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We’re well into 2020, and you may be thinking about how you can make this the year you find love, especially if you’ve been single for a while. Let’s face it: Singles have to try new tactics or even be reminded of proper etiquette when trying to seal the deal of a true connection.
When you’re going on blind dates to meet people, your nerves can create a heightened emotional state, of sorts, that can lend nuance to preconceived notions.
Here are some of my top trade secrets on how to make your first in-person encounter more authentic and fun.
Personally, I believe there is power in an initial phone call before a first blind date. As a professional matchmaker, I require that my clients have a phone call with their date before the first meeting. It’s so important to place the power of someone’s voice and energy with their photo.
I think it’s also a great way to create a conversational guidepost for when the meeting happens. I remember this one time, when I was dating somebody, and we were watching the same documentary while on the phone, I made a mental note to make sure to have an intellectual discussion about our initial thoughts on the content when we met.
Another time, I remember this one guy calling me, and he said something cute about me not having a Southern accent anymore. I made it known that, if he gets to know me better, he might get to hear bits of it.
Talking on the phone before meeting face to face is also a great time for casual flirting and start some sort of chemistry with a blind date.
Endless texting can seem a bit transactional, and I really discourage that, especially if you feel like the match is a good one. Keep in mind that more people flake on dates that seem to lack much feeling or connection to them.
I am a huge advocate of suggesting to your blind date a place that you both will enjoy on your first meeting. Bonus points if you’ve been there before and can recommend something specific like a great happy hour menu or some of the best carnitas tacos in town.
I think a little bit of personalization shows that you care to make this first blind meeting special and not just another routine first date. Too many times people respond “I don’t care” to a suggestion when planning a date, which, to me, sends a very lackadaisical “whatever” type of energy.
Keep in mind that this fella also scheduled time away from his family, friends, and work to honor his commitment to you. The least you guys can do is make this date more memorable. Plus, if the date isn’t a match, at least you didn’t just waste your time at some boring place.
I feel that people have enough common sense these days to meet in a public place for a proper date. If you feel the need to tell your friends where you will be, to me, that means that you might be going on the wrong kind of dates.
In California, first date outfits can be a little bit blurred because of our gorgeous, temperate weather. In that case, business casual is normally my go-to. To give you a general guidepost, I love pairing a sporty leather jacket with a nice T-shirt and some fitted dark denim.
I can’t tell you how many times I have been puzzled about what the dress code might be on dates. Since dates are more casual these days, you can’t go wrong with what I just mentioned.
However, for my old-school gentlemen out there, if the place is nicer, I might recommend at least a nice button-down shirt. I usually will look at a restaurant’s website and food pricing to get a sense of the ambiance and atmosphere. Just don’t be the guy who shows up in sweats when your date has clearly thought about his appearance way more than you did.
I also think you “wear” your energy on dates. If you had a stressful day, leave it at the restaurant’s entrance. We as humans pick up on people who might not be present, and that can shift itself into negative first impression territory.
Most of us are meeting our dates for the first time in person, but we have met our potential suitor through an online source. There should have been hints about what type of person he is in phone conversations or the dating app and even in his profile. Take note of his hobbies and interests, and make sure they align with yours.
If a guy is obsessed with yoga, you better be able to connect with him at least on a surface level about the benefits of downward dogging. His photos may show that he seems like he’s an avid traveler? You should ask him about the favorite place that he’s visited, and maybe you’ve been there, too.
Most of the important things to talk about are pretty much covered in the dating apps these days like preferences on sex, religion, monogamy, drinking/drugs/smoking, and kids. If they aren’t, I would recommend asking even before you meet; a non-negotiable is a non-negotiable.
I know a lot of love professionals really discourage daters from talking about their exes, but I think it’s a good idea if it comes up naturally. I don’t mean crying over your meal because you aren’t over your ex, but there have been times where I’ve asked a date “What did you learn about what you are looking for?” or “What matters the most to you from your past relationships?”
I think it’s really attractive when a guy has thought about those things. To me, this shows progressed emotional intelligence and that he has learned from his experiences and applied them to his life.
Some people also see huge red flags when people bring up things like politics and religion on a first date. But I think, if you are on the same wavelength, then why not talk about those things? A regular churchgoer who wants to date a regular churchgoer should probably talk about their faith on their first date because it is an essential part of their everyday life.
With all that said, if you aren’t sure what your date’s political or religious leanings are, it’s best to keep those opinions to yourself on the first date.
Whether you’re newly single, have been single for a long time, or are new to gay dating, in general, it’s always best to practice. No one is a perfect dater right off the bat. You have to hit a few foul balls and get a little mud on your knees before you hit that home run. Take the leap, and I hope 2020 begins with you making amazing connections. Good luck!