First dates are scary enough with all the pre-date decisions: what to wear, where to go, and what to do if things go sour. For now, let’s skip to the date itself. Here are 5 things to keep in mind while you’re on a first date.

 

Have a conversation

Remember, the first date is for getting to know each other and seeing if you have chemistry. It’s important to ask questions and listen to your date’s answers. Often times, we prepare for dates by having a stock of questions to ask. A list of questions should give you a guideline, not an itinerary. If you are actively listening and thoughtfully responding, conversation should flow naturally.

 

Share your opinions and interests as opinions and interests, not fact.

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. For example, if your date asks you what your favorite type of food is, and you answer: “I love Italian food, because everything else tastes bad”, this is probably a bad idea. This is because the assertion that “everything else tastes bad” is your opinion, and not a fact. Instead, a good way to convey that you enjoy Italian food is saying: “Personally, I really love Italian food.”

 

Be aware of your body language

Maintaining eye contact shows that you are interested and paying attention. Plus, this helps with making sure you do not accidentally check out other people, or start watching the game. If your arms are crossed, you might seem apathetic or disinterested, so keep them uncrossed.

 

Do not invite your friends

Inviting your friends to “run into” you and your date or having the first date as an outing involving your friends is not recommended. Your date should not have to compete for your attention. When you’re in friend-mode, your focus will be divided between hanging out with your friends and getting to know your date.

 

Overemphasizing serious topics

While it is important to discuss relationship issues, political beliefs, and moral values along with other hot topics, the first date should be fun and light so if that means avoiding these topics, do it. This doesn’t mean cutting out interesting questions, but it does mean avoiding fighting at dinner with a stranger.