PEOPLE

Guidelines for a Successful First Date

Human relationships can at times be very simple, and at other times, they can be quite complex. Relationships are the foundation for the emotional ups and downs that spring from interaction between two people. When two people are found to be compatible, it can be an extremely satisfying feeling that eventually becomes second-nature, and if all goes well, long-term companionship follows.

But relationships don't begin in the middle. There's always that first date which opens the door to better things, and if all goes well on the first date, a second encounter comes next, and the friendship grows.

Whether it's a planned outing agreed upon by two people who have met during their everyday lives, or a 'get-together' from a computer or Internet dating service, the participants each hope to make a good impression. There are basic guidelines for a first date that still remain standard in today's society as it did 20 years ago (and longer). Since this is ultimately a learning process, it's a good idea for the two people to be comfortable with their surroundings and with each other on a first date.

Historically, the male has been the one to ask the female to go out for an evening, although nowadays, that rule is no longer 'set in stone'. However, in sticking with tradition, we'll concentrate on the usual pattern. For the man, if he's in a position of seeing the lady during his daily or weekly travels, if he's on top of things, he'll start up a conversation with the woman, or ask one of her acquaintances about the things in which she's interested, and from that information, he can decide how to plan a first date. Just remember, research is important to attaining any goal, whether it's to solve a problem, or finding the correct match.

A few examples of planning an enjoyable time may be...if she's outgoing with a sense of humor, a good idea might be to ask the lady if she'd like to have dinner, and then maybe attend a comedy club. If she's more refined and laid back, instead of a comedy club, maybe an afternoon outing at a museum, planetarium, or a similar point of interest might be in order. A movie is the usual pitch that comes to mind. Depending on the personalities involved, an equitable choice of a film is a distinct possibility. The good thing about movies is that there's usually several different types from which to choose, and a compromise can often be attained. In either case, a dinner at a nice restaurant is always an ideal method for talking with one another and learning about each player's character. If things go well during this half of the evening, then the plans for the rest of the day/night can proceed.

On the subject of computer or Internet dating sites, emails are usually exchanged at the outset, and if the two people get along through written communication, a phone call between the two is the next ideal plan. A lot can be learned from a verbal conversation, where the written word may be lacking. If the telephone call goes well, then a subsequent one-on-one meeting is in order. It's recommended that the two people rendezvous on this initial physical meeting in a public place that's pretty neutral 'distance-wise'. That way, if either person is disappointed in any way, then the two can still consider the meeting as merely two people meeting in a public place, and not with the intention of an official date occurring.

Making a good impression is a 'no-brainer' when it comes to dating. For the man, if he's gung-ho about the date after the two have initially communicated, it's not a bad idea to show up at the first one-on-one meeting with flowers. Red roses aren't appropriate on a first date, but rather a reasonably-priced, nice arrangement will be readily appreciated by the woman, in most cases. And also, the guy shouldn't show up looking like a slob. It's okay to dress casual, but be neat...tuck your shirt tail in, and wear clean clothes. When actually on the date, just be natural. This is easier said than done, but if each person keeps this in mind, there will be less awkward moments in the long run. Each person should ask questions about the other, be a good listener, and the conversation should not lead back to one person talking about prior relationships--discussing past romances is not what the date is about. Also, if you're trying to make a good impression, you should display a little confidence, but don't go so far as being arrogant, condescending, or overbearing.

Each person can use their own judgment about the final moments of the first date. If the date goes well, a gentle hug or an innocent kiss may be a nice way to end the evening, but neither of these things should be expected. There will be plenty of time for that kind of thing on ensuing meetings. With a successful date ending, maybe a day or two (or even three) later, one party can telephone the other to express how much he/she enjoyed themselves during the first encounter. This will make it easy to lead into a second outing, if the two people feel so inclined.

These are just standard tips/reminders for beginning a nice relationship. There's nothing more satisfying than two people getting along to the point to where they want to see each other again.