6 dos and don’ts of first dates

If it’s been a while since you’ve been on a date, these expert tips will get you up to speed.

If you are back on the dating scene after quite some time, you’re not alone.

Most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that 49,404 couples divorced in 2018 – and that’s not including the number of de facto couples who also went their separate ways.

If you are about to dip your toe in the dating scene again, how do you handle a first date?

“If you have been married or with a partner for quite some time, then you may find the dating scene has changed quite a lot. Getting out there again can seem a bit overwhelming,” says Renee Brown, relationship coach and founder of Corporate Cupid.

“The dating scene today is fast-paced and can be quite dismissive – making the right impression on a first date matters.”

So, what are the key do’s and don’ts of a first date?

1. Be on time and present yourself at your best

Be punctual – think of your date as a professional meeting.

“First dates are awkward enough – no one wants to be left waiting and wondering if they’ve been stood up!” says Renee.

And be well-presented: “Make a positive first impression. If you’ve been married and had children, you may have put yourselves last so buy a new outfit that resembles the new you.”

2. Take turns doing the talking

“People can get nervous on first dates and ramble and talk too much. Don’t just speak about yourself all the time – be a good listener, too,” says Renee.

“Share stories so conversation will flow.”

Your game plan is to find out enough about each other to see if you’d like another date.

3. Ask creative questions

Ask questions like “do you have a passion beside your job?”, “what were you like as a kid?” or “what is the best memory about your home city growing up?”

“These emotional-based questions spark conversations and a connection and you learn a bit more about the other person,” says Renee.

4. Don’t dwell on bad relationship experiences

“If you’re lonely and want someone to talk to you may use the first date as a counselling session,” says Renee.

“Stuff has happened and you’re waiting to emotionally dump the trauma but don’t use the first date to do that.”

Skim across the negatives and focus on who you are now and what you’re looking forward to.

5. Don’t talk about how much you want a relationship

Don’t talk about how many kids you want either.

“This will make the other person feel uneasy and look like you’re coming on too strong. Leave this until at least the third date,” says Renee.

6. Flirt and make a move if it feels right

“If you feel a genuine attraction, you can hold hands, hug, or touch the other person’s arm,” says Renee.

“You may have forgotten how to flirt but you can let the other person know you’re interested in another date with a simple hug or holding hands.”

Written by Sarah Marinos.