Your excellent profile, photos, and introduction letters have now paid off. You found a girl/guy that has piqued your interest, and you have been emailing back and forth for a while. That led to a couple of phone calls and now the two of you have planned your first date. However, let’s discuss a few things before you go out.

Movies are never a good idea because there is little, if any, conversation involved. Parties are also bad ideas because there is too much going on and you can’t properly focus on the other person. It is best to arrange to meet for a drink or a cup of coffee where the conversation can flow freely. Try to keep the first date short, sweet and casual. Meet at a restaurant or hotel bar for a drink and keep the conversation very light. Despite it being your first date, try not to ask rapid-fire questions like they are coming out of a machine gun. You want to avoid the date becoming an interview.

A short first date is always best. It allows both parties to get a little taste of what the other person is all about without committing a lot of time and money. There is plenty of time in the future should the two of you decide to meet for another date. However, for now, just keep the date very casual.

It is always best to avoid discussing contentious topics. Never talk about politics or controversial subjects. Avoid talking about yourself too much. Hey, you already know about yourself, make your date more comfortable by allowing him/her to talk about him/herself. I know it sounds wrong, but people actually feel as if they know people better than they actually do, and like them more than they should, when their date allows them to talk more about him/herself.

A guy will know whether he likes the girl much sooner than the girl will know if she likes the guy. Guys are far more visual than women and know very quickly, oftentimes within a minute, if he wants to pursue this woman. On the other hand, the woman usually takes much longer to decide if she likes the guy. Both guys and girls should be aware of this as they go through the evening.

When the date is ending, the guy has already made up his mind on whether or not he wants to see this woman again. The woman, unless the guy is a complete bore, still might not have decided. The guy is now left with two options. Should he want to see his date again, he should tell her right then and there. He can say something like, “I enjoyed meeting you and would like to see you again. Can I call you?” However, should he decide that he doesn’t want to see her again, he should simply say, “I enjoyed meeting you.” A guy should never say, “I will call you.” When a guy does that, the woman is going to expect the guy to call. The parting after the first date is very difficult and awkward. A guy should not make it worse by telling her he will call again.

No matter what happens on the date, it is important to part on good terms. You will invariably run into this person again at some party or event. You don’t want them telling their friends that you were a jerk or promised to call and didn’t. Remember, while this date might not work out, they might have friends that are a better fit for you.

After being a bachelor for many years and counseling his friends about dating, Brad Berkowitz, who is now a JDate Success Story, decided to write the book, The 21st Century Guide to Bachelorhood: Lessons Learned Over 20 Years, to help other men navigate the dating scene. To purchase the book, click here! For more articles by Brad, click here.
  1. I would like to say that with regard to if the guy liked the gal and wanted to see her again,,,,I don’t like it when the guy says to me can I call you? or I would like to see you again can I call you? That puts the woman on the spot. What if she doesn’t want to see him again then she has to say I am sorry I don’t think we are a match which is not easy to say at that moment. My suggestion is if you had a good time and you want to see her again just call her and then you will find out either yes or no. I have experienced this many times that I am not interested in the guy and he says at the end of the date can I call you?

  2. I disagree with the above- Both men and woman make an initial judgement based on the ‘visual’/sexual attraction but then I think both men and women will make certain allowances for personality- meaning that a woman or a man will date a person who may not have been initially too attractive but the chemistry/personality/connection is there.
    Then I think for both men and woman there is a certain point where the other person is just not attractive enough to be intimate with, even if the chemistry/connection/conversation/intellectual part is there.

  3. You make it sound simple and straightforward!-thank you for that. Guys saying they will ring again if they don’t mean it isn’t a good idea-(but I suppose people say that as a way of making an ending)

  4. Julliyet, If a guy calls, the girl would have to say the same thing to him if she isn’t interested any way. It really is the same thing. However, when he asks to call her again, he shows her right away he isn’t playing games and is interested. Yes, it would be uncomfy for the girl to say, “I just don’t think there is enough in common” or something of that nature, but at least he will then move on. He has shown her he is not a stalker and is polite.

  5. In response to the article:

    There are many good points Brad Berkowitz makes regarding first dates. I would agree especially the type/location. It’s too easy to fall into the dinner & a movie rut, however some activity that requires TWO people to do it(tennis, etc) really can show you how the other person reacts under differing circumstances(do they get upset, are they competitive, etc).

