How to Date

Four Parts:Setting Yourself up for SuccessPutting Yourself out ThereHaving a Successful First DateBuilding on the First Date and Beyond

It can be difficult to strike a good balance when dating. How do you appear interested without coming off as desperate or needy? How do you get to know someone without being nosy or rude? And how do you figure out how a person feels about you — or tell them how you feel about them — without either of you feeling uncomfortable? Dating is a tricky business, but here are some guidelines that'll keep you successful and in the mix!

Part 1
Setting Yourself up for Success

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    Define your expectations. Why are you dating? What are you looking for? Do you want a lifetime commitment, or do you want to live completely in the moment? Whether or not you're seeking a commitment can make a difference in how you approach dating.
    • If you're dating for fun and companionship, what matters most is how well you get along, right off the bat.
    • If you're seeking a partner, you should be more willing to overlook initial shyness and awkwardness so that you can get to know a person over more than one date. Compatibility and emotional exchange are important here.
    • Most of us are looking for a mixture of fun and commitment, but it's important to know where you stand so that you can figure out if your date is on the same page.
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    Decide how you want to date. In today's modern world, it's not enough to know that you want to date. You have to know how you want to date. Because there are several different ways of going about it, each with their pros and cons. Remember that you don't have to stick to any one style. In fact, trying more than one probably increases your likelihood of success:
    • Try Internet dating. Online dating is the wave of the future. You set up a profile, browse other profiles at your own convenience, and meet in person if you're both willing. Online dating is efficient and great for people who are a little shy (but not only for them). On the other hand, you'll get a lot of people who blatantly lie on their online profile and misrepresent themselves; sometimes online chemistry doesn't translate to actual chemistry.
    • Find a date at a bar or a club. Approaching someone out of the blue at a club or the bar is hard; you usually need to be pretty confident and comfortable with the opposite sex. But for a good number of people, it totally works. This method of "dating" is more informal and usually fling-focused, but it doesn't have to be.
    • Ask your friend to set you up. Your friends know you well. At least, that's the idea. So why can't they play setup artist? Asking your friends to set you up with someone is usually either a complete disaster or a total success. Why not try it?
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    Get yourself looking your best. Maybe you tell yourself that looks don't matter when it comes to love. This is true, but only for love, starting out does not count as love. While lasting affection and emotional exchange — the backbone of relationships — have nothing to do with looks or grooming, the initial attraction you feel for another person often does. So always make a good first impression as it goes a long way! Don't forget though, to be yourself, as people do not like superficial dressing, speech or actions. Be your own genuine self, and in the end if your date likes you, you want it to be because he/she likes your personality and appreciates you for you! Not because you happened to put on your makeup well or wore the most flattering outfit. How you take care of your looks says a lot about you.
    • Guys, check out how to look attractive. You'll want to know what hair to keep and which to style; how to get the clearest skin and when to shave; how to prep your breath for kissing, etc. Don't underestimate this step!
    • Ladies, check out how to look attractive (for women). Much like guys — but different, obviously — you'll want to know hair, skin, makeup, accessories, and clothing secrets that other women rely on.
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    Be outcome-independent. In dating, you're going to deal with rejection. In fact, if you're not getting rejected at some point, you're probably not putting yourself out there enough. If you're outcome-independent, meaning you don't care whether you're welcomed or rejected by a potential date, that rejection isn't going to sting. If rejection doesn't sting, you won't let it keep you from meeting new and interesting people, thereby increasing your chances of success.
    • Being outcome-independent is a lot easier in theory than in practice. You're going to need to learn how to develop a thick skin in order to really master this. It's worth it though: Too many people let the fear of rejection keep them from getting very far in dating.

