You've flirted back and forth on Tinder and even exchanged digits. Now you're gearing up for your first official date. I can say "just be yourself" and stand by it, but let's face it: Shit happens out there, and it might be worth keeping a few other pointers in mind. Especially if you're committing cardinal sins like...
1. Automatically Assuming the Guy Will Pay
There's a beautiful moment in How I Met Your Mother where the protagonist, Ted, has been on two dates and is trying to choose between those two women. One is perfect for him. The other? She reached for the check. In his mind that makes them equal.You don't have to split the bill on every date, but at the very least make a kind gesture of offering to pay.
2. Inviting Friends
As you're getting your second drink your phone lights up (see more on that in #5) and it's your best friend saying she's down the street and that you should join her for a drink. Don't drag your brand-new suitor along with you. Either politely call it a night or give your date your undivided attention. If you're completely enamored with him, he can meet your friends around date number three.
3. Going On and On About Yourself
Sure, your date wants to know where you're from, what you do, your hobbies, etc., but he doesn't need to know absolutely everything all at once. A little bit of mystery goes a long way on a date.
4. Discussing the Dreaded Ex
Odds are that you've had a few boyfriends. We know that. You don't need to bring them up, even to showcase how you're "just friends" now. That sort of story doesn't make you sound cool, it makes you sound like your ex is on your mind right this minute.
5. Being Glued to Your Phone
There are exceptions to this rule, like if you're debating something and a simple Google search will prove you're right. But generally you should leave your phone in your bag. If you're splitting your attention between him and your text messages now, it just previews the amount of care you may show down the line.
6. Fixating on Gossip
This rule isn't just about dates. In general, people don't want to hang around others who just complain and talk negatively about people behind their backs. It makes your date wonder what you will be saying about him tomorrow over drinks with your friends. As your mother likely told you as a child, "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all."
7. Hitting the Hooch Too Hard
If two to three drinks is Fun You, then cap it there. Sloppy You should be reserved for special occasions, like birthdays and weddings. If your date is drinking heavily, don't feel like you need to keep up. In fact, refraining from the next round may be the invitation your date needs to slow down on the sauce.
8. Not Putting in the Outfit Effort
If you know you're going on a date, clear time in your schedule to pop home between work and your night out to change, or wear a suitable "date outfit" to work. It shows that you care enough to consider the date an event worth dressing up for, but taking that time also helps you mentally prepare for the evening ahead.
9. Opening Up About Shopping Around
If this is your first date, the person you're with probably suspects you're seeing other people. You don't need to detail that you're dating around, even if to highlight how much more fun/better looking/cooler your date is than other people you've met lately. Just keep that information to yourself.
10. Ending with a Handshake
Not every date ends with a kiss and that's totally okay. But don't just say "Nice to meet you" and shake your date's hand like it's the conclusion of a business meeting. At the very least give your suitor a hug. You've been through a somewhat anxiety-inducing experience together, after all, and lived to see another day—and maybe even another date.