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What Do I Do on a First Date?

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For a lot of people, going on dates can be exciting and fun. But it can also make you feel nervous, and even more so if it’s a first date.

What if they don’t like me? What if they don’t turn out the way I expect? Will I get so worried that I totally forget what to say? If you’re going on a first date with someone, these might be a few of the questions running through your mind.

It helps to remember that a lot of people can get nervous before a first date, especially if they don’t know how it’ll turn out. Keep reading for a few tips on how to make sure everyone can feel safe, comfortable, and have a great time.

Where should we go?

When you decide to go on a date, the first thing you’ll probably think about is where to go. Luckily, there are a lot of options. You can start off by figuring out what kind of date you want. Casual? Romantic? Fancy? Unique? Here are some places you can consider:
  • A museum or art gallery
  • A café or small eatery
  • Rollerblading or some other sport at a park
  • Skating
  • A romantic restaurant – remember to ask about food restrictions!
  • Study date at the library
  • Volunteering together
  • Hanging out at home
  • A bar or pub
  • A street fair or festival
  • Going to a club or party together
  • A theme park
  • A regular park
  • Seeing a movie or play at a theatre
  • Going shopping
  • Exploring an interesting part of town

There’s no limit on where you can go for a first date. You can ask what your date is interested in, or if they know any great spots to hang out at. In the end, it’s all about where you and your date will feel most comfortable and have fun!

What can we talk about?

Trying to keep a conversation going can be the hardest part of a first date. There are so many things you could talk about, but it’s easy to get nervous and forget what to say.

You can try rehearsing some conversation starters before going on the date, or look around for inspiration. You can also use what your date’s already told you to pick what to say next. For example, if they say they just came from classes, ask them what they study.

Some basic conversation topics can include:
  • Where you’ve travelled or want to travel
  • Books, movies, and tv shows
  • Current events on the news
  • What you did in the past week
  • People you both know

You could also try more “fun” topics, like:

  • Which famous person you’d be if you could be any person
  • Your best and worst dates ever
  • The funniest or weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you
  • Your favourite and least favourite things about any pets you have
  • What you would do in a zombie apocalypse
  • If you’d rather fight one horse-sized duck or one hundred duck-sized horses
If you’ve really run out of ideas, you can sit back and let your date do the talking instead. You could say something like:
  • What do you like to do for fun?
  • What’s your favourite (book, movie, food, place)?
  • Tell me about your (week, job, major, hobbies)?
  • How do you feel about this (dish, painting, movie)?
  • What are your favourite things about your friends?
  • What’s your best memory?
It really helps to pick topics that personally interest you. After all, if even you aren’t interested what you’re saying, your date can probably tell. And if someone likes you, they’ll want you to talk about what you like, too.

How can I make sure they like me?

When you go on a first date, you’ll probably want to make a good impression. After all, if you like your date, you’ll probably want them to like you, too.

There’s no one rule that will guarantee your date likes you – sometimes you just don’t click with people, and that’s okay. No matter what you do, no one has to be attracted to you, and sometimes things just don’t work out. But there are some things you can do to make a good impression, like:

  • Being polite and helpful
  • Making sure you’re clean and tidy
  • Making enough eye contact
  • Actively listening to what they tell you
  • Complimenting something you like about them
  • Being nice to the people around you

In the end, it’s about being someone your date wants to be around. Along with the special first date things you might do, it also helps to just treat them like any other person – with kindness and respect.

What if I want to have sex on the first date? What if I don’t?

There are a lot of rules out there that you might hear from friends, family, and the media. Some of these might be, “No kissing until the third date!” or, “Guys should always pay for the first date!” There can also be many about when you should have sex, what sex acts you should do, and where you should do them.

The problem is, these rules assume everyone is the same and wants the same thing. But that’s not true – different people go on different dates, and have different expectations. You might really want to have sex on the first date; that’s great! You might not want to until later; that’s great too! You might never want to have sex; that’s great as well! Your body belongs to you, so you get to set your own rules.

However, it’s also important to remember that the people you go on dates with with have control of their own bodies, too. No matter what you bought them or how great the date went, if they don’t want to do the same things you do, it’s okay for them to say no. If you don’t want to do the things they want to do, it’s also okay for you to say no.

Since you and your dates might have different expectations, it can help to talk about it to make sure you’re on the same page. It can be intimidating to start the conversation on a first date, so you can try doing it when you’re most comfortable. This might be at the start of the date or at the end of it, or somewhere in between. It might even be before you go on the date, so you and you date start off knowing exactly what to expect.

How do I get out of a bad date?

Unfortunately, sometimes dates don’t go very well. Sometimes, you might even be in a date that you really can’t wait to get out of. Maybe you just don’t click. Maybe your date  offended you. Or maybe you feel unsafe being around this person. Many people can end up in bad dates at some point or another.

If you’re just not clicking and you feel comfortable being honest with your date, you can tell them that you don’t think it’ll work out. If you want to, you can thank them for meeting with you and give them a compliment. You might be able to say goodbye on good terms.

A lot of the time, though, people just aren’t comfortable with saying all this to a first date, especially if they feel unsafe. And that’s okay. If you want to get out of the situation, you can tell them something like:

  • You have a headache or you don’t feel well
  • You have homework or another event to get to
  • Your pet needs to be fed or walked
  • If you’re a teenager, you can say your parents are expecting you to be home by now

Some people find that these excuses don’t work on pushy dates, so you could also try things like:

  • Download an app that will fake phone calls to you if you want to leave
  • Accidentally spill something on yourself
  • Ask a friend beforehand to call you with a fake emergency. If you want to leave, you can tell your date you need to go; if you don’t, you can ignore it

It’s never ok for your date to threaten you or make you feel unsafe. In situations like these, it’s your right to call security or the police if you want to.

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