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How to Behave on a First Date: 28 Tips to Impress Anyone In Minutes

First dates can be nerve-wracking, but there is nothing to fear. Learning how to behave on a first date just comes down to one thing – being yourself.

How to Act and behave on a First Date

First dates are akin to going on a roller coaster ride while drunk. There’s the initial hesitation, after which you decide to go for it, then comes the excitement, and finally the “oh-crap-I’m-seriously-regretting-this” moment a few seconds before the drop. In the same way, the first date drags you through the same emotions. And knowing how to behave on a first date is crucial to how it all ends!

Far too many people make their excuses and bail on a first date before it begins. It’s understandable to a degree because first dates are super-scary.

But, look at it this way – you’re having a conversation with another person. They’re a human being, just like you are. They’re no different to you and they certainly shouldn’t be treated as such.

When you pull everything down to the same level *because that’s what it is*, it’s not so scary, is it?

For sure, you really like this person and you find them super-attractive, but try to put that aside for now and just focus on having a conversation. After all, you’re just getting to know one another right now.

[Read: The top 50 must-know amazing first date ideas to wow your date]

Why is the first date important?

We’ve just talked about how a first date is nothing more than a conversation. But, we can’t deny that it’s a pretty important conversation in many ways.

The reason why first dates are vital in terms of whether the two of you go any further or not – is because of first impressions.

It is very hard to change a negative first impression of someone. It can be done, but it takes a lot of time and they’ll always hold it against you!

So, you need to do your best to create a positive first impression of yourself and the first date is where you do it.

That doesn’t mean you have to wow them and sweep them off their feet, but it does mean showing yourself in your best light. That’s where learning how to act on a first date comes in very handy indeed. [Read: How to have a great first date – 15 things that impress every date]

How to behave on a first date and hopefully get a second!

The first date determines how you fare with the person later. The outcome, which decides whether there is a second date or not, makes people neurotic.

From where to what to wear, everyone wants their bases covered. However, all those areas only lend to about a 40% success rate.

The rest depends on your behavior during the date itself. So, understanding how to behave on a first date to make a good impression is the question we answer here. [Read: 18 signs your date really likes you on the first date – The subtle secrets everyone must know]

1. The most important rule when learning how to behave on a first date – be yourself!

It may sound overly used and clichéd, but being yourself is probably the summary of all the tips to follow. As mentioned, the nerve-wracking preparation for a first date gives a tendency for people to overdo things in order to make a good impression.

And this often leads to things getting awkward during the actual date because people put up an act that doesn’t fit their usual self. Learning how to behave on a first date literally means just being yourself! [Read: First date nerves – How to truly be yourself when your heart is pounding on a date]

2. Calm yourself beforehand

You are not on trial, in an interview, nor asking their hand in marriage. Again, overthinking only leads you to screw up, so calm down and let things run their natural course.

This way, you find your “groove” and focus on the actual moment, not on what the other person might think of every move you make. [Read: How to work through the 7 stages of first date panic]

3. Leave ulterior motives at home

Even if you think you can bag it and have sex with them on the first date, it will be better for you to leave those thoughts for a later time.

Use the first date to establish a good impression, and most of all, have a good time with them. After all, it is not wise to gamble all of your chips in the opening hand. Learning how to behave on a first date comes down to focusing on getting to know the person, and nothing more. *well, of course, unless both of you are meeting up only for a hookup!*

4. Always be on time – punctuality is sexy!

Being late even with a valid excuse gives the impression that you don’t value the time the other person allotted for that date. Arrive on time, or better yet, a few minutes earlier.

By being late, you’re showing total disrespect for the other person. It’s not the best start, is it? And, it’s not how to behave on a first date either. [Read: 18 things you HAVE to avoid doing on a first date]

5. Guys – be a gentleman

Being a gentleman never gets old and the ladies appreciate the display of chivalry.

You know how it works: opening the door for her, pulling out a chair, taking her coat, and getting her a cab if you can’t walk or drive her home. [Read: 15 courteous ways to be a gentleman and keep any girl happy]

6. Be attentive to your date

This means being sensitive if they are comfortable with the location, the food, and the topics you converse about.

You don’t need to ask your date if they’re okay every minute, but it’s about taking in non-verbal cues that suggest if they’re bored or uncomfortable.

Being attentive also calls for you to not let yourself be distracted by other things in the environment which give the impression that you’re not interested in your date.

7. Keep touches friendly and casual

Though not forbidden to touch on the first date, it is advisable that these touches lean towards the friendly and harmless side.

