The First Date–Everything You Need to Know

My last first date was terrible. 

No, seriously. 

The nasty food, the stormy summer humidity against my fresh blowout, the fact that we [inevitably] rear-ended someone on the way back (don’t ask)–it’s something I won’t soon forget. 

Funny enough, I’ll be celebrating five years together in November with the man responsible for this.

I’m not writing this to tell y’all that behind every terrible date is your soulmate (because that’d be a huge lie,) but I’ve been on enough first dates, good and bad, to see beyond the bullsh*t. 

I want to set you up for success in these dating streets. As long as you keep these 7 things in mind then you’ll always have a successful date whether you decide to see the person again or not. 

Location Sets the Tone

I believe that people should take choosing a first date location more seriously. 

After a few conversations, you can gain tons of intel on a person’s likes/dislikes. Do they prefer fancy or simple dinners? Do they like being adventurous? Are they into art, fashion, wine, or whiskey? There’s so many ways you can go with it. Just pick someplace where you can talk and listen and don’t overthink (or -do) anything. 

Though the location of your first date helps set the tone for your relationship (or lack thereof), it won’t make or break the connection itself; I’ve made great connections in not-so-great places and not-so-great connections in great places. 

When I went on a date with a guy in fashion, for instance, he took me to a cute thrift store/consignment shop. Despite not seeing it for us romantically, I’m so glad he put me onto a really dope spot in my city. It was such a cool date! 

On the other hand, remember my horrible first date I mentioned before? This man chose a restaurant with chocolate everywhere: in the drinks, the mac n cheese, on the bacon. It was…different.

I just knew I’d have to say goodnight and good-luck to this man since his taste in food was trash. But you know what saved him? He hated the food, too. 

He admitted that a friend told him it was a nice place and, wanting to impress me, chose to go there. Though we turned an L into a laugh and bonded over our mutual dislike of the food, we would’ve had a better meal if he didn’t overthink it and trusted his own opinion (because he rarely chose a bad restaurant after that).

Safety First and Always!

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst–one of my favorite nuggets of advice from my dad to apply to life, especially when dating.   

Though we want to assume the best of everyone, the truth is that, outside of awkwardness or lack of chemistry, dates can quickly become unsafe for whatever reason. 

Do you have a safety plan to quickly remove yourself from the situation? A loved one to periodically check in with while on the date? Did you provide your loved one with your date’s info (name, location sharing, mutuals, etc )? 

If not, you definitely should. 

I’ve shared addresses, car make/model, social media profiles, even license plate numbers with my friends before going out on a date because I feel safer. 

Read this online dating safety guide if you wanna dig deeper into safely dating. 

Show Up As Your “Flyest” Self 

POV: You’re the baddest b*tch in the room. Confidence on 10 and making connections feels effortless. 

What outfit are you wearing? What “look” are you giving? Which shoes? Hairstyle? Accessories? Makeup? Perfume? What are you doing? What are you talking about? What music are you listening to, if any? 

All of these things matter. 

For example: 

I feel most stylishly comfortable when I’m wearing baggy pants. Or an oversized jacket. 

I love soft glam, rose gold jewelry, my slightly oversized camo jacket, big hair, and boots (ankle, thigh, combat, you name it!) 

I smell like flowers or vanilla with a hint of shea butter. 

I’m usually discussing music, films, food, writing, Black history, or reality tv shows (to name a few things). 

Getting dressed to a good R&B playlist will make me feel like my sexiest self. 

You may prefer 6-inch pumps and a tight dress or a bodysuit. Afrobeats. Smelling like candy with a clean face and slick hair. Whatever your comfort zone is, elevate it.  

Don’t worry about what/who the other person will like and just be yourself. This is a great way to find out if there’s compatibility with your date, at minimum. 

Stick to Your Dating Budget

I don’t wanna summon the spirit of the $200 date debate so I’ll keep this one brief. 

You know how much money you’re working with and what you’re willing to spend on a date. Be it $50 or $5000–whatever that amount is, stick to it. If your date has an issue with that then maybe y’all aren’t as compatible as you think. 

Speaking of money, this is all I’ll say about who pays: if you asked for their time then expect to be the one who pays. Simple math. 

Always Have a Transition Plan

A transition plan is NOT a backup plan. Though it’s also smart to have a backup plan in case a date goes wrong, transition plans are for when dates go *well*. 

If you want to keep spending time with your date then you’ll likely need to switch locations. If you meet up with your date for drinks and don’t want to part ways just yet, then maybe you can transition to a restaurant (or vice versa). 

You don’t need a fully fleshed out plan but always have somewhere else to go just in case! 

Don’t ask someone why they’re single 

“Why are you single?” is the top 2 worst questions you can ask a potential boo (and it’s not 2). 

When you ask someone that question, it implies that being single is a bad thing.  Everyone has their reasons, all of which don’t need an explanation (until you know the person better, and even then it’s still your choice). 

If you take nothing else away from this post, take this. Avoid that question like the plague. 

Don’t focus on finding “the one”

(Don’t fight me for what I’m about to say, but) there’s no such thing as “the one”. 

If you’re dating to marry or to find “the one” then you’re setting yourself up for lots of pain and disappointment; it sucks the fun out of it, truthfully speaking. Dating to marry may have you skipping crucial relationship-building steps and forces you to focus too much on the future when you should be living in the present. 

You can date 50 different people and see your future 50 different ways, and that’s ok! Though some loves are meant to last only for a season, all of them can teach you something–about love, relationships, or yourself. 

Choosing one person to be with doesn’t mean that you weren’t (or won’t be) ever happy with other people. 

Listen, I know dating can seem tough but it may get easier if you let go of your expectations of how a date should go. A great first date really boils down to three questions: Did you feel good? Did you have fun? Does the person make you feel excited? If the answer is yes to these questions, whatever the “yes” looks like to you, then consider it successful. 

If you’re going to date then you might as well enjoy yourself. Remember: the more dates you go on, the more stories you’ll have to tell! 

Written By: B. Sierra

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