6 Ways to prepare for a good first date

May 31, 2024

Many women, when they first start dating, particularly if they’re online dating, they often say that it’s exhausting. They spend a lot of time and energy meeting up with men, only to find the date doesn’t go anywhere or it’s so boring they want to stick pins in their arms for a bit of diversion. Basically they’re not having a fun time.

At Dating Evolved my aim is to help you enjoy dating, have good experiences and meet good men.

If you feel you’re wasting time and energy and not enjoying your dates, then you’ll quickly become demotivated and be tempted to give up the whole enterprise – which would certainly be a shame.

So I’ve put together 6 ways you can prepare for a date, to increase the chances that it’ll be a good experience, one that you’ll want to repeat, and rave about to your friends…

1. Have a video date before a first IRL date

If you’ve messaged back and forth a few times and things feel promising, you’re ready for a video call with the guy. You can often do these calls on the dating platform you’re on, or you can just use WhatsApp or Zoom.

Having a video call is relatively easy and doesn’t take up the time, energy and potentially money that an in-real-life date does. It’ll allow you to get an idea of what this man is like, and whether he has any potential for you at all before committing yourself to meeting him in the flesh.


2. Make some time for this stuff

You’re probably a very busy woman. You’ve got work commitments, you’ve got friends, you’ve got classes to go to, and maybe family commitments too.

You don’t want a situation where you’re squeezing a date in after an exhausting day at work or squeezing him in between meetings – that’s not going to set you up to enjoy his company. Make sure you have some wriggle room in terms of time.

If you end up not having a date to take up that time you’ve allocated – use it to see friends instead so you’re taking care of your social network, which is itself a very important resource for those who are dating (well…for anyone actually!).


3. Only go on a proper date with things organised in advance

If you just go with the flow you’re not demanding much from him and you’re telling him he doesn’t have to make much effort. Have respect for your own time so he respects it too. Do you really want him to message you last-minute at 7pm asking if you want to meet up that evening? Don’t go for it, otherwise he knows he doesn’t have to try very hard.

But likewise be respectful of his time too. Try to avoid a lot of rescheduling of dates – that’s a bit of a passion killer and can be very de-motivating.

Also, remember you don’t need to stick to boring date ideas. Yes, if you want to just have a quick coffee first of all so you’re not investing too much right away, then fine. But you might have more fun, and find out more about him if you meet somewhere you can be more active, like walking around an artisan market, art gallery, aquarium, or maybe a class where you can learn to make a thing - whatever – pick something you’d like to do anyway. That way you can chat and get to know each other without having to focus constantly on the conversation, and you can see how he reacts to the things and people around him.

4. Dress in something you feel comfortable in

Yes of course you want to make a bit of effort with your appearance and feel confident that you look nice, but someone who’s relaxed and comfortable and confident is going to be more attractive than someone who’s dressed up and has obviously made a huge effort.

It’s a good idea to have a couple of go-to date outfits in your wardrobe to save you having the decision of what to wear each time you have a first date: Clothes and accessories you feel both comfortable in and confident that they flatter you, and importantly, feel like “you”.

5. Have realistic expectations and an open mind

You don’t have to go into every first date thinking, is he “the one” for me? – probably healthier to just think in terms of a potential friendship first of all, approach with curiosity. Take it easy, and definitely don’t let yourself start making relationship plans at this stage!

And try to go into the date with an open mind. Don't worry too much about which boxes he ticks in terms of career, education, and so on – the important thing is how he makes you feel and if he’s considerate of your needs.

6. Get into a positive dating mindset

Your expectations are SO important. If you think you’re going to have a boring time, that you’ll feel the guy is a no-hoper, then those predictions will probably come true. If on the other hand you go in with positive expectations, good energy, an intention to have fun and make a connection, then you’re much more likely to actually have that great experience.

Experimental research has shown that our expectations and intentions have a huge effect on outcomes in reality, and if we expect the worst it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because we’ve trained our mind to notice the negative things around us.

But if we have a positive mindset, we notice the good stuff, and we pick up on the opportunities out there. And it works with dating!

Why not challenge yourself to find out what really makes your date tick – pretty much everyone has some good qualities! Find out why he does and likes the things he does and you’ll make a real connection. Bring some positive energy into the situation and you’re much more likely to have a good time – and so is he – and you’ll both want to come back for more.


So how might you get yourself into a positive, energetic mood for a date?

Maybe a bit of pampering with lovely smells and potions, maybe a dance round the living room to your favourite band to get the endorphins going?

Do let us know in the comments!

~ Mairi Macleod PhD