A friendly tap on the shoulder or a touch of the arm for reassurance but nothing more. Wait for your date to take the touching up to the next level before you respond in kind.

Also, look at how they react to any touch – if they seem annoyed or disturbed by it, don’t do it again – back off. [Read: How to flirt by touch without making it obvious at all]

8. Use your sense of humor

How to act on a first date? Use that sense of humor you were born with! The best way to make the date memorable and enjoyable is by filling it with laughter.

If you consider yourself the comedian, then use the moment to charm your date with your sense of humor. Girls in particular are endeared to a guy with a good sense of humor. Guys on the other hand, also think a funny lady is a sexy lady.

One word of advice: keep the jokes smart and appropriate. [Read: How to be funny and make people absolutely love your company]

9. How to behave on a first date? Don’t hog the conversation

Don’t get overexcited and start machine-gunning your date with questions making the topic transition uncomfortably fast.

Try to stick to one topic until you fully exhaust it before you shift to another and make sure you let your date finish speaking before you open your mouth. [Read: 40 perfect first date questions to warm your date up]

10. Don’t drink too much

How to act on a first date? Sober!

First dates more or less involve alcohol but that doesn’t mean that you should imbibe more than you can handle. Not only that being dead drunk makes you incapable of proper conversation, it also leads you to show yourself in a less than desirable light.

11. Keep the conversation light-hearted

When it comes to knowing how to behave on a first date, you should remember that a first date is not really a moment to discuss seriously depressing things like death, poverty, war, and the like.

Keep it light and casual. Work your way to securing the second or third dates before discussing your interest in the woes of the world.

12. Do not bring up the subject of money

Bragging on your own income and prying on your date’s income isn’t only totally inappropriate, but it makes you look like a gold digger.

Money talk is something reserved for people in a relationship, not for two people who just met each other. When learning how to act on a first date, cash should be kept out of the conversation. [Read: 20 ways to perfect your first date conversation]

13. Keep past relationships out of it

Common sense tells us that this is one of the big conversation no-no’s on first dates. One of the key ways to learn how to act on a first date is to stick to the here and now.

If you talk about a past relationship, it gives your date the idea that you’re looking for a rebound and leaves them not so keen for further dates. It might also make them assume you’re not over your ex, which isn’t a great foundation to build on.

14. Don’t complain

Have you ever been with a person who complains too much? Remember how you wanted to be miles away from that person?

Complaining too much is a big first date turn-off. If you’re complaining about the restaurant you selected in the first place, it’s a sign that you didn’t prepare. The other person may also be conveniently imagining how unpleasant married life with you will be. [Read: How to be more positive – 24 steps to a happy and dramatic life shift]

15. Do not psychoanalyze your date

Even if you’re a licensed psychologist, giving a psychoanalytic interpretation to everything your date says is not only presumptuous, it may also come off as rude and condescending.

Keep your business out of your date’s unconscious. Instead, pay attention to what they’re saying and that will help you learn how to behave on a first date. [Read: Signs you’re ruining your first date unknowingly]

16. Keep sex out of the conversation

Bringing up sex in a first date conversation is like plopping a dead pig’s head on the table in a family dinner.

It only accomplishes giving you unfavorable attention and may cause your date to be wary of you. A little naughty joke would be fine, but outright prying on your date’s sex life is a mortal sin!

It also makes them think that you’re only after one thing which isn’t the vibe you’re going for.

17. Listen and pay attention, being disinterested isn’t sexy!

We know, you’ve probably heard that playing hard to get works, but it doesn’t. It can in the short term or with some easy flirting, but you have already agreed to the date. Playing hard to get is just confusing at this point.

If you want to impress your date, do not act disinterested.

Don’t act like you’re pulling back because you want them to chase you. Unless you actually don’t like them, just show your true feelings. Listen and pay attention to what they’re saying. [Read: 14 ways on how to be a better listener in a relationship]

18. Avoid being too eager

The excitement of a first date is overwhelming. If things are going well, you get along, and have chemistry it can seem like you met your match. But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. A first date can go swimmingly, but that doesn’t mean this is your true love.

Sure, you can plan a second date, but planning anything beyond that is too intense. Planning a weekend away, a meeting with your friends or family, or your wedding will surely scare off a date. How to act on a first date? Chill out a little!

19. Leave your bitter old baggage at the door

First dates are like the tax day of dating. They bring on stress, nerves, and can cause you to relive prior heartache. But, try to let go of that. This is a first date, which means it is a new person that brings new experiences to your life.

