In a little over a year, I went on nearly 40 dates. These were first dates, so all different women (and all from online dating).
Ya... I didn't work much at the time (~2012).
I started out super nervous and rather clueless. Over time, the experience helped me dial in a process that is fully laid out here.
While nerves are best combatted through exposure, preparation is the next best thing. This will help you skip common mistakes and build confidence with each girl you meet. Let's gooo
It goes without saying, but make sure you look good. Get a haircut, choose clothes that fit, shave unwanted neck hairs, get a tan, etc.
My buddy would even lift weights before a date to get a pump showing. That's a bit overkill, but still the right mentality.
Depending on your logistics, pick somewhere close for both of you (or a halfway point).
If she lives in a different city, I always pick a place near her (since I drive).
Avoid any sit-down restaurants. Choosing a bar or pub (that's not too loud) is better as it's more laid-back. You basically want the entire date to have a more chill and casual vibe.
Doing a typical dinner date is otherwise old-fashioned. Most don't want that intense one-on-one romantic setting.
Instead of saying something like "do you still want to go on a date tomorrow?" just ask if a specific time works for her.
"I'm free at 6pm tomorrow?"
At the same time, mention how you have something to do afterward (but how you'll still have enough time to meet). You can give her specifics if you want (like for work or need to help a friend out with something).
You do this to reduce flakiness.
She's likely nervous and holds some hesitancy towards meeting. Therefore, you set up this "out" for both of you. This helps reduce her fears about meeting you.
It's most relevant for those you meet through dating apps. Randoms from the internet carry more risk than someone in your social circle.
With that said, it's still smart to do as any date can go poorly.
Adding to this, you shouldn't try to make a move on her. Maybe once you're a "pro" you can start, but that shouldn't be your intent.
Instead, your goal is to see if you click well and hit it off.
That's the essence of screening. You're seeing if you're compatible and if something could potentially happen on the 2nd date (or so).
I'm not one to ever push using lines or planning what to say.
However, there are times like this when it makes sense.
Lulls in the conversation can be awkward. Having a few topics or questions locked and loaded will help put you at ease.
This can be about anything. If you met her through a dating app, grab useful bits of info from her profile to bring up.
You can also ask about work, school or even reference something funny you texted about earlier. The main thing is having a fallback to keep the conversation flowing.
Fortunately, awkward silences shouldn't be too common overall. It's generally smooth sailing after the first 5 to 10 minutes as you (both) open up.
Get there before her and go sit up at the bar. Sitting beside her is more casual than staring directly head-on. It's way less intimidating and makes "awkward silences" manageable.
If there's a TV behind the bar to gaze at, it's even better.
Obviously, your attention should be on her. It's just nice to have something to look towards at times. It's also a conversation topic for whatever's on-screen (like about sports and if she plays any).
Let her know you're up at the bar when she shows up. When she walks over, smile and ask how she's doing. Hugs are out of place for someone you don't know and handshakes are too formal.
That said, doing it anyway still wouldn't impact how the date goes. Try not to overthink these things...
Your focus should be to enjoy the conversation and get to know each other. If you respond or act in a way you think you "should," you've already lost. For better or worse, your personality needs to come out.
She'll feel comfortable once she gets a read on you.
How do you do this?
Imagine and talk to her like you're best friends catching up. This helps create a chill vibe and makes it easier for her to open up. Don't fixate on seeming cool or even turning her on. Hold off on anything sexual until the second date.
If you struggle with this at first, it's okay. It takes time to build character. Check out How to Act Around Girls for more context on what to do.
After the 60 to 90 minutes, mention how you should get going (to do that "thing" you have to do).
She's probably only had a couple drinks by this point. Personally, I always offer to pay. Some girls insist it's unnecessary, while others are fine with it. This part is up to you.
Hopefully the date was fun and you kept your phone in your pocket.
Remember that the experience of going on dates is what's most important.
As for going for a kiss- it's best to avoid it. You still don't know if she actually likes you. Save it for the next time.
It's been over 10 years since I went on that huge dating blitz.
I basically had a go-to bar in every nearby city.
Here's some tidbits from what I recall:
Here's the thing though... despite knowing I was awkward on those dates, I don't remember it. Maybe if I dig deep in my brain I could recall something stupid I did or said.
That's not to say it didn't happen...
It just shows those cringeworthy things fade over time.
Even if I had really embarrassed myself, I would never regret meeting all those women.
So, try not to fear so much that you'll say or do the wrong thing on dates. Those memories will drift away (while the experience won't).