A simple Google search of “how do I get a second date?” brings up a myriad of dating sites and advice. Clearly, this is not an uncommon question. The advice is as varied as it could be, but you can notice common themes in these advice columns.
Below are the ones that I personally found worked well. Now, as a married man, I can look back on all the first dates I had, both good and bad, and realize what went well and what I could have done better. You can’t control what the other person does, but if you put yourself out there, make sure you’re doing your best to make them feel like it was worth their time.
1. Be your best self. Guys, open her door. Ladies, say thank you when he goes out of his way to make you feel special. We’re culturally expected to be on our best behavior on the first date, so make sure that this really is the case.
If you’ve got spotty things in your past, remember that this person has probably Googled you. Have an explanation ready, but don’t obsess or worry too much.
Also, some things are always a no-no: don’t get drunk, don’t share your conspiracy theory on aliens taking over the world, and so forth. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Am I seeming over the top in any way?” If you can answer yes- at all – cool it and change the subject.
2. Be real. Nothing will make the other person comfortable more quickly than seeing that you’re being yourself. While you should still be at your best, being relaxed and easy-going will help the other party also feel at ease.
Speaking your mind is definitely okay, especially if the person is willing to push back a little bit in the conversation. Strong dialogue is a good indicator that you can balance each other out.
3. Stay off your phone. No one likes wondering if their date is texting the person they met from Tinder last night. Do yourself a favor and stay off your phone unless it’s an emergency, and this includes checking your smartwatch. Being 100% present will tell your date that they’re a worthwhile person and you are enjoying spending time with them.
4. Ask questions, but don’t interrogate. When I was working on my undergrad, I once had a really fun date to the circus with a great girl. She had run for student body president the year before, was pretty, funny, smart and could hold her own. However, on the drive home, she began firing questions at me like a police officer trying to get a confession out of her suspect. It made me rather uncomfortable, and I was leery about going out with her again.
Ask questions about who they are, such as their family, what growing up was like, what they do in their career. It may seem mundane, but this is basic information that’s vital to moving forward in any realationship.
5. Keep the first date simple, but have a plan. This will help you avoid the awkward, “So…. what do you want to do?” conversation. Something like ice cream or a free concert could be a ton of fun without dominating their entire evening. There’s nothing wrong with calling it a night after an hour or two.
6. Don’t let your eyes wander. Seriously. Going back to being 100% present in the moment, this helps your date feel important. Don’t flirt with the waitress, don’t mention that the person on the corner is hot, and certainly don’t be caught checking out the guy who just walked by.
7. Don’t show off, but don’t be cheap, either. This is a fine balance to achieve. Going to that pricey steakhouse downtown probably isn’t a way to make the lady feel comfortable, but don’t take her to a burger joint, either. This falls back to number 5: have a plan, and make sure she’s going to be comfortable with it.
8. Give a kiss on the cheek. Only do this if you want a second date. This lets the other person know you’re definitely interested, but that you’re not expecting anything. If they want to kiss you back, great, but if they don’t reciprocate, say goodnight and call it good.
9. Ask what they’d like to do on the next date, or even just ask what some of their favorite activities are. This gives a segway into tying down a place and time for the next time you want to see this person.
10. GUYS: Call her back – quickly. One of the biggest errors I’ve heard from single guys is “Wait at least a week.” This is absolutely a terrible idea. Send a text that evening saying you had fun, and then dial her number within 24-48 hours and ask her out again, if haven’t done so already. This will let her know you’re interested and willing to do what it takes to spend time with her.