I’m not sure if I’ve ever gone on a first date without my personal alarm in my pocket…

First dates are a fun, necessary part of life, and whether you end up hitting it off or not it’s always good to go on dates with new people [when you are single].  I realize, thanks to all of the dates I’ve been on over the last few years I’ve come up with rules for myself to avoid awkward and uncomfortable situations.

In planning the date I always offer the guy one chance to pick the restaurant. If he says that you can choose, you choose. Do not be indecisive and play the game of “Oh, it doesn’t matter to me, where do you want to go”, it’s annoying. It’s good to show you have an opinion and that you’re actually into this date. If you pick somewhere you like to go, it helps him get to know you, and you’ll be in a setting that you’re comfortable in (also, you’ll know where all of the exits are should you need to make a quick escape).
If it’s a first date and he picks the restaurant make sure it’s somewhere that is easy for you to meet him at. Do not let him pick you up and drive you somewhere. And yes, him saying, “The restaurant is just through this forest” should make you reach for your protection whistle.

Once you’re on the date it’s always good to keep in mind that it’s not an interview. If you don’t know each other, it’s definitely not the date to be talking or asking about exes. Unless it’s for a funny story, don’t even bring up your ex. Just like you don’t want to sit and listen to him talk all night about how terrible his ex is; he doesn’t want to hear about how your ex cheated on you and how you have trust issues now. Please, god, keep it light. And if you are rebounding and emotional, stay away from the alcohol. Keep you’re phone in your purse, and NEVER start showing him pictures of your cat. EVER (I don’t care if the cat is cute, you will look crazy).

Do not go on this date expecting him to pick up the bill at the end of it. I like to think that the person who did the asking should be the person who pays. However, when the bill arrives, reach for the check at some point. If he says he will get it, still offer to chip in. He will most likely say no, but if he says yes, carry cash to pay. It’s much quicker than debit or credit, and the conversation about money and the bill is over as fast as it started. Never, ever, ever go on a date without knowing you’re able to cover the full amount of the bill at the end. From him expecting you to pay, to his card declining, you just never know what could happen.

There are lots of other rules I have like don’t leave him alone with your purse, don’t flirt with the waiter or bartender working, don’t wear a shade of lipstick that needs to be constantly reapplied and don’t order food that’s super awkward to eat. I could go on and on, but really, it’s just dating and it’s meant to be fun. The more people you date, the more you really start to realize what you appreciate and what you’re looking for in another person.

So, put yourself out there, enjoy and happy dating!

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