10 first date tips: expert advice that you can actually use!
First date tips: we answer 10 frequently asked first date questions:
1. When should I ask someone out online?
When you meet someone online it can be easy to get caught up in a storm of messages and to develop real feelings as a result. However, before you get swept away, it’s important to test your spark offline. How long should you wait? A University of Florida study found that you shouldn’t wait longer than 17 to 23 days before meeting in real life; those who stall can create an idealised image of their date in their heads that reality can struggle to compare to.1
Want to say hi to someone interesting? Find our first message tips here
2. What if first date nerves get the better of me?
If you're battling the stomach butterflies before a big date then congratulations – you’re completely normal. In fact, if it’s any comfort, your date is probably just as nervous! Apprehension can strike down the most seasoned dater but, luckily, there are ways to beat it. In a TED talk, social psychologist Amy Cuddy advises standing tall and open in times of stress, as such ‘power stances’ can raise levels of testosterone and cortisol, thus boosting confidence.2
3. What online dating safety tips should I consider?
Another way to ease pre-date nerves is to follow basic safety precautions. Dating Coach Ronnie Ann Ryan recommends that you make sure to meet a new person in a public place, that you have your own transport sorted in advance, and that you tell a trusted friend where you are going and who with (calling them during the date to confirm that everything is fine).3 Above all, trust your gut instincts: if someone is making you feel uneasy then leave. Don’t worry about staying out of politeness.
Looking for more online dating safety tips? Read our guide to staying safe online
4. How should I dress for a first date?
When planning a first date outfit, it can be tempting to set your phasers to 'stunning’ and leave it at that. However, comfort is just as important as glamour. After all, if you’re aiming for relaxed and confident, you don’t want to wear something restrictive that you’ll be tugging at all night! Bustle’s Julia Friedman recommends that less is more: pick a favourite feature and wear something that highlights only that and don't forget to suit your outfit to the venue!4
5. Is the first date always a big deal?
Quite simply? No! While it is certainly true that your first date with someone can be the start of something wonderful, it’s also worth remembering that your relationship is just getting started – even if you’ve already chatted online. Indeed, many daters prefer to start with a casual first meeting, designed to test any mutual attraction. If that’s your case, it’s perfectly fine to meet for a quick coffee (the preferred first date for 61% of our female members5).
Want more insight from our studies on first date behaviour? Read about them here
6. What is the best place to go for a real date?
If you do want to meet for coffee, chances are you have a favourite local (alternatively, try the suggestions in our guides for regional dating in New Zealand). However, if you’ve already checked each other out offline – or if you want to up the romance – then it's fine to opt for for a classic and suggest a nice dinner. It may seem ‘safe’ but sometimes safe is the perfect way to get to know someone, particularly over our members’ favourite romantic cuisine: Italian.6