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The Girl’s Guide To Date Preparation

FIRST dates are big, scary and unpredictable. Think job interview, only more personal if you’re rejected for the role. As it’s so intimidating, all that’s left to do is hide in a corner and pretend it’s not going to happen, right? Stop right there. As with all things challenging, taking a few simple but important steps can quickly make you feel more prepared, confident and date-ready.

Step One: Assess Your Online Presence

When we don’t know much about something yet, we Google. When we’re looking to find out more about a person, we Facebook. Assuming you use the web as much as anyone, within a few minutes I can probably learn your middle name, read your CV and check out the drunk photos you took last Saturday night. So making sure all social media reflect kindly on you will pay off when it comes to dating.

First impressions are made very quickly and they’re all about the visual (we’ll revisit this later) so make sure the first images and supporting information your date sees about you online is selling you. If in doubt, set it all to private. Also you might consider giving your date a quick Google to see what they’re about. This can be a good move and a bad one. If you decide to, DON’T quote their list of Likes back to them in person, but DO have a vague idea of what they might be interested in to direct conversation.

Step Two: Think Positive

A fun, positive attitude will get you a long way with the opposite sex, both pre-game and when you’re actually on the date.

Before: Following on from that visual first impression you made digitally, think of a nice outfit you can wear, perhaps buy something to give you that new clothes feeling, try a way of doing your hair that takes a little longer than usual and makes you feel more presentable – looking good means feeling good.

During: All pampered and glam now? Brilliant. Now there’s a good chance you’ll look happy. Smile plenty as it helps to establish rapport. Likewise, stick to nicer topics of conversation and don’t fall into the trap of rambling on about your patchy date history. The night is young, exes are irrelevant, so let yourself enjoy the moment.

Step Three: Establish Physical Contact Early

While physical contact can be very important for bonding in any relationship, if you’re going to be more than friends with your date then physical chemistry is key. For many, it’s the most important thing there is. It seems a little scary to initiate but it’ll do you both a favour to see whether their touch opens you up or sends you cringing away to the friend zone.

How to do it: For any men reading, lean in as you meet, plant a kiss on her cheek and touch her hand for just a second as you do it. Girls, initiate the same gesture and it will make you quite irresistible, men love a woman who can make the first move. And if you want something long term, make sure it doesn’t go much further than that.

Step Four: Relax

A bad first date is not the end of the world, it’s not even necessarily the end of the acquaintance. Speaking for myself, I once had a bad first date that led to an 18 month relationship. So remember you can’t have too many friends, that you learnt something from the experience, had a fun night out and there are plenty more fish in the sea etc., etc. Whichever cheesy philosophy you can handle, remind yourself there is at least an element of truth to it.

Whether relationships last one evening or twenty years, they all serve a purpose. That purpose can be long-term love or it can be a brief source of fun and entertainment. So relax and see where the date takes you.

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