So you have slid down that inbox, your messages have been replied after eight business days, you now know each other’s favourite colours, and she (or he) has agreed to meet you in person. You are excited, but you are uneasy at the same time, and you are eager not to screw this up, because you are unsure of when next your hunt for romance on social media would show any remote signs of success.
Dating in the 21st century can be likened to Formula One racing: you snooze, you lose. Whether it’s a Tinder swipe or a Twitter DM, your best bet is to sacrifice a live ram to Cupid before embarking on the journey to secure full marks at the end of the evening, either with a view to score a short roll in the hay or something more emotionally concrete. Now, scroll down and digest these nuggets of truth. Here’s how people bungle dates, and ultimately, what you shouldn’t do:
Overdress. On a first date, you want to give the impression that you look as good as your profile picture, but in doing so be careful to not go overboard. It is advisable to wear what you’re absolutely comfortable in. You’re meeting up at the cinema to catch a movie? There’s absolutely no need to show up in a tuxedo. Ladies, you’ve been wearing flat shoes all week, don’t trade them for heels that constantly put your ankles in danger.
Photo Credit: Awalkinmyheels.com
Forget your manners. Hold doors open, say “please” and “thank you”, and eat with your mouth closed. Be friendly and polite to everyone, from security guard to bartender. Your date is likely to judge you more on your treatment of others than your treatment of him or her. Most people treat waiters at the restaurants like garbage and suddenly become chivalrous when their attention switches back to their date. Don’t be that arse-hole.
Forget to ask questions. Talking about yourself constantly is a no-no. A lot of people are guilty of this. It is not a job interview. When you’re nervous, it’s easy to fall into that trap and forget to ask your date anything. Remember that they want to tell you about themselves too. Aim for equal airtime (or in this case, “speak-time”) during the date, and when you ask a question, remember to pay attention to the answer.
Comment on what the other person is or isn’t eating. In the course of the meal, you may be tempted to comment on why your date isn’t eating much or they’re eating a lot, but for the love of all things sweet and bright, please don’t! I can guarantee that they don’t want you to make conversation about it. By all means inquire on their love for the food, but don’t go beyond that…unless of course the speed with which she is downloading the food is so alarming you can (virtually) see your life savings walk out of the room. In that case, there is sufficient cause to worry.
Be on your phone. Date time is quality time you’ve both scheduled to dedicate to each other. Taking long calls midway and having to excuse yourself on more than one occasion says a lot about how you plan your day, and how much you (do not) respect the person seated opposite you. Some people can’t help logging on to social media platforms to check out stuff mid-date. Frankly, that is inexcusably rude. What is the other individual supposed to be doing while you do that, fiddle with their phone too?
Make references to an ex-lover. This looks like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised to find out how easy it is for your thoughts to drift to your ex when you’re in a romantic setting. No matter how your last relationship ended, avoid talking about it on a first date. Dwelling on the past will make it seem like you’re not ready to move yet, and mentioning an ex-lover’s name will make your date feel like you’re making comparisons. If he/she wanted so badly to hear about your “ex”, they would say so themselves!
Be unmindful of costs when it comes to paying the bill. Research shows that most women still expect a man to pick up the bill on a first date. If you’re choosing the venue of the proposed date, suggest a location where you’re happy to pay for both people. Ladies, bring your own money! The concept of “vex money” is no myth. It is basically money set aside for “eventualities”, for instance if the date goes south and/or said guy bails on you. If you’re lucky enough to have someone pay for dinner or drinks, always offer to pay your share. Even if someone intends to pay the full bill, it comes across badly if you don’t at least offer to chip in. Gesture is key to furthering relationships.
The list is almost unending, depending on varying individual preferences, so it is imperative to discuss extensively with your date prior to the day. Punctuality is a given, as being late creates a bad impression anywhere, let alone in meet-ups of the nature. Here is to fruitful dates, and here is to a smooth sail as you surf the sea of love.