The Makings of a Great First Date

For all my complaining about dating (and there is a lot to complain about), even I can admit that first dates can be pretty magical sometimes. I’ll admit that they all start off with insane anxiety. “What do I wear? What if he doesn’t like me? What if I don’t like him?” And there is a ton of reluctance. “I so don’t want to be doing this right now. Sitting on my couch watching Netflix sounds a million times more enticing than meeting some dude. I hope this goes by quickly.”

Unfortunately, nine out of ten times these feelings stay throughout the whole date. I have spent more first dates than I care to admit counting down the minutes until it’s not rude for me to leave. This dude wants to get another drink and I just want to take my bra off and finish season 1 of iZombie.

Now not to get all Nicholas Sparks on everyone but once in a blue moon, magic happens. It’s a terrifying and exciting thought that one day you will go on a first date that will be your last first date forever. You don’t know when this will happen and it will usually take months, even years before you realize that perfect first date was your last. But that’s a pretty amazing thought. You meet someone on a random Tuesday night for beers, when you didn’t even want to go, and they could potentially become one of the most important people in your life. That makes first dates pretty friggen amazing to me. (I am the ultimate romantic cynic if you haven’t noticed.)

And even if that person doesn’t turn out to be your number one forever, it doesn’t make the first date any less magical. The majority of first dates blow and do not lead to second dates so when you come across a first date that you don’t want to end, it’s something to celebrate.

From someone who has gone on her fair share of bad first dates, mixed with a few magical first dates, here are the ingredients needed for a stellar first encounter.

Enthusiasm is a Must – Now I know I said that I start off most first dates wishing I was on my couch watching TV. This is still true. It’s hard to muster up excitement about meeting a stranger who will most likely remain a stranger, but you have to have a little bit of excitement. If you’re absolutely miserable then it’s going to show. Let yourself get a little excited about the human being you’ll be meeting. If he turns out to be a complete bust, then by all means go back to being excited about Netflix.

Location Does Not Matter – You do not need some elaborate production when going on a first date. One of the best first dates I ever went on was sitting at the bar in a brightly lit Mexican restaurant nursing one beer. What made that date so memorable? It definitely wasn’t the locale. It was the three hours that flew by talking about everything and anything with my date.

Conversation – I am currently not on any online dating sites but when I was, OK Cupid was my app of choice. OKC had these series of questions that determined your compatibly with a user. One of the questions asked what was worse: having nothing to talk about or having no physical attraction on a first date? It always boggled my mind when guys would respond with no physical attraction. I’d rather get a root canal than go on a date with someone who I have absolutely nothing to talk about. (OK maybe not a root canal cause that was one of the worst experiences of my life but I just wanted you guys to fully grasp how much I HATE boring first dates.)

Physical Attraction – Now with a magical first date, you don’t have to have that OKC Sophie’s choice. You have great conversation AND physical attraction. Because as much as we like to say “looks don’t matter” and “it’s what’s inside that counts,” when it comes to dating, we all have to be a little shallow at times. It’s almost impossible to pursue a relationship with someone you don’t find attractive. Eventually you’ll have to do it sober and/or with the lights on.

Contact That Night – Before I get started, I have to ask: Do people still go by that three day rule? I can’t imagine. If I went on a date with a guy and three days went by without me hearing from him, I’d assume he’s either dead or not interested. Now when I go on a first date more than likely I am driving to wherever we are meeting up. I am not sure if you’re a serial killer so there’s no way I’m getting in your car. This means that when the date ends we’ll be going our separate ways to get home. This also means that “Did you get home OK?” text should be sent. People who text to make sure you got home OK are my favorite type of people and I will instantly like you 10 times more.

Excitement for What’s to Come – The truly best thing about a great first date is the possibilities it presents. Will these feelings still be there on the second date? What will it be like if and when we kiss? Where is this going to go? The beginning of a new relationship is such an exciting time and it all starts with a really great first date.



  1. You know how much I love writing about dating and this post was awesome! I love the excitement of a first date, but it can be difficult when the date is boring or you just don’t have anything in common with the guy. Sadly that happens more often than not, but it makes the good dates just that much more special!

    Also, yeah, you should definitely get a text that night asking if you made it home safely (Or at least by the next day saying he had a nice time with you!). Playing games like the 3 day rule is dumb. 😛

    1. All the bad definitely helps to make the good that much better. And I agree so much about the playing games. Waiting three days to contact someone after a first date is just ridiculous.

  2. This is all so true! 9 times out of 10 we wish we were in our pjs watching Netflix than out with a stranger, but we do it in the hopes that maybe just maybe we will have an awesome first date… Happy Dating!

    1. And then we’re basically hoping that a good first date will eventually just turn into us having someone to wear pjs and watch Netflix with. In the end, it’s all about couch time and Netflix!

  3. This couldn’t have come at a better time (as I’m trying to get myself psyched up for a first date tomorrow–it’s a hiking/farmer’s market date so hey, if the dude turns out to be a dud, at least I would’ve gotten my fun on, right?! Is it bad that I’m already planning on it to be bad? It’s kinda bad right? Oy vey.) All of these are so on point, it’s not even funny. You are absolutely right though; despite my less-than-stellar dating past, I’ve got to go into it optimistic. You never know what could happen. Right? RIGHT?! Oy vey.

  4. Love this post! The best date I ever went on was to the Yale Gallery of Art where we ate Chicken Pad Thai for lunch, and browsed through a bookstore for hours afterwards before sitting in a cafe to chat. And I think the entire date cost the guy $20. It was still amazing.

    1. That sounds like an awesome first date. That’s what guys need to realize. It doesn’t take spending a ton of money to impress a girl. Thinking outside the box a little will impress her a lot more and more than likely wind up being a lot cheaper.

  5. Considering that its been a while since I had a REAL first date – this brought back pleasant memories lol. I love how you described the first date possibilities and what it could lead to. How magical and YES you are a romantic lol. Great piece!

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