First dates are complicated for everyone.
But women have a few different things to think about on them than men do.
Here are our best first date tips for women — everything from how to prepare for the date, how to make a good first impression, how to make good conversation, and how to follow up after a good first date so you can land a second one.
Preparing for a First Date
1. Research and Social Media
Before going on a first date, take some time to learn about the person you'll be meeting. This is where the internet can be your best friend. This doesn't mean stalking them to death on social media, going back to their cringeworthy selfie phase of 2010. Instead, this means checking any social media, professional, and/or personal profiles your date has publicly available online so you can get a better understanding of potential shared interests and values.
Remember to keep a balance between showing genuine interest, respecting their privacy, and forming a prejudged idea about them. And of course, don’t make it obvious that you read up about them before the date.
2. Choosing the Location
When planning a first date, always choose a neutral location where both you and your date can feel safe and comfortable. Public places like cafes, bars, parks, or restaurants are reliable options.
Choose a location that is:
Easily accessible for both of you
Not too noisy, so you can have easy conversation
In a safe and well-lit area
3. Safety Considerations
Here are some tips to help you stay safe on a first date:
Inform a close friend or family member about your date plans, including the time, location, and your date's basic information.
Drive yourself or using a rideshare app to get to the date, so you can control when you arrive and leave.
Trust your instinct, and if you feel uncomfortable at any point, it's okay to end the date early.
Making a Good First Impression
4. Appearance and Attire
Let’s face it — looks matter. And unfortunately, research shows they matter more for women than for men in our society. Your appearance and attire play a big role in making a good first impression on a date.
There isn’t any one-size-fits-all guideline for dressing for a first date, so just make sure to dress appropriately for the occasion and location. Keep your outfit comfortable but polished, and choose clothes that are well-fitting and complement your body type. Think about doing your hair and/or makeup, depending on your personal style. Shoot for a look that highlights your best features and makes you feel confident. Your confidence will shine through and make your look pop even more.
For women, it can be tough to strike a balance between dressing to impress, maintaining comfort, and showcasing your best features without being too revealing. Asking a close friend for their feedback on your outfit may be useful. And once you settle on your ideal first date outfit, you can totally just wear it every time you go on a next first date, so it’s set and done.
5. Manners and Body Language
First impressions are not just about looks — your manners and body language also matter a lot. Here are some tips for improving your mannerisms and body language on a first date.
Be polite, attentive to your date, and engage in active listening. Maintain eye contact, and smile genuinely when you feel positive to make a connection with your date and let them feel your presence. Avoid checking your phone or appearing distracted, as this would make it seem like you’re not interested.
Body language is vital to making a great first impression. Go into a first date walking tall with confidence, straight posture, and a smile. Avoid crossing your arms, fidgeting, or slouching. Instead, adopt an open, approachable stance to show your date that you're interested, comfortable in your own skin, and receptive to meeting them.
Initiating and Engaging Conversation on a First Date
Here’s perhaps our best first date conversation tip of all — don’t make it feel like an interview. Your first date should feel like a natural back-and-forth conversation that’s fun and low-pressure. Focus on asking open-ended questions and topics that allow for unstructured flowing conversation. This kind of conversation is what lets you and your date relax, helps you get to know each other, and allows you to determine your compatibility.
6. First Date Conversation Starters
Initiating a conversation on a first date can feel daunting and awkward. It’s hard to know where to start with a stranger, after all. That’s why keeping a few conversation starters in mind can help break the ice. When you enter the date with a few topics or questions prepared, you're more likely to feel comfortable and confident in case any awkward silences happen. Just remember to avoid sounding rehearsed; the last thing you want is to sound like you’re reading from a script. Keep it natural and let the conversation flow.
7. Asking Questions
A key tip for a successful first date is showing genuine interest in your date. Asking open-ended questions is the best way to do that, as it shows your curiosity and interest in letting your date tell you about themselves. Start with casual conversation that builds on the context you're in, like asking about their experience at the restaurant you're at, the café you’re at, or the park you’re walking around. As the conversation progresses beyond external foci, explore deeper topics, like their hobbies, passions, family life, and goals to forge a deeper connection.
8. Active Listening
Active listening is key to good first date conversation. When your date is sharing their thoughts, pay attention to their words and respond thoughtfully and mindfully. Don't interrupt or talk about yourself excessively. Rather, share your own experiences and perspective in a way that builds on your date’s to create a balanced conversation. Make your date feel seen and heard.
