Your Ultimate Guide to Successful First Dates

Ever wonder why you can’t get past the first date? Cass and the Innovative Match (IM) team have spoken to thousands of men after first dates over the course of 3 decades. Last week’s “first date” IM Recognition Award prompted great attention, so this week the team is expanding the discussion to reveal the IM Matchmakers’ best advice to master first dates every time. 1. KNOW WHY MEN DON’T CALL YOU BACK Review relationship expert Rachel Greenwald’s excellent studies covering the top First Date Breakers and Makers for men. Self-assess and make behavioral changes.

2. PRACTICE PLUS PLANNING MAKES PERFECT Preparation can help ease fear about unfamiliar situations, e.g. first dates. Do your homework and brainstorm conversation topics that will be mutually engaging.  Contemplate follow up questions for your date. Make an easy practice of conversing with strangers when running errands, at the gym, etc.! Keep up with current events and stay plugged into the world; you’ll feel great and be comfortable conversing with anyone.

3. GET MOVING, GET CONFIDENT Physical activity naturally triggers positive hormones and suppresses negative thoughts. Plus, it contributes to overall self-care and love.  Play your favorite music as you work out to beat tension and as you get ready to foster happy energy. In your final pre-date minutes, try deep breathing exercises and recite positive affirmations such as “I am strong and confident” or “Tonight will be fun!” also has terrific advice on countering the "fight or flight" response and focusing on the positive.

4. SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS Wear attire that makes you feel like a star.  Check out Rent the Runway if you need an ultra quick wardrobe boost with minimal investment.  Shoo away negative thoughts with these 5 surefire tips for beating first date jitters.  Rock power poses to raise confidence by 20%! This favorite IM technique can also be used during dates to reduce nerves - simply go to the ladies’ room and work that pose!

5. BULLETPROOF LOGISTICS Opt for a meet-and-greet drink or coffee instead of a long meal to avoid unnecessary pressure on a first meeting.

6. BE PRESENT You never know where this meeting may lead, romantically or otherwise! Make pleasant conversation and get to know your date. Learn! Your date’s life will be rich with his or her experiences and points of view.  Interact with the wait staff and other patrons or even people watch together.

7. KNOW YOUR EXIT STRATEGY Prolonging unhappy early dates can have a negative impact on your energy and dating mindset. Have a plan to leave gracefully - a corporate or family commitment if needed.  Once you've completed your beverage, express your thanks and depart. If asked about a second date, offer to check your schedule and reconnect.  On a first date, everyone is nervous so try to give people an opportunity.  However, take care of yourself first and be mindful of your own well-being.

8. RELEASE FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN Remember, this is just a date!  Forget worst-case scenarios and enjoy the excitement of being on the Romance Highway. Being vulnerable and allowing everything to unfold exhibits your confidence (and helps make you irresistible to men)!

Above all, pat yourself on the back!  Your goal has already been achieved just by “putting yourself out there”; embrace the excitement of new experiences, networking and learning. Cherish and celebrate the journey with the right attitude and your ending will be even sweeter.  Happy dating!