There are few things more exciting than a first date. Incidentally, there are also few things more nerve-wracking. It’s easy to start drowning in what-if scenarios as you sit and rethink your outfit or try to plan out the exact tone of voice you’ll use to greet them. But knowing how to make a good first impression on a date isn’t a matter of dressing or speaking just right—it’s a matter of common courtesy and the right mindset.
Show Up on Time
Arriving when you said you would or earlier shows that you are a man or woman of your word. It shows that you consider your date’s time valuable and that you are truly interested in spending some of your time with them. And if you hit traffic or get stuck at work longer than you expected, contact your date immediately to explain the situation.
Clean Out Your Car
In the day-to-day grind, trash, clothes, and other odds and ends can accumulate in our cars. We start to go blind to them after a while, but if you are picking your date up or giving them a ride, they won’t be nearly as blind to it. Few things are more uncomfortable than sitting on a seat surrounded by another person’s garbage. Take time to get the trash and junk out, and go the extra mile to really clean your car’s interior.
Clean Up Yourself
It can be easy to overthink your appearance on a date and end up either overdressing or wearing things that you aren’t truly comfortable in, but don’t take it to the other extreme. Please, PLEASE, take a shower, brush your teeth, and put on deodorant. You are already prone to sweat more on a first date, so don’t set yourself at a greater disadvantage.
It’s natural to want your date to like you. And when you’re nervous, you may find yourself searching for things to say to prove that you’re fun or witty. Even when the other person is talking, you may find yourself listening to what they’re saying with the purpose of finding something clever or relatable to say in return. But the point of a date is to get to know the other person, and the times when we truly feel heard are often few and far between. Make a concerted effort to “turn off” the clever word creator in your head and listen. Really listen.
We have started to move away from thank-you cards and notes in our culture. But taking the time to send a quick text the next day to say that you had a nice time will show your date that you appreciate the time and energy they put into it. Even if you think the date didn’t go particularly well, it’s still a good idea to thank them for taking the time to meet.
You can’t know whether the date will become anything more. And though that’s usually the hope, stressing about whether your names will sound good hyphenated will make the date pass without you noticing. Relax and enjoy yourself—it will go much further toward making a good first impression on your date than the cleverest pick-up line.