Blind dates can be nerve-wracking and I'm sure you've heard lots of horror stories. They don't have to be this way though. Here are 10 tips to you have a successful blind date!
- Plan & Prepare.
First impressions are important as we generally form an impression of a person within just minutes of meeting them. Blind dates are no different. Your first impressions sets the stage for the entire date, so be sure to prepare in advance!
When it comes to appearances, select clothing that is appropriate for your date, such as casual for a movie or a little more dressy for a nice dinner date. Do not wear clothes that are too revealing, strange, or over the top. Get a fresh haircut or trim so that you look neat and well put together. You should also trim your nails (manicures and/or pedicures are always nice), shine your shoes, and/or iron your clothes, if needed. While this may be obvious, make sure that you shower, shave, and smell good. While a bit of cologne or perfume can be sexy, do not overdo it. Remember, you only have once chance at a first impression, so make it a good one!
Plan Ahead, But Be Flexible
Plan your evening ahead, but stay flexible so that you can easily change your plans if needed. If you've planned a night at a party, but realize that your date is more quiet and reserved, why not try a quiet dinner date?
If your date indicates that he is paying, it's up to you whether you take him up on that offer. Because this is your first meeting, you may want to make it clear from the start that you intend to pay for half of everything, that way you avoid feeling as if you owe him anything.
- Blind Date Safety.
Blind dates can be fun and exciting, but remember that this is your first meeting. If you were set up by mutual friends, you may know a bit about the person and your friends may have an idea of your date plans. If not, you'll want to take a few extra precautions. Make sure that a friend knows where you will be and at what times, as well as the name of the person. Carry a cell phone with you at all times as a precaution. Another option is to make the first date a "double" date, so that you can have a friend join you.
- Where To Go (and what to do).
The number one rule is to pick a public place. Not only is there safety in numbers, but you're likely to feel more relaxed and have fun when you're in a public place.
For a blind date, you generally want to avoid the standard dinner date. If the date is not going well, you're stuck together for the entire meal. The same goes for movies and any other activity that generally lasts more than one hour. Keep the date short and simple because with shorter date plans, you can make a quick exit if you're not interested. If you are interested, you can stick around or arrange to meet up again in the future.
You may also want to figure cost into the date factor. It's better to keep the date in the low-to-mid price range so that neither person feels pressure. This is especially important if one person is taking care of all of the date expenses.
Whatever you decide, do something fun where you can have a good time and get to know each other.
A few good options:
- Meet for coffee
- A dessert date in the evening
- Meet for lunch during the week
- Miniature golf
Whatever you do, keep your activities comfortable, casual, and not over the top. A blind date is not the time to try new and exotic cuisine or to bungee jump.
- The First Meeting.
Arrive a little early and offer a polite greeting and handshake when he/she arrives. Smile and be friendly, even if you are nervous. Men, be a gentleman and open doors, hang up her coat, pull out her chair, etc. Women, be polite and thank him if he does these things for you.
- Be Open Minded.
Remember that this is a blind date. If you set your expectations too high, you will surely be disappointed. Secretly, we may all want good looking, highly intellectual, slapstick funny dates with an abundance of cash. That's not reality though. Stay open minded and free of high expectations for your date. This will allow you to relax and have a good time rather than setting yourself up for disappointment should the date not go well.
- Be Yourself.
It's easier said than done, but relax, relax, relax. One of the biggest mistakes that people make on blind dates is trying to be someone that they aren't. Just be yourself. Do not feel pressure to wear heels if you normally wear sandals. If you feel more comfortable in jeans and a sweater, don't take her to a 5-start restaurant. During the date, answer questions honestly and talk candidly about yourself without exaggerating. Remember, your date wants to know who you are; not who you your date wants you to be.
- Making Conversation.
Conversation is extremely important to the success of a blind date. Getting it started and keeping it going is essential. Think of a few general, light topics to bring up in the beginning. Ask about her family or his friends. Keep the conversation light, but really try to get to know them.
- Ask about him.
- Ask about her family and friends.
- Ask about what he or she does for a living.
- Compliment your date.
- Ask about his or her interests and hobbies.
- Discuss music, film, food, and art.
- Talk about yourself (but not the entire time!)
- Show an interest in what he or she is saying.
- Stimulate the conversation with open-ended questions.
- Discuss past relationships
- Talk in depth about topics that don't interest the other person.
- Speak badly about others.
- Say anything stupid, mean, or inconsiderate.
- Monopolize the conversation.
- Cross-examine your date.
- Ask close-ended questions that require only a 'yes' or 'no' answer.
Also remember that first impressions are not just based on appearance, but on the way you communicate with your words, tone of voice, and body language as well. In fact, body language is actually the most important when it comes to communication. Don't focus on your body language so much that it feels forced because it will come across that way to your date as well. Relax and react appropriately. Keep your eyes on your date, not on yourself or others around you. If you're having a good time, give your date signs that you're enjoying their company.
- Things to Watch.
While you should never go into a blind date with bad expectations, you should keep an eye out for a few 'warning signs'.
- He or she is wearing a wedding ring.
- He or she talks about past relationships throughout the date.
- He speaks badly about his mother or ex-girlfriends.
- He doesn't offer to pay (unless it was agreed to go dutch).
- He or she is rude to you directly.
- He or she treats the waiters rudely or doesn't tip.
- He or she drinks a lot.
- He or she does not pay attention to you (i.e. they answer cell phone calls during the date, etc).
- Be aware of everything he or she says and how they say it.
- He or she displays any other disturbing, addictive, mentally ill, or criminal behavior.
While there may be little things that you don't like about the person, such as their clothing or hygiene, it's the bigger things that you need to keep an eye out for. You do not want to end up with a self-absorbed, high-maintenance, or worse, an abusive person.
- Exit Strategy.
In the even that a blind date isn't going well, be sure to have an exit plan in place. Have a friend on standby and a cell phone on hand at all times. If needed, excuse yourself to the bathroom and call your friend, having him/her call you back in 5 minutes informing you of an emergency for which you are needed. You may want to have your backup plan set ahead of time by arranging your friend to call 30 minutes into the date and use that as your out if needed. Another option would be tell inform him that you have plans an hour after the two of you are set to meet. If the date is going well, you can call and "cancel" these plans. If it's not going well, you have your out.
- Ending The Date.
Saying goodbye at the end of a blind date has the potential to be very awkward. When the date is over, do what feels right. No matter what, you should remember to thank the other person. If your date went well, be sure to let them know that and mention that you'd really like to see them again. If it didn't go well, then you should not suggest or agree to meeting again, nor should you give your phone number or say you'll call them. This can string him/her along and create creates false hopes and impressions. It's generally better to be honest and up front, but do it politely. If you don't want to see them again, say something like "I don't think we have a lot in common." Always be kind and make every effort to spare his or her feelings.
Blind dates do not differ much from other first dates. With these ten tips, your blind date will hopefully turn into a second date!