5 Tips for the get-to-know-you part of first dates
That hot guy or girl has finally decided to grab drinks with you… and now, you’re wondering how you can make yourself stand out. A new dress, a clean car, chivalry and a new scent can all make you more memorable, but it’s possible to impress someone on a less superficial level. If you want your crush to talk about you the next day and reach out for date number two, follow these tips to make sure that you leave a lasting impression you can be proud of:
Edit yourself down to the basics
There are standard first-date conversation topics: job, family, school, past relationships and interests. In all of these areas, there’s ample opportunity to ramble, get incredibly detailed or veer off into negativity. Think of the first date as your dating profile, only with conversations. What does this person generally need to know about you? Keep things upbeat and fun. This isn’t the time to go too deep into complaining about your job frustrations — or the fact that your ex who never wanted to commit married someone else a month after breaking up with you. While these things definitely shape who you are, all your potential new love interest will probably notice is how you’ll be describing him or her to the next person you go out with. So stick to the important stuff for now, and save any drama or confusing details about your life for later on down the road.
Embrace your quirky side
Know what makes you stand out from other people in the singles scene. If you have a unique interest, strange hobby, grew up in a non-traditional environment or have a part-time job that most people would run from, share it with your date. Sometimes the same old getting-to-know-you conversation tends to drag, and that makes it hard to leave a lasting impression. Were you the team mascot in college instead of the cheerleader or quarterback? Did you live in the smallest apartment ever when you first moved to the city? Are you a closet gangster rap fan? Things that make you different (not strange or dangerous) can help someone realize why you would be a great person to get to know better. All of us are more than what we do or what we look like, so let your date know what really makes you who you are inside.
Be observant and listen more than you speak
We all like to believe that we are good listeners. However, the truth is that people are often only listening for a pause so they can jump in with their own thoughts and ideas. Take a portion of the night out to really listen and observe the person you are with on your date. Outside of just giving you the facts, people often sneak in little tidbits that can be great add-ons to the night’s discussion. Also, observe the way your date eats, speaks to others, what catches this person’s eye or what he or she chooses to comment on. These can be great clues about your date’s interests, talents and who he or she is as a person. There’s nothing more exciting than to have someone “discover” something appealing about you that you didn’t readily put out there. Being observant is always a sign of deep interest on someone’s part — and who doesn’t like that?
Behave graciously toward everyone
I am stealing this tip from the Job Interview 101 website: Be nice to everyone that you encounter on a date — from the valet to the wait staff and even the manager of the establishment. You never know what your date’s relationship really is with them; plus, he or she is likely watching your actions and judging how they line up with your words. There’s no point in telling someone that you were raised in a good home if you are mean to the people who are serving you. You can’t be an easygoing person if you are constantly sending the food back for one reason or another. Just like in a job interview situation, you never know the role that the receptionist is going to play in getting you hired or not; the same is true for the establishment where your first date occurs. The host that you may have been rude to earlier might be a good friend of your date who managed to get you guys into the hottest spot in the city. If so, you just lost a few points. Remember: Actions always speak louder than words!
Always follow up in a classy way
This one is huge! I’m a fan of a brief call or text the next day to thank someone for your previous outing together. I don’t think this seems desperate or hurried if it’s done well: keep it short, say “thank you,” express that you’d like to get together again soon, and then sign off until your date decides to get back to you. In this age of super-connectivity, trust me… if someone wants to reach out to you, he/she will. And if the phone never, ever rings again for another date, that person simply wasn’t interested. There’s no need to wait a week, obsessively text and call every day hoping for a response, or stalk someone’s social media presence for clues about what he or she really thinks about you. Having the good manners to say thank you and then move on with your life can be quite charming.