How To Have a Great First Date

By Julie Spira, Online Dating Expert and CEO, Cyber-Dating Expert

You passed the profile test, mutually “liked” each other, and have decided to meet IRL for the first time. Now what?

How can you make sure you’re date-ready, and ensure your in-person dialog helps you get to a second date?

First dates can make even the best conversationalists nervous, with many singles defaulting to an interview-style meeting, or ending up with long moments of silence, where you can hear a fork drop on the floor. Both of these scenarios can take the romance out of dating, and make someone ask, “Check, please?”

If you’ve had this happen before, chances are you could use a cheat-sheet or a little coaching on how to get started and keep the convo going.

Here are five tips on how to break the ice, remove the pressure, and have a first date worthy of putting a second one on the calendar before you leave.

Take a Screen Shot of Your Date’s Profile.

Preparing for a first date takes more effort than putting on lipstick or pressing your pants.

I know that dating can be overwhelming, and you don’t want to call someone “Jimmy” when his name is “Johnny.” If you take a quick peek at their profile before the date starts, you can welcome them with a personalized “hello,” to get your date started.

Plus, you won’t be asking embarrassing questions like, “So have you ever been married before?” which might backfire, as your date might feel as if he or she is under the microscope.

You’re on a Date, Not in a Deposition

Too frequently people get nervous on a date and default to a job interview-style list of questions that feels as far away from romantic as it gets.

I suggest asking questions that don’t require a “yes” or “no” answer, such as “What’s the last concert you went to, and what did you love about it?” or “What movie do you have a burning desire to see?”

Both topics can easily lead to asking someone for a second date.

[Cue smiley face. :)]

Leave the Drama Behind

I’ve read too many dating profiles where someone writes they’re looking for someone who is drama-free. Besides being cliche, everyone’s had life experiences that involved drama, so it’s an unrealistic request.

I recommend keeping your first date conversations on the lighter side, which means don’t start comparing your date cards, talk about work problems, or complain about your ex. I promise you the date will go south quickly, and you’ll go home with regrets.

If you’ve had a bad day at work, don’t let that mood tag along turn into an unpleasant date. Both you and your date’s time is precious and valuable.

Instead, take a deep breath and remember the memories that made you smile. Talk about those with your date. Even if you go down job history memory lane, talk about something you accomplished and are proud of.

Be Up on What’s Newsworthy

While you don’t have to read a newspaper from cover-to-cover or be a journalist, it’s a good idea to take a quick peek at an online news or entertainment site to know what’s happening in the world.

It can be as simple as knowing what films topped the box office the weekend before, to an understanding of climate issues. Being up on world affairs helps the conversation if it should slow down, plus being smart is super-sexy

If you’re still stuck on what to say, try spending more time listening and being interested, than talking and being interesting.

Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She’s the founder of Cyber-Dating Expert, and has been coaching singles on dating online for over two digital decades. Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and Instagram. Sign up for the FREE Weekly Flirt newsletter.