Finding Common Ground and Values
9. Discussing Lives and Personal Experiences
When on a first date, it's good to find common ground and values by discussing your lives and personal experiences. Share stories from your past that showed core parts of your personality and stories that have shaped who you are today. This will allow you both to understand each other's background, providing a better insight into your quirks, lifestyle, and personality. Storytelling can also help create a deeper connection and build trust between the two of you, especially when vulnerable.
10. Career and Future Goals
Discussing your career and future goals can showcase your ambition, skills, and achievement, while giving a glimpse into where each of you is going in life. Let your date see whether you’re career-driven, or whether you prioritize work-life balance. Tell them about your future dreams and what goals you’re working on now. Remember, it’s not about the weeds and details of your work; it’s about how your work makes you feel and what perspective you take to it. It’s about you and your emotions, not the work itself. Sharing your career and goals can help you and your date determine if you have compatible values and are able to support each other long-term.
11. Family, Friends, and Relationships
Talking about family can be a valuable way to understand each other's upbringing, beliefs, and values. Share stories about your parents, siblings, close friends, cousins, and other people who have played a part in your life and who you’re close with today. This can also tell your date useful information about how you navigate relationships with loved ones. When your date tells you about their family and friends in return, that can also reveal whether you have shared values and relationship styles.
Be Present and Enjoy the Moment
12. Body Language and Physical Affection
On a first date, it's important to be fully present and aware of both your own and your date's body language. Make sure your body language is relaxed, open, and receptive. Maintain eye contact to show you’re present and available. Breathe in a relaxed way to stay present and centered. Be attentive to how your body and heartbeat feel.
Physical touch can play a key role in breaking the ice and establishing rapport on a first date. Consider breaking the physical barrier early on by giving a warm hug upon greeting or by giving them a light touch on the arm during conversation.
13. Appreciating the Environment and Setting
Taking in the environment during your first date can help you feel present and enjoy the moment with your date. Pay attention to the ambience and people around you. This can help you relax and feel safe while easing your nerves and keeping you listening mindfully. Be sure to have the date in a location where you’re able to have an uninterrupted conversation and it’s not too crowded.
When you're making conversation with your date, it's important to be fully present. Take some time before the date to do activities that help you feel mindful and grounded, such as meditating, going for a walk, reading, painting, exercising, or listening to music. This pre-date ritual can help you enter a first date ready to appreciate and enjoy someone else’s company.
Tips for a Successful First Date Experience
14. Alcohol Consumption
Enjoying a drink or two on a first date can help you relax and feel less nervous, but overindulging is a bad idea. Limit your drinking so you can stay present and fully engaged throughout the date, helping you stay safe and allowing you to connect with your date more deeply.
15. Compliments and Expressing Interest
Compliments can go a long way on a first date to make someone feel valued. Instead of relying on generic or overly physical compliments, focus on meaningful conversation that allows you to compliment your date’s inner qualities. Think about your date’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and give them personal and specific compliments that highlight what makes them unique from other people.
16. Honesty and Authenticity
Embrace your authenticity and be fully honest with your date. It’s natural to want to hide certain parts of your personality or lifestyle, or to feel the need to tailor your self-presentation to meet your date's expectations, but it's important to be true to who you are. Showcasing your true self in this first meeting will make for a more successful relationship in the long run, should things progress beyond the first date.
The Follow-Up and Potential Second Date
17. Texting and Communication After the First Date
After a good first date, it's important to stay in touch with your date if you’d like to schedule a second one. Sending a simple text expressing that you enjoyed the date and would like to see them again is a great way to keep the connection alive and gauge mutual interest.
When texting someone after the first date, once you’ve established mutual interest in seeing one another again, have a balanced conversation. Ask the other person about their day, their interests, or anything that you two spoke about during your first date. Also share your own experiences and thoughts to keep the conversation flowing naturally and in a balanced way.
Move the conversation toward planning a second date. When proposing or confirming a second date, be clear and specific about time, place, or activity to show confidence and commitment to a plan that won’t fall through.
Remember, the goal of a second date is to continue getting to know each other so you can feel out your compatibility and hopefully deepen the connection you created on the first date. Plan a second date that supports that goal.
How to get more first dates from dating apps as a woman
Hopefully these tips give some insights into how to have a great first date as a woman.
If you’re on dating apps and want to improve your dating profile so you land more first dates, we have you covered.
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