You may have fears and even be a bit bitter about your past, but bringing that to your first date will bring the mood down and let your date know you are not ready to be dating, at least not with any hope. [Read: Emotional baggage – How to help someone put it down and find freedom]

20. Be polite at all times, it’s not cool to be rude

You may have heard that being rude is hot, well, you heard wrong. A bit of gentle teasing can be flirty, but beyond that, being rude on a first date, or ever, is not a good look.

Whether you’re rude to your date, the waiter, or a bystander, it will not do you any good.

21. Always remember your manners

In addition to being polite, always remember your manners. Your manners go a long way and they show the other person a lot about who you are.

In terms of knowing how to act on a first date, you have to be on your very best behavior. That means ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ and the like. [Read: Proper social etiquette – 12 rules that redefine modern manners]

22. Never be aggressive

So, the date went well? Congratulations! But, that doesn’t mean your date agrees and even if they do, it doesn’t mean they are welcoming of a kiss, a make-out, or anything else.

You are not worthy of anything from your date just because you met up with them or bought them dinner or a drink.

They don’t owe you anything. A hug or a kiss on the cheek is possible on a first date, but beyond that, unless you have verbal acknowledgment of this, keep it rated G.

23. Big up your confidence before the date starts and remind yourself throughout

Going into a date with a load of self-doubt will start things off on the wrong foot. It will put you in a negative headspace and sour the mood. Instead, pump yourself up before the date.

Listen to your favorite pop music and put on an outfit you feel cute and comfortable in. You can even call a friend to give you a pep talk so you are freshly inspired. Confidence is the key to any successful first date. [Read: How to be confident – 28 life hacks to transform your future forever]

24. Showing respect is always attractive

We know how easy it can be to let your opinion take over, especially when you’re nervous. But on a first date, be respectful of your date. Whether they drink or not, whether they are religious or spiritual or neither, you don’t have to agree or even like it, but respect it.

Whether or not you see a second date with this person, always remain polite and courteous with your attitude.

A first date does not define the future. You could disagree with everything you talk about on the first date and still have amazing dates in the future. [Read: How to show respect in a relationship and love each other better]

25. Accept that nerves are a given on both sides

Nerves get the best of us on first dates. You may have awkward silences, poorly deliver a joke, or even laugh obnoxiously when it wasn’t called for, but that is okay. Your date probably knows you’re nervous and they probably are too.

But remember to breathe. Nerves can make us talk too much, too fast, or even get so distracted we don’t listen when they’re talking. Be sure to slow down. If you feel nerves taking over, take a sip of water or even excuse yourself to the bathroom for a break.

26. Ask questions and listen

Even the most thoughtful and selfless person is guilty of talking about themselves too much on a first date. You don’t know what else to talk about most of the time so your go-to is what you know most, yourself.

Instead, ask your date thoughtful questions. Don’t ask them what their job is, but what their dream job is or what they wanted to be when they were a kid. And really listen to your date’s answers so you can carry on a solid conversation, not just back and forth questions. [Read: 45 funny questions to get to know someone better instantly]

27. Keep your phone in your bag/pocket

One of the worst things you can do is keep checking your phone. It shows your date that you’re not interested in what they have to say and it’s downright rude!

When learning how to act on a first date, you need to be present in the moment. So, keep your phone in your bag or your pocket and focus completely on your date. [Read: Phubbing – What it is, 18 reasons why we phub and how to stop it]

28. Always be honest

If they ask you why you’re single or on a dating app, don’t lie. You don’t have to tell every detail, but tell the truth. Let them know that you had trouble getting over your last relationship or that you needed to work on building trust, or even that you’ve been told you’re picky.

You can get into the dirty details if things progress, but do tell the truth. If you were dumped by your live-in partner on your birthday in front of your parents and grandma, don’t tell your date you’ve been busy with work.

Simply tell them you had a messy breakup and it took you a while to bounce back. Your date will appreciate your honesty and it’s one of the most simple and effective ways on how to act on a first date.

[Read: What to say on a first date to keep it light, easy and flirtatious]

First dates can be fun, exciting, but also nerve-wracking. All people want to act right and make a good impression. Hence they try to overthink and over-prepare to make the first date memorable. While preparation is good, the best way to impress your date is by knowing how to behave on a first date.

Check these out:

Want to know what women expect from a date? Here are the 16 things every girl hopes to see in an ideal perfect date.

Want to impress with words? Use this – The best first date conversation – 23 tips to impress in minutes

Looking for date questions? Try these 20 fun questions on a date you should never ignore

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The editorial team of LovePanky comprises relationship experts and real-life experts that share their experiences and life lessons. If you want the best love ad...