7 Dos and Don’ts on a First Date

3 min read

A first date is far more about how you feel in the other person’s company than learning everything about them. If you click, you have all the time in the world for that.But to experience the magic to the full, it’s good to know some basic ways to give the date your all, just as you’d hope from the other person. And it’s also useful to be aware of some of the classic ways people mess up their first dates before they’ve even begun!

1. Don’t be late

It doesn’t get easier than this—but you’d be amazed at just how many people can’t even get this right. By showing up late, you immediately signal that you’re unreliable and inconsiderate and don’t value your date’s time. You’ve sent out a red flag before you’ve even turned up.

2. Do listen

It’s plain as day when you’re not listening, and it will make your date feel dull and undesirable. So instead of thinking about what you’re going to say next, genuinely listen to what your date is telling you. After all, you’re here because you want to get to know them, right?

3. Don’t look at your phone

There’s simply nothing ruder than constantly checking for notifications. And moreover, it signals to your date that they’re inherently less important than what’s blaring out from your screen. That’s pretty much the worst message you could convey to someone you’re romantically interested in. Put the thing on silent, hide it away in your bag, and give your date the attention they deserve.

4. Do remember your manners

No, we’re not back in school—but some people really do just need reminding of basic politeness and etiquette from time to time. Opening the door for your date, not interrupting them, and treating wait staff with courtesy, show your date that your character is imbued with respect for the world, that you’re not entitled, and that you’re a decent human being.

5. Don’t make it all about you

While of course it’s important to tell your date about yourself, you should do so mainly in response to their questions, as opposed to going off on a 20-minute monologue about that time you traveled Southeast Asia and “discovered yourself.” You risk coming across as self-absorbed, not to mention conveying to your date that they have nothing to say that could be of interest to you. Instead, ask open-ended questions so your date can elaborate on their own life, passions, interests. Even if they’re shy, try not to let the conversation get one-sided. Rather, be patient with them, and gently ask questions to see if they open up a little more.

6. Do choose your outfit with care

Appearances make a huge difference. Dressing too casually can signal to your date that you don’t care enough to make a good first impression, but dressing over-the-top shows that you struggle to gauge what level of formality is required. And despite it being important to dress well, remember too that comfort is key. If you’re fidgeting in your too-tight jeans or boots, the unease will filter through to your demeanor. 

7. Don’t come on too strong

Being too intense is a major turnoff for a lot of people. For example, beware excessive touching: An occasional hand on the arm to emphasize a point is fine, but trying to hold their hand out of the blue when the vibe’s totally wrong is just weird. And please avoid pet names: Your date is not your ‘babe,’ not your ‘honey’—at least not yet. If you want to get to that stage, don’t try to force the affection. If the chemistry’s there, the affection will grow organically, all in good time.

There’s a lot of pressure riding on a first date. It’s kind of like a job interview, but instead of selling your professional skills, you’re selling your personality, your lifestyle, and your appearance. But just remember, your date is in the exact same boat—and by following these easy-as-pie tips, you’ll put your best foot forward and give yourself the best chance of making your first date a success!

Maclynn is a boutique, multi-award-winning introductions agency with offices in New York, New Jersey, California, and London. We’re world-renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles within our vast network of attractive, intelligent professionals, and our matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. Get in touch today, and prepare for genuinely meaningful dating—just like you deserve.

About the Author

Gina Yannotta

Since 2017, Gina has led Maclynn’s commercial function across the USA. Based in New Jersey and tasked with running the NYC & NJ offices for Maclynn, Gina lives and breathes Maclynn with the same enthusiasm as Rachel. Instantly likeable and bursting with enthusiasm, Gina utilizes her interpersonal skills and relationship expertise to orchestrate everlasting relationships amongst the handful of VIP clients she personally matches each year. When she finishes her day of matchmaking and steering the Maclynn ship in the USA, Gina turns her attention to her son and loving husband, Pat.

Read More by this Author


Enter your email for expert dating advice, exclusive offers, and events.

Related Articles


Curious to learn more about how we can help you find your ideal partner?

Award-Winning Matchmaking