10 Simple Steps to Plan a First Date
It’s Emyli, America’s Online Dating Coach. Dating nowadays is confusing. Believe me, I know. I went on 100 dates in 2011-2012 when I was a student at UC Berkeley. Every date felt as if it were nothing but trial and error. I mean, I was never taught how to date in school. There weren’t any college lectures on the rules of dating. My professors didn’t pass out homework assignments or have us take tests to measure our dating aptitude. But I always wished there was some kind of framework that could outline the rules of dating ahead of time so I could be successful from date one. So I created just that, The EmLovz Rules of Dating.
I’m going to share with you 10 crucial dating rules to set your first date up for success every time. Before I jump in, I want to preface this by laying down the groundwork for your dates. The goals of a first date are vastly different from the goals of a second date. The goal of a third date is also very different from the goals of the second date. So… what are the goals of the first, second, and third date?
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First, Second, and Third Date Goals
Are you asking yourself how to plan a perfect first date? Understand that the overall goal of a first date is to build trust and rapport. Why is trust and rapport the goal of date one? Because she needs to be able to trust you if she’s going to ever to sleep with you.
The goal of a second date is to escalate sexual tension. Why is escalating sexual tension the goal of date two? Because it keeps you out of the friendzone.
The goal of a third date is to establish whether there is a morals and values fit and then progress to physical intimacy.Why is establishing a morals and values fit and then progressing to physical intimacy the goal of date three? Because you need to determine whether you see her as a potential girlfriend or not.
A girlfriend is someone you introduce to friends and family so you need to at least have an idea of whether you share the same morals and values. Progressing to physical intimacy is the natural evolution of the courting phase and (barring religious reasons for why you can’t) should take place on date 3. This will keep you out of the friendzone and make it clear to her that your intention is to be her boyfriend, not her bff.
Rule #1 Choose a Safe Neighborhood to Meet Your Date In
When a woman gets all dressed up, she doesn’t want to worry about getting kidnapped because she had to meet you in the ghetto. This is one of my favorite first date tips because men rarely have to worry about their safety, but women constantly do.
A woman’s fight or flight response is easily triggered when she feels unsafe. A dangerous neighborhood can put her on edge and subconsciously make her judge you more critically. When you choose a safe environment for your date, you allow her to lower her defenses and open up more. She’ll be more receptive to your influence which will make it easier for you to build trust and rapport.
Choose a neighborhood where there are lots of people around. Make sure these people look happy–not sketchy. Avoid neighborhoods with homeless people, honking, and loiterers.
Rule #2 First Dates Should Always Take Place During Daylight Hours
Always plan daytime dates when you’re meeting someone for the first time. My clients hate this rule but it is one of the most effective choices for dating. This is because the goal of a first date is to build trust and rapport. The darkness associated with an evening date can subconsciously make a woman feel unsafe. When she feels unsafe–for any reason–she will subconsciously associate that negative feeling with you. Any negative vibes distract from your goal of building trust and rapport.
The perfect day for a first date is Saturday at either 11am or 2pm. Saturday is a great day for a first date because everyone is out of “work-mode.” A date starting at 11am is relatively easy for a woman to commit to without flaking (that is, unless she’s a party girl and stays out all night). A date starting at 2pm on a Saturday is also easy for a woman to commit to without having to rearrange her schedule.
I’d recommend asking her out 3 days before the date so she has enough time to make herself available. If you ask her out the day before she’ll probably already be busy with something. If she isn’t busy with something and says yes to a date the next day, she’ll look desperate and may say no just to avoid that. If you ask her out more than 3 days in advance you’ll look “try-hard.”
Rule #3 Select A Date Location That Has Free Parking Nearby
Select a location with a free parking lot that is close by and preferably ground level only. Women feel threatened when they’re all alone in a big parking garage. We’ve been taught that creepers hang out in these places waiting to steal our purse or jump in the car when we’re getting in. If you have a sister, would you want her to meet her dates in an unsafe location?
Rule #4 Select A Date Location That Has Comfy Chairs
This is another one of my favorite rules regarding how to plan a great first date. The location you select should have comfortable chairs or couches. Make sure you feel good in the chairs you are sitting in. This will subconsciously imply that life with you would be relaxing and enjoyable. There’s nothing more distracting than an uncomfortable chair. You want her focus to be on you and you want her to feel good. Make sure the chairs at your date location aren’t janky. If you don’t do your research, and she has to sit on an uncomfortable chair or has to stand up – you might as well move on to your next prospect.
Sofa chairs and plush couches are a plus. You want her to feel like cozying up to you. Avoid chairs that aren’t level or chairs that are set on uneven ground. High top chairs should have a foot rest and aren’t particularly recommended. Flimsy chairs or chairs that fold up aren’t ideal, nor are cold metal chairs.
Rule #5 Select A Date Location That Smells Good
Wondering where to go on a first date? Keep in mind that scent is important. Try a classy tea lounge and order a fragrant Jasmine tea. The tranquil smell will put you at ease and make your date much more receptive.
Rule #6 Use A Time Constraint
Another consideration when figuring out how to structure a first date is to always set a time constraint. A 60 minute time limit creates an excellent safety net in case the date goes sour. Another benefit of using a time constraint is that it protects against stagnation. Mystery is the key to the courting phase and if you spend 3 hours telling her every detail of your life, then she’ll be less likely to agree to a second date. Why would she? She already knows your entire life story. There’s nothing for her to wonder about.
Try saying this at the beginning of the date: “Just so you know, I have to leave for a friend’s engagement party in about 60 minutes.” Setting a time constraint helps to put her at ease as well because it saves her from having to make up an excuse to get out of the date if it sucks. First dates should last no longer than an hour. If things are going well, bounce to a new location and invite her to join you. When this happens, it’s effectively considered a transition to date number two. Lastly, make sure your excuse is valid.
Rule #7 Have The 2nd Date Planned Even Before the 1st Date Has Happened
Have the 2nd date idea already planned in your mind (before the first date). Try and get her to commit to the 2nd date halfway through your first date. Make it compelling by suggesting you do something that she’s already expressed interest in. If the chemistry is there, this is super easy. For example, ask her if she likes to hike a specific trail that you know of. If she says yes, tell her you are planning on doing that hike next Saturday at 11am, and invite her to join.
Rule #8 Set The Mood With Music
Rule #9 Touch Her At Least 3 Times
Rule #10 Spend No More Than an Hour on Your First Date Together
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