It is nearly impossible to guarantee any kind of success on a blind date. It is often through bind dates that you find out just what kind of person your friends doing the set-ups think you are (or the types of people, they would like to see you with). Unfortunately, what is missing on a blind date is the even small history you might have if you had met the person yourself. You usually feel obligated (to the friend who set you up, if not to your date) to see it through for at least an hour or two. If you have been on blind dates before, however, and have been interested, only to find out that your date isn’t, it could be your delivery.
The following are a few tips from quality women who have been on blind dates that may illuminate some of the ways in which you are wandering astray.
When you are on a true blind date, your date has likely only heard a physical description of you. Since first impressions start with how you present yourself, there are a few basic rules to making her interested enough to want to get to know you better.
The first is style. You don’t have to have model looks to give a good first impression. Dress in a manner that is appropriate to the location in which you are meeting. If you are meeting for coffee, jeans are fine, but make sure they are stylish jeans that show off your assets. No tapered jeans and no jeans that are too short. Don’t wear jeans with running shoes unless they are dressy and new-looking (i.e. no runners you would wear to the gym or runners that look like you ran over them with a lawn mower). Don’t wear white socks. For your shirt, sweaters are okay (no Cosby sweaters though, guys), but a crisp button-up is nicer.
If you are unsure (or just don’t really care) about what looks good on you, or what looks remotely stylish, ask a female friend of yours (especially one who is a “type” of girl you would like to attract) to take you shopping for a couple of date outfits. And don’t overlook shoes. Girls notice guys with good shoes, because it shows class and attention to detail. A guy who is well put-together (this includes a good haircut too) is a guy that girls tend to notice. It shows that you take care of yourself.
Aside from personal style, you should observe basic grooming tips. Bed head is cute on 17-year-old pop-punk wannabes. On the other end of the spectrum, overuse of hair product is so Ross on Friends, circa 1994. Find a happy medium. Also, make sure you have fresh breath, wear deodorant, and wear a nice scent (although no scent is better than too much).
Communication is often the toughest part of a blind date, especially at the awkward beginning. Start the conversation by asking your date how her day/week has been. Ask her for the highlights and low lights. This will get her talking, and you will find out a bit about what she does in a week. It also gives her a reciprocal question. If possible, have a funny story prepared about something that has happened. If nothing funny has happened to you, make up something outrageous (when she says “Really?!” just reply, “no, but you don’t want to hear about my boring week.”). The best thing you can do is make your date laugh.
Throughout the conversation, make sure you ask her questions about herself (open-ended questions are best so she doesn’t answer with ‘yes’ or ‘no’) and listen to the answers (while maintaining eye contact), and have some interesting things to share about yourself: travel stories, work stories, even stories about your daily subway commute. Also, a sincere compliment is always appreciated.
Topics to avoid like the plague: former relationships (it’s too early to get into, and if you bring an ex up casually, she will think you aren’t over her), how much money you make, how much you workout, why you are single, your sexual preferences or fetishes, who you know (name dropping), how much you hate dating (she’ll wonder what you’re doing there), hobbies that might seem bizarre or nerdy (wait til she knows you better), how long it’s been since you last got laid. The best attitude to convey in your conversation is casual and upbeat. This will make it seem as though you are glad to be there, but are not pinning all your future hopes of happiness on the encounter. Also, positive people are just much easier and more fun to be around, so leave the negativity at home.
Most women’s responses to this question were surprisingly similar. They would basically like men to be polite and sober. While chivalry is greatly appreciated (pulling out her chair, helping her with her jacket, opening doors), most women have a basic requirement of “polite.” This means no talking with your mouth full, no nose-picking, or ball-adjusting. Don’t be rude to the serving staff if you are at a restaurant or lounge (and don’t chintz on the tip). Be on time and shut off your cell phone (unless you are an emergency contact for something, in which case, let her know that is the only reason it is on).
Don’t show up drunk or proceed to get drunk on the date. She won’t want to pour you into a cab on the way home, nor will she find your drunken advances charming. Also, don’t do drugs. Even if you are just a casual pot smoker, if you have to smoke pot on the date, it signals that you probably do it all the time.
Finally, if you run into friends of yours while on the date (or, terror! your ex!), introduce her as “your friend, so-and-so.” This alleviates the awkwardness of being introduced stiffly as someone’s “date.” Also, don’t spend too much time visiting with people you know in the room. You are there to spend time with your date. Call your friends later.
It’s the eternal question. The answer really depends on the woman you are with. Some women think it’s classy for the man to pay on the first date (and are more than happy to chip in on subsequent dates). Other women are more comfortable paying their own way. The best answer to this is: if you want to see her again, then pay for the first date. If she has class, she will offer to pay for the next one.
Ending The Date
Don’t assume you are going to get it on after your first date. Let the date just naturally unfold instead of trying to “close the deal” by moving in on her too quickly. Even if you got along really well on the first date, you probably aren’t going to get much more than a good night kiss. And if she’s not interested that’ll probably end up on your cheek.
If you aren’t interested, have a kind escape plan. When you make the date, make it for early in the evening or in the afternoon and establish that you have some place you have to be later on. If she’s smart, she’ll do the same. If you guys hit it off, you can pretend to blow off those plans for her (or just admit that it was an escape plan that you don’t need any more!). And if you don’t, it gives you an end-time to the torture.
This brings us to the biggest rule, one that every girl mentioned: If you are not going to call her again, don’t tell her you will. You think you are doing this to “let her down easy,” when really, you’re just letting yourself off the hook, and it makes you seem either cowardly or arrogant when you don’t call. We don’t have a lot invested after a blind date, so just be honest.
Here are some replacement sentences that are gentle, but give the girl the idea: “It was cool meeting you. Maybe we’ll bump into each other with [mutual friend who set you up]” or “Thanks for the coffee. I hope the rest of your week gets better! Take care!” if you can’t manage the guts to disengage in person, a simple email saying, “I had a good time meeting you, but I don’t think we had a romantic connection. It’s too bad, because you’re really funny/cute/fun. I just wanted to be straight-up with you. Take care.”
Like you, the girl you are meeting doesn’t have humungous expectations on a blind date, but you just never know. So out your best foot forward, and be a class act. At least that way, she won’t have anything terrible to report back to your mutual friend!