.

Some people take a "come as you are" approach to dating, but this approach will usually nip you in the bud. There's no reason why even the most laid-back person can't put on a nice, button-down shirt to show the date is just slightly more important than getting burgers with the guys. On the other hand, don't go overboard with dressing up - there's no need to wear a suit or shirt and die unless you're going somewhere super fancy (which you're probably not doing for a first date). The goal is for your date to see you've made an effort to look sharp.

FACT: It's OK to have sex on the first date.

Sex on a first date is rarely a great idea, but it's not always a bad thing. If you meet the perfect someone and the sparks DO fly - or if it's someone you've known for awhile, and both of you had always been attracted to each other - then sex on the first date may feel as right as a goodnight kiss. So, if you do wind up in the sack before the night is over, don't kick yourself too much. Just don't make a habit of this and expect to find lots of healthy relationships.