The only thing worse than not being able to approach, meet, and set up a date with a cute girl, is getting that far and then dropping the ball.

A bad date for any reason is an uncomfortable, costly, waste of time. It can leave a sour taste in your mouth, and even affect your confidence and self image. If you are the reason it was bad, it’s even worse knowing the night could have gone another way. While not all dates can be good, you need to make it your business to ensure every first date you go on has the best possible chance for success.

The first part of a good first date, is choosing what you will actually do.

The makings of a great date

Before you start trying to think of what to do on a date, you need to know what your goal is for the date. The universal goals of a first date are as follows:

  • Get to know each other.
  • Explore, nurture, and grow the attraction between you both.
  • Search for and set hooks.

You are building the foundation of a relationship. You are finding common ground, and things you want to explore in each other. You are creating anticipation and cultivating desire. Exactly how you do this will depend greatly on your specific goal for the date, one that will likely fluctuate as you move forward. Most men will agree that if taking the girl home on the first date is an option, they would love to do just that.

Work to get that smile!

Work to get that smile!

It doesn’t matter if this is your intention or not, you just need to understand what you want, and then go about creating that. It’s important to note that if you do have a plan, or goal in mind, and that goal becomes unrealistic, you need to immediately adapt to the situation. If you wanted to take her home, but that is off the table, getting upset or let down by that is a sure-fire way to put a major damper on a good time. Instead, accept it, and immediately change your plan to having the best time possible, laying the groundwork for a strong second date, which will hopefully work out in your favour.

Never expect anything to work out as you desire. Not going home with the girl on the first date is great: it means you will have even more fun anticipating, and more gratification when you do. Find a way to be excited about all resolutions of the date, and you will always define the quality of the date by the experience, not the result.

What to do, where to go

In order to accomplish the aforementioned goals, you need to choose a date setting and scenario conducive to them. Going to a movie, for example, doesn’t allow you to make any such progress. You need to craft a date based on your own skillsets, mood, the girl, and the goal you are trying to accomplish.

Ability to talk freely: If you can’t talk to each other, ad-nauseum, your date will fail. The first date is all about feeling out, testing, prodding, and showing off the best side of yourself.

Casual atmosphere: While taking a girl to an upscale restaurant can be a great date, it’s probably a poor choice for a first date. Keep the atmosphere casual, where the pressure will be low, making it easy to have a good time.

Adequate entertainment: For a date to be a success it needs to be entertaining. If you are not positive you can keep a girl entertained for the duration with only your conversation, you are going to have to pick a date with some relief. Even something as simple as going for a walk can be enough to keep things from growing stale.

A walk is always a good option.

A walk is always a good option.

Scene changes: It’s always a good idea to have multiple locations to your date. Change it up as much as you can, or need to. If you grab a bite to eat, instead of sticking around for a couple of drinks, take her to a spot down the street for a cocktail instead. Mixing it up like this will make for a better, easier date, and will make you look like a champ.

Ability to touch each other: One of the main reasons you will fail to progress a date, get a second, or turn things physical, is from a lack of touching. Physical interaction is a crucial part of attraction and desire. Pick places where you can sit next to her, instead of across. Put your hand on her back when walking together. You’re not trying to do anything sexual with this touching, you’re just getting connected.

Exactly what you do, or where you go, doesn’t really matter if you make sure to account for all of the items above.

How to act on the date

I don’t mean to stress you out, but on your date she is paying attention to everything you do or say. To one degree or another, she is evaluating you: this is an audition. This doesn’t mean you need to be perfect, it just means you need to make her want to see you again.

You need to be confident. You should consider this when choosing the setting for your date. It’s best to keep it to things you know, love, and are comfortable doing. If you go someplace to eat, make it a place where you know the menu well enough to order for her, or at least give her suggestions.

You need to be prepared and vigilant. Dress well, make sure your breath is good (always carry gum or mints), when in the bathroom, check your teeth for food, and make sure you are looking dapper. Walk with confidence!

You need to look her in the eyes. When you are talking to her, or listening to her, look her in the eyes. Eye contact is one of the most important parts of any of this, it can’t be overlooked.

You need to smile. Unless you are having a terrible time, have a big smile on your face at all times. If she is sure you are having a good time, it takes some stress off of her, so she can focus on enjoying your company instead.

You need to be honest. Even if you are not confident, you can still end up doing fine if you are honest with her. It’s okay to be nervous, most women will find it endearing, but it’s never okay to cover up this nervousness by over compensating with something fake.

Don't be afraid to be yourself.

Don’t be afraid to be yourself.

You need to listen. When she is talking to you, listen to what she is saying. It’s easy to get excited and start to think about what you are going to say or do next, but instead you need to stop and listen. Ask good questions, and listen to her answers. (What’s a good question? A good question is a question in which you are interested in hearing the answer.)

You need to touch her. Humans like to be touched, if you want her to feel desired, and to desire you in return, you need to have physical contact. This doesn’t mean you need to be doing anything erotic on your date, in fact it would be a mistake to make any sexual advances before their time. A hand on the small of her back can be the difference between a nice date, and a night you will never forget. A hand on her knee can be the difference between a normal conversation, and being absolutely riveted. You’re not trying to make a move on her when you do these things, you’re simply letting her know that you are entertained and attracted. You’re letting her know you are confident, and you are growing her anticipation for when you will make your move for that first kiss.

The thought of the first kiss starts at the first touch. There may be 100 touches in between, but no kiss has ever come first.

Date ideas

There are a million blogs out there written about first date ideas. I’m not linking to any of them because I disagree with as many items on their lists as I agree with. For example: while watching the sunrise is a beautiful, romantic, thing to do, asking a girl to wake up and meet you at 4am for a first date is insane.

Google for local date ideas, and ask your friends. There are dozens of ideas all around you: a walk, a drink, coffee, bowling, museum, make art, theme park, bike riding, roller skating, ice skating, kayaking, rock climbing, live music, a class, a bbq, the beach, picnic, karaoke, skeeball, comedy club, improv show, cook together.

You don’t need to come up with the most original idea ever. If you can, that’s great, but the point is for her to get to know you, the real you. It doesn’t really matter where you go, as long as you have a good time in the process.

If you are close with your friends, bring the girl to a get together. She will be happy to get to see that the you she is with is the real you, that you have friends, and that if she has a good time she knows she can “fit” in your life. There is nothing worse than dating a girl your friends all hate, this makes sure that will never happen.

In the end, it’s all about having a good time. Even the worst date of all: the dinner and a movie, can be a great date. It just depends on the situation. When in doubt, pick something you know you will enjoy and be comfortable doing.