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50 Things to Do to Make a Date Successful

Andrea writes on various topics from dating, couples, astrology, weddings, interior design, and gardens. She studied film and writing.

50 ways to make your date successful.

50 ways to make your date successful.

You finally scored a date with someone you actually like! Before you head out into the night or the day, here are a few tips on how to have a successful date over a lackluster one.

1. Be willing to laugh: Dates are best with a dosage of laughter. It’s better to take a date to a funny movie rather than a scary one. Endorphins (hormones associated with a diminished perception of pain) are good for bonding, so try to laugh. Even laugh at the corny jokes if you can. This will help you to connect.

2. Shower, smell good, spray perfume: Be clean, be sharply dressed. It will make you feel better and be more attractive. It doesn’t hurt to continue these things well into a relationship. They’re just good habits.

3. Have good manners: Open doors for your sweety, say thank you, don’t argue, let someone pay for your check or grab the check yourself, be patient, and be understanding.

4. Don’t be on your cellphone: Don’t ever pull out your cellphone on a date. Focus on them. When they go to the bathroom is the best time to pull out your phone, but being on it, texting, calling, and playing games can come off rude and makes you look distracted.

5. Be punctual: If you can’t be on time, say something in advance. Arriving late with no notification is rude and frankly stupid.

6. Bring gifts: Particularly flowers, chocolates, jewelry, wine, teddy bears, something homemade, etc.

7. Engage your date in conversation: Make sure that your date is talking as much as you are, that it’s close to 50–50. You don’t want them to out-talk you too much, and you definitely don’t want to out-talk them. Make sure you are learning new things about them, and that they are also getting to know you.

8. Compliment: Perhaps complimenting their appearance is too bold, but do compliment on accomplishments whether with school or jobs, personality quirks, or anything that you feel naturally works in conversation.

9. Touch: You don’t have to go crazy with this, but touch the arms, shoulders, a hug or two, and hold hands.

10. Be agreeable and suggest what to do: It’s painfully obnoxious and unhelpful if you can’t figure out what to do. Know ahead what you would like to do and be flexible.

11. Have a spare change of clothes: In case you spill something, in case you need tennis shoes, think ahead about what wardrobe changes you may need or what kind of makeup fixes you’ll likely need.

12. Try going to places where you can hear each other: Music venues and clubs can be fun, but it’ll cut down on the amount of conversation you can have, so be careful about these places. You’ll end up having to rely more on body language, which might not be your cup of tea.

13. Roll with the awkwardness: More than likely if you spend a few hours with someone something embarrassing will happen or something offensive… roll with it. Be easy-going rather than easily affronted.

14. Have cash on you: In case anything happens, whether plastic doesn’t work or you end up stuck on the road, have cash on you for emergencies. I suggest having at least 20$, but 50$ may be better.

15. Charge your cellphone: Depending on what could happen, you’ll want to make sure your phone is ready for the whole night in case of any emergencies or in making new plans. Leave a charge cord in your car.

16. Have gum or mints: Whether for yourself or your date, this can come in handy after dinner with onions or garlic.

17. Focus on the date: Don’t be thinking about past relationships, don’t think about other people you could be dating. Focus on what is before you and what led you there. You should give them undivided attention, your date isn’t your counselor for your past.

18. Avoid criticism: Be careful about what you say. Don’t say anything mean about someone’s appearance, personality, job situation, etc. Keep these things to yourself or learn to overcome them. Your criticisms could be taken personally.

19. Avoid too emotionally heavy of topics: Especially on a first date with someone new, don’t bring out all the heavy emotional, family-related, hardest parts of life. It may be too soon, too revealing, just too much. Try to keep things reasonably light in conversation.

20. Don’t be pushy: Respect people’s boundaries. If they don’t want to get physical yet, then don’t. If they don’t want to go rock climbing, don’t. If they don’t want to eat octopus, don’t force it. You get the drill.

21. Smile more: Smiles are positive, affirming, and are far more attractive than a dead stare or lots of frowning. Frowning is going to confuse your date. Project positive energy.

22. Wear flattering colors: For men wear blue, green, black, or faded red and orange. For women, pink, purple, blue, or black. The least flattering colors are yellow, gray, or pink on men, and sometimes red which comes off as aggressive. White is risky because it attracts stains.

23. Carry Advil: You may end up going through many different scenes, listening to loud music, or coming across questionable food… it would be wise to carry something for a headache in your purse, or even a packet of two Advil for a wallet.

24. Clean your car: If you’re picking someone up or you may end up using both cars, be prepared for someone to sit in your passenger seat. Clean up the car, make sure there are no fast food relics or smelly nonsense.

25. Lookout for cat and dog hair: We all love our pets, but having traces of them isn’t exactly attractive. Make sure to smell clean and use a lint roller to take off any kitty cat hair that might be lingering on your clothes.