Part 2
Putting Yourself out There

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    Put yourself out there. You don't have to hit the bars or the clubs to meet new people, although you can, if that's something you enjoy doing anyway. Pursue interests and activities that mean a lot to you. If you're somewhere where you naturally have fun and you see someone who looks interesting, there's a good chance that you'll immediately have something in common with them. Connection detected!
    • The internet has made this a whole lot easier. Check forums, listings, classifieds, and Internet mailing lists (known as "listservs") for local events or meetings that are likely to attract people with similar interests or passions.
    • When you're there, be bold. If approaching someone you're interested in isn't really your style, you can still be bold by making yourself look approachable and inviting. Make eye contact, smile, raise your eyebrows — make a connection from across the room.
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    Learn the art of small talk. A lot of people who swear they hate dating probably only hate small talk. And that's okay, because small talk is extremely hard. You usually know nothing about the person, so you have to search for common ground. Luckily, this is only the beginning of your conversation. Start with small, and once you find some common ground, you can start talking bigger and deeper. Remember, you are your own person. You don't have to pretend you love a certain flavour of ice-cream or that you know everything about a movie you'd never heard of just to impress your date. It's completely okay to disagree and express your own views, as long as you're not being offensive. Here are a few tips that should get you going:
    • Ask questions. Ask open-ended questions about the other person so that they elaborate. Something like "So what got you interested in rock-climbing?" is a lot better than "Are you interested in rock-climbing?"
    • Talk about your immediate surroundings. No, this doesn't mean the weather. This means what you both happen to be doing. If you happen to meet someone playing beach volleyball, you can say something like: "Wow, you're really good. I'll know where to come in the future if I want my butt kicked. Do you play here often?"
    • Relate to what the other person said. If the other person mentions a physics teacher that they really like and you can relate, don't be afraid to share: "Yeah, I totally had one of those teachers myself. There's nothing like setting fires and blowing stuff up in class."
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    Don't be afraid to poke fun of yourself. You're nervous. Suddenly, you trip over your words and say something you think is utterly stupid. What do you do? Instead of acting serious and getting embarrassed, try cracking a smile and making a joke at your own expense. There's no harm! In fact, some people think it's cute if their date is a little nervous. They'll laugh with you and this will break the ice between both of you. It will even get you to loosen up and stop being nervous.
    • Make a joke at your own expense! "Wow, I guess I get really tongue-tied in front of a beautiful girl! Good to know!" This puts both of you at ease and tells the other person that you don't take yourself too seriously. Being playful, in fact, is the most important quality in dating, a study has found.[1]
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    Be selective. Don't just date anyone who shows an inkling of interest in you. Despite what everyone says about not judging a book by its cover, people who are more discriminating tend to be seen as more desirable, probably because having standards shows that you value yourself and aren't going for a date with whoever crosses your path.[2]
    • At the same time, you don't want to be too selective — if you keep holding out for the perfect person, you're guaranteed to miss out. If you're in a room full of people with similar interests, you should be able to pick out one or two people who you'd like to date — not 10, not 0. Make it a point to not leave the event without showing interest and making a connection with a few people. Trading phone numbers and meeting in person is often a sign that a person desires an actual relationship.
    • If someone asks you on a date and you're not interested, avoid making excuses like "I'm busy" or "I'm not ready to date right now." They'll eventually see that you're only too busy for them, and they're the only one you're not ready to date. This can be more hurtful and insulting than just saying "no". Handle it gracefully. Smile and say "No thanks, but I appreciate the offer" and change the subject to ease any discomfort.
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    Ask for a date. If you think your first few minutes of interaction have gone well, go out there and say it. It's going to be hard, but you can do it. Don't beat around the bush. As difficult as it may be, the other person appreciates the honesty. You can always say something like:
    • Sincere: "Hey, you seem like a really interesting person. Would you maybe want to grab a drink later on in the week?"
    • Romantic: "I gotta say, when I saw you from across the room, my eyes lit up. And when we started talking, they lit up even more. Would you want to meet up later for a drink?"

Part 3
Having a Successful First Date

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    Make a good first impression. You want this person to enjoy the date, but you also want them to enjoy you as an individual. Be considerate and charming without looking or acting like someone you're definitely not. Let them discover who you are while trying to maintain a little bit of mystery.
    • Have good manners. Turn off your phone. The only reason you should be checking or answering your phone is if you're