I always imagined that the more first dates I would go, the more immune I would become to the awkward situations and clingy moments that come with meeting and spending time with a stranger. But, no matter how many takes I make my couch potato bottom go on, I find that there are two parts of the evening that never get any easier. First, when the bill comes and second, when it is time to say goodbye.

Both situations make my heart race like it’s trying to keep up with a techno song and my palms get so sweaty that if the poor lad reached for my hand, he would quickly slip away.

Here’s what I learned when it comes to parting ways on a first date:

Do: Leave in a way that you feel comfortable. Whether that means with a hug or a handshake, bow out in a way that makes you feel at ease. Always say thank you and if things went well don’t be shy to tell them that you hope to see them again.

Don’t: expect a kiss. When meeting someone for the first time on a date, they are practically still a stranger to you. Remember, we don’t kiss people we don’t know so don’t rush into this sacred and beautiful thing. Take things slow and say goodbye in a thoughtful and memorable way.

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