First dates 101

First dates can be tricky business.

You only have to watch an episode of First Dates to see that they can be equally incredible, or equally hide behind the sofa cringey.

I think most of us could point to a date or two which ticks either of these boxes.

There's so much that goes into a first date, and just the prep can be stressful, so I’ve offered a classic Top 5 tips to first dates, though I’m no Fred Sirieix.

1. Relax.

First dates can be uncomfortable experiences, just the whole thought of being silently judged throughout.

So it’s important to make sure you’re doing something that relaxes you. There’s no point in going for coffee, if you feel uncomfortable doing so. That sort of stuff comes across.

I’m a Geordie, so going to some fancy Dan jazz club just comes across weird.

If you get anxious, check out the venue before with a friend. Knowing your surroundings can really help. Also, some Dutch courage beforehand can really help you relax! Have a pint.

2. Make an effort.

First impressions are important.

I went on a first date a couple of years ago to a really nice bar. My date walked in, on a lovely spring evening, in a hiking anorak. It sounds bad, but I was immediately put off (I mean her Dad also picked her up, so...).

Making an effort (a trimmed beard, scrubbed nails, clean and smart clothes) shows the person across from you that you value the time.

If you come in scruffy, I promise you, your date’s not gonna stop staring at the badly ironed shirt, or that toothpaste you forgot to clean off your mouth. Before you arrive, check yourself in the mirror guys.

3. Listen.

It’s a difficult balance on a first date – you both want to learn about each other, but you don't want to end up in an interview either.

But... take the initiative, ask questions and be prepared to listen.

Show interest.

By listening you both show the other person that you value what they have to say, but you also start to get a picture of whether this is someone you’re genuinely interested in.

You don’t get that if you just tell them about when you found yourself on some beach in Thailand after some soul searching.

4. Be real.

Date conversations can feel like we have to stick to certain topics – “how about that traffic?!”, “I like your... sleeves", “if you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?” and the one we all focus on – “so what do you do for work?”.

We can find ourselves having conversations that are quite frankly boring. We can stay away from our passions because it can come across as full on, or the other person may not agree.

But the most attractive thing about you (well most people, mine’s my cracking head of hair...), is your heart. Talk about those things that are important to you, those that get you up in the morning, the stuff God is doing. That’s what is really attractive.

5. Take a risk.

It’s got to the end of the date, and you’re pretty sure you like this person.

How do you play it?

I’d suggest you affirm the other person, let them know you like them.

Yeah it takes some cajones, but by asking for that second date, or asking for a number, you’re letting them know where they stand, and allowing for the opposite.

You don’t get stuck in this game of waiting hours to text, when actually you just wanna see them again. Putting yourself out there is attractive, even if they don’t have a straight answer, it shows value.


And finally...

Remember that dating can be tough!

You're not alone in being terrified or apprehensive about it.

But if we approach it with the intention of blessing the other person and

we know that, whether is goes well or disastrously, our identity is safe in Christ, then we have everything we need to step out in courage and potentially have an amazing time and meet somebody great.

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