26. Think of entertaining topics beforehand: What has been interesting in your life in the past few months? Review this in your head beforehand, so you are ready to talk about something interesting rather than having nothing to say. What are things you’ve talked about with others that brighten their moods?

27. Be encouraging and empathetic: If your date is nervous or has low self-esteem, try to encourage them. Being supportive early on will help you to be likable and seem cool. Letting their woes hang in the air will make things awkward.

28. Try to avoid getting drunk: We don’t usually make the best decisions when we are drunk, so try to go for water or soda or something else. You may have a great time the night of your drunken date, but you may regret it or feel self-conscious about it the next day and this could set the tone for the relationship. You might also forget details if you rely on alcohol too much.

29. Have ideas of where to go next: You may end up really liking each other and need different venues to go to as you get hungry, things close, and crowds build. Have in your head a preset list of things you could do from visiting cute cafes, movies you could see, and events happening over the weekend. Make sure that if you are going to a new location that you’re dressed appropriately — you wouldn’t wear the same thing to a ball game as you would a symphony.

30. Avoid having friends join: You may tell your friends you are on a hot date, but don’t tell them where you are going because they may be tempted to go where you are and join as a third wheel. They are not welcome.

31. Dance: If you like music, dance to it. This gives you the opportunity to let yourself be free and perhaps have a personal moment with your date. Just be confident and don’t stress about whether you’re a bad dancer or not.

Picking the right place to eat can make or break a date. Pick somewhere that's not too far away and where you can hear each other.

Picking the right place to eat can make or break a date. Pick somewhere that's not too far away and where you can hear each other.

32. Be spontaneous and buy stuff: If she’s eyeing the flowers and things are going well, buy her flowers. If she seems to be attracted to a certain book or piece of jewelry, buy it for her. Even surprise her with it at the end of the date.

33. Carry condoms in a place that isn’t your wallet: Make sure that if you want to get physical later, and it is agreed upon, that the birth control you use is up to date and not by your money because money is gross. Condoms should be new, not three years old.

34. Know when to end the date: Don’t drag things out till 4:00 AM unless you have a reason. End on a good note.

35. Don’t bring up past relationships: You are trying something fresh. There is no mood killer like bringing up your ex or comparing your date to someone else. Leave it in the past.

36. Don’t talk about work too much: Your job is admittedly interesting and pays the bills, but if it’s all you talk about you could become the bore of the town. Bring up interesting details from work, not the budgets and meetings unless who you are dating loves that stuff (they probably don’t).

37. Avoid having sex on the first date: It may be old-fashioned, but you probably don’t know enough about each other for this to be a smart idea. You need to know each other more, their history, whether they have STDs, how many partners they have had, whether they are dating someone else, etc., etc.

38. Don’t introduce them to family on the first date: Maybe for five minutes, but it is not okay to take them to dinner with your family. Too much pressure.

39. Be clear about who is paying: Don’t get upset if they reach for the check.

40. Give at least two hours of time: You need to schedule at least this much time. Don’t just go for coffee and end it there. You should be spending a good amount of time with each other, not something short.

41. Be romantic and expressive, not vulgar and perverted: Watch your language, consider what you are saying, consider how you express yourself. You’ll win more with honey than whipped cream.

42. Don’t crash at their house: Don’t crash on their couch because you have nowhere to go. Go home to your place, unless you are out of town.

A date that's memorable will more likely lead to a second date.

A date that's memorable will more likely lead to a second date.

43. Compliment their pets: If you are honored enough to meet Mr. Dog or Mr. Cat, you should give the animals a rub on the head and a compliment. They are a big part of your date’s life. They want the two of you to get along just as much as with their parents. Heck, you might be living with this fuzzball one day.

44. Do not go to places you did with other people on other dates: This is going to remind you too much of the past and isn’t fresh. This could also make people really angry.

45. Be cool, act normal if it is called “hanging out.”: In many instances hanging out IS a date, but in some, it is not. You could ask what it is at the end of the date, I mean hanging out, if you felt it leaned more romantic. Don’t worry if it’s “hanging out” if you’ve got them one on one. Put up your best effort and a romantic connection could bloom (just don’t force things, go with the flow).

46. Avoid treating them too much like your own gender (straight couples only): Don’t treat her like your weird buddy who you get beer with, and don’t treat him like your sisters.

47. Play games: Board games, video games, any kind of games where you have to think, work against each other, or work with each other. It helps you to bond, it also distracts you and makes you be a tad more subconscious. This can help things to be more emotional.

48. Go to something newly opening: Hey, if you guys are new together, it sets the right vibe to go to something that is newly opening to check it out, you catch my drift?

49. Go to age-appropriate places: Don’t go to the seniors' buffet if you are in your 20s, don’t go to teenage movies when you are in your 20s and be surrounded by teenagers.

50. Be mature: Don’t make a big scene, don’t start drama, and don’t get so embarrassed that you cause things to be even more embarrassing.

© 2014 Andrea Lawrence