Dating Do's & Don'ts: Tips for First Date Success

Amy Cunningham

First dates can be hell. There's so much pressure to make a good first impression and turn it into a second date. But how many first dates actually turn into second dates?

According to It's Just Lunch, 51% of men have had an average of over 6 first dates in the past year, while 58% of women had just four. So, you go on yet another first date, but what happens after that?

Well, if a first date doesn't go well, 68% of men say that they wouldn't waste their time on a second date. Women are a bit more forgiving though and more often willing to give it a second chance with 56% saying that they would go on a second date, despite the first being a flop. You'll know pretty quickly if that first date is going to turn into a second one though. According to a Match.com study, if you don't get a call back for a 2nd date within 24 hours, there's only 1 in 8 chance that you will.

So, what can you can do to make a good impression and get that second date? Here's a few guidelines you may want to follow:

DO take her to a cozy coffee shop or out for a drink and appetizers on your first date. These spots allow you to actually talk and get to know one another over a few drinks or bite to eat. There's nothing worse than taking a first date to a movie where you can't talk or a 5-course meal that you can't get out of if the date goes badly. Go into the date with thinking positive that it will go well, but with an out in the back of your mind in case it doesn't.

DON'T take him/her to a place you've never been previously. Select a place that you're familiar with ahead of time, which will allow you to fully focus on your date rather than worry about the food, the ambiance, or the wait staff.

DO get creative with your date ideas. Plan something out of the ordinary rather than your standard dinner date. Find out what he/she is interested in and take that into consideration. Look in your local entertainment guide for ideas on upcoming events. If you're stumped for ideas, check out our huge list of romantic date ideas.

DON'T be late. Whether you're picking up your date or meeting there, make sure that you arrive on time. Arriving late (unless there are unavoidable circumstances) is a good way to ensure that a first date does not turn into a second one. If you are going to be late for any reason at all, call your date ahead of time and let them know.

DO pay attention to your appearance. Research shows that daters base their first impression on appearance more than 50% of the time and only 7 percent on the conversation. In fact, within three seconds of meeting someone, you are evaluated, even if it's just a glance. Once a first impression is made, it's virtually irreversible, so make it a good one. Pay attention to your clothing and general cleanliness, making sure that you appear put together, clean, and neat.

DO compliment your date. Women (and men for that matter) appreciate complements. Tell her that she looks pretty or that you like her smile. Tell him that he smells nice or looks great.

DON'T look away during the conversation. Keeping eye contact is a sign that you're interested in him/her and what they have to say.

DO turn your cell phone off or on vibrate. Answering your phone will on a date is the epitome of rudeness.

DON'T talk about yourself the entire time. Ask your date questions about him/her self and share your own thoughts and stories when appropriate. Remember that balance in conversation is the key. The point is for both of you to get to know one another.

DO insist on ordering and sharing a dessert. Most women won't order dessert, but sharing one with a date can be super sexy. Go for something chocolate -- it's a favorite among women, plus it's an aphrodisiac.

DON'T go overboard with jokes. Everyone appreciates a little humor -- it lightens the mood and makes you smile -- but too many jokes makes it seem like you're trying too hard.

DO touch and flirt. Give a smile, gently touch her arm, or hold his hand. These acts show that you're interested and bring about a sense of intimacy.

DON'T be overbearing. Ask what he/she wants whether it's a drink, a movie, or a restaurant.

DO be a gentleman -- open the doors, pull out her chair, and be polite to the wait staff. A little old fashioned chivalry makes a woman swoon.

DON'T talk about past relationships. This conversation is often a first date killer for both women and men.

DO suggest continuing the date if it's going well. If you went out for a drink, invite him/her to dinner or a club. You may want to suggest going for a short walk afterwards. If your date is going well, a walk under the stars holding hands only adds to the romance.

DON'T get too touchy-feely. Holding hands is perfect for a first date. Anything more than that may be a bit overbearing.

DON'T invite them back to your place on the first date. Even if the date went really, really well, it's better to save this for at least date number three.

DO walk her to the door when the date is over. If it went well, give her a kiss, but keep it light. It will leave him/her wanting more.

DON'T ask for his/her number if you're not going to call. It's rude and can leave your date with hurt feelings.