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As most online daters know, it’s not the first date that’s hard to get — it’s the second. But if you’re dating because you want a relationship and not just a date, making a connection and getting that second date (and third and fourth) is the whole point.
To find out the secrets to getting a second date, we asked our friends at Perfect Match — a dating site that uses a psychologist-developed compatibility system to match singles — to sound in.
The first secret? Making sure that the dating service you use connects you with highly compatible matches. You should look for a service that matches the “whole” you, not just one part of you, like your appearance or your love for pizza. Perfect Match’s Duet Total Compatibility System, which scores of PhDs have endorsed, delves into the “whole” you — your personality, lifestyle, values, and preferences — the key elements that create the most successful, lasting relationships.
The second secret, of course, is making sure the first date goes well! Here are 14 dating do’s and don’ts you should follow to get to date number two.
1. Be too serious.
Yes, you need to talk about serious topics when you’re dating, but on the first date, it’s important to keep the conversation pleasant and positive. Ask about hobbies and passions rather than taboo subjects like religion, politics, or money. Keep a sense of humor about the awkwardness of first dates.
2. Try to be funny.
It sounds contradictory to our last point, but don’t try to be funny on the date. Don’t try to be anything! Just be yourself. If you’ve been honest on your profile, it’s you that has brought him out on this date, and it’s you that he wants to get to know.
3. Talk about past relationships.
This is a big no-no. If your last boyfriend is all you can think to talk about on a date, perhaps you’re not quite ready for dating yet. Take time to get over the last relationship before embarking on the next one.
4. Misrepresent yourself online.
If he shows up 20 years older and 75 pounds heavier than his profile states, how are you going to feel about that? The same goes for him. Tell it like it is on your profile. He will love you, warts and all, if he’s the one you’re looking for.
5. Go Dutch.
Though some dating sites recommend going Dutch, we say don’t. Modern date etiquette says that whoever proposes the date pays for the date, but be sure to discuss who pays beforehand. Many men feel it’s traditional to pay for dinner, but if you’re a progressive kinda gal, let him know you’d like to pay for date number two.
Let him pay first if he insists. Don’t argue about it. Many men may feel awkward if their date pays. For the first date, make him feel as comfortable as possible, and he’ll be more open to letting you pay on the second date.
6. Quit too soon.
Sometimes it’s love at first sight. Sometimes it’s a slow build. First impressions aren’t always right, so make sure you’re giving the guy a fair shake. That said, if your instincts are all screaming “no,” don’t ignore them.
7. Drink too much.
You may feel like you’re funnier, more charming, and better looking when you’ve had a little bit to drink. But you’re not. If you’ve met someone on a serious dating site, chances are he’s looking for the real deal, so he wants to get to know the real you. Don’t hide behind a cocktail glass.
8. Put out on the first date.
If the chemistry’s right, sparks may be flying. You may be tempted to make that first date a sleepover. It’s not the end of the world if this happens, but if you’re really interested in this guy, rein in your libido and date smart. Get to know him better before you hit the sack with him.
9. Be honest.
Just as you shouldn’t misrepresent yourself online, don’t tell “little white lies” in person to make yourself more fascinating. This doesn’t mean you need to tell them everything about you right off the bat. Maintain some mystery. If you’re interested in a second date, you don’t need to reveal everything during the first one.
10. Go there.
Being compatible isn’t enough. There has to be some chemistry, right? To find out if there’s a spark, you can’t just talk about the weather. Yes, it’s important to keep things pleasant, but that doesn’t mean you need to avoid meaningful conversation. So ask some compelling but positive questions, like, “What things make you happiest?” “What do you love about your work?” and “What are the most important things in your life?”
When you’re getting to know your date, don’t be prepping your next thing to say while he’s talking. Ask him a question to get him to expand on what he just told you. This lets them know two things: that you were paying attention and that you’re interested. Try to keep the listening to talking ratio more or less 50/50.
12. Re-read their profile.
Avoid any nasty surprises (like saying “hi” to the wrong guy or calling him the wrong name) by reviewing their online profile and all your previous conversations with him before meeting up with him. This will give you things to talk about and let him know you’ve done your research.
13. Display positive body language.
If you want a second date, work those angles and show some encouraging body language. Lean towards him when he talks, make eye contact, smile. If you really like him, you will probably do these things without thinking anyway.
14. Ask for a second date.
If you’re interested in a second date, don’t be shy. Ask for one. Say, “I had a really nice time and I’d like to see you again.” Be fearless; like ripping off a Band-Aid, it’s best to get it over with quickly. If rejection is coming, it’s coming. But if you feel that spark, it’s likely that he does too.
Now that you know the dating do’s and don’ts, you’re much more likely to find a good match. So good luck and enjoy!