    Another point I couldn’t agree with more is when the guy says, “I’ll call you”. I hate that so much, I’ve flat out told more than one guy not to tell me that – if you call you call, if you don’t you don’t. In defense though for guys, what else are they going to say that doesn’t put her on the spot and or make the goodbye awkward.

    Men and women have such different expectations as to time, a guy might not want to seem too aggressive/eager so he waits 3 or 4 days while the girl is biting her nails thinking he changed his mind.

    Assuming though the two have been emailing/talking it isn’t so much like a first date, because if you’ve actually been paying attention to what the other person has been saying you should know enough about him/her that at the end of the date it won’t be too awkward. Another idea is to agree before you even meet what you’re going to do at the end of the date, like “Let’s agree that after our date we’ll touch base within a week (to see if it’s a go or no).” It’s not a perfect solution, but it would give both parties a “whew” that at the end they know what will happen and even if one or both don’t want to go on another date, they will still be friends w/o the weirdness. It also helps eliminate the misunderstandings that arise with the statement “I’ll call you” because you know you will have contact w/the other person and within what time frame. Thoughts anyway.

    What I would however disagree with (assuming I read/understood it correctly) is about the length of time a woman takes to decide. I can’t say for men, but in my experience & how I know my girl friends are, I can say a woman might not know if she wants to see the guy again, but she will probably know very quickly if she does not want to see him. In other words, she might go the entire date waiting for a make or break moment, and if that doesn’t happen usually she will be open for another date just to see. Of course a generalization but observed it quite often.

    Just remember you say a whole lot and can know a whole lot by eye contact, body language, tone of voice, posture, etc. There are ways of hinting at another date or that you don’t want to go out again and then seeing what the response is so you have an idea of what the next move(or not) should be.

  6. Beth, you have excellent points. I hope the guys pay attention.

  7. I agree 100% with Brad and find what he wrote very helpful. On the other hand, I disagree with Julliyet. I think it’s very polite and appropriate for the guy, if he wants, to ask permission to call on the girl again. Sure, it puts her on the spot, but pardon me, the guy probably was the one to muster the nerve to initiate contact in the first place and ask the girl out, and if he was smart, he probably also paid the first bill. I think he is owed a direct response to such a question, so he can cut his losses if necessary.

  8. From a guys perspective I think some guys are a bit weak and at the slightly awkward goodbye stage of the date and in short termist thinking they would prefer to end it on a positive note and say ‘I’ll call you’ and not have a face to face ‘well nice to meet you’ which is code for ‘thanks but no thanks’.

  9. Women know immediately if they are absolutely NOT attracted to a man. If they are not sure at first, then you still have a shot:) I do not agree that we make “allowances” based on personality. But I do feel that there is an attraction (or not) to the entire persona and that while you may not be a traditional or commercial hottie, there may well be something about your entire persona that has a great appeal to someone out there. Of course this persona attraction makes the initial screeing process so deficient. Photos and even essays simply can’t translate that persona, and a profile may seem to reveal a persona that is not accurate to the person. Sorry guys, girls are as visual as you.

  10. I would agree that men tend to make up their minds if they want to see a woman again rather than the reverse.However men do confuse that sexual attraction as Love at First Sight.

  11. Brad,

    Yes, I know that the woman will have to respond either way to the guy if she wants a second date. I just don’t think that the guy needs to ask at the end of the date right then and there. First off sometimes we know for sure there is no possible chance of a second date as I stated previously yet we don’t want to answer on the spot. It is just not appropriate in my opinion or polite to ask at the end of the date. I just think he should make a phone call and then he will find out. Also, I think this is the respectable way to go about it. Another thing I would like to mention is that there are times when a woman will initially think that no I don’t want a second date but later on she may reconsider and think over the evening and agree to another date.

  12. I have been hoodwinked by several women whose pictures were at least 20 years younger than they are. Still, I did not slam the door in their face; instead I went on the date as I wanted to enjoy a nice dinner on these 3 occasions. In the future I will just drive away and let them know the reason why. I also feel that the minute you meet someone for the first time, you also know the reason(s) why you will leave them.

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