Life Support: How to have a good first date

Essential skills for the modern world

Keep an open mind

It's easy to write off a potential partner on a first date. When you know very little about someone, their every word, gesture and action can seem significant, a reflection of a fundamental part of their character. This is usually a mistake. Cracking one lame joke doesn't mean that someone has a dire sense of humour and will never make you laugh; a bit of spinach stuck between the teeth should not be taken as an indicator of terrible personal hygiene, and failing to invite you up for coffee is unlikely to mean that they have the sex drive of a neutered panda.

Be positive

Not just about the person sitting opposite you, but about life in general. No one wants to hear their date drone on about their terrible job, overbearing mother, horrid friends, bad holiday – it is best to save these laments for a few months down the line. If you are most definitely a glass-half-empty type, don't worry. There is no need to fix a rictus grin on your face and adopt an entirely different persona for the evening; just make sure you temper all the negative comments with something positive. These can be small things, like appreciating the food or wine.

Don't give too much away

It is often said that it is important for a woman to retain a sense of mystery in the early stages of a relationship. This rule should surely apply to both sexes. On a first date, too much information can be a passion-killer. A friend of mine recently went on a date with a seemingly eligible chap, who announced midway through dinner that he would be unable to kiss her that evening, as he was suffering from a nasty bout of highly contagious ringworm. In this kind of situation, gentlemen, it is better to make up an excuse and cancel.

Don't mention your ex

Speak fondly of your previous lovers and your date will assume that you are still holding a candle for them; launch into a character assassination and your companion will adopt a "two sides to every story" approach and start wondering whether your ex would have a different tale to tell. No good can come of this train of conversation, so steer well clear.

Try to secure date two

Make sure you leave your date keen to see you again. You might not know if you want to progress to round two yet, but it is important to give yourself that option. If you have been on a date that was just "OK" and are wavering on whether or not to see them again, remember that most people improve on closer acquaintance, and give them another shot.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

    £6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

    Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

    £12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

    Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

    £32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

    Day In a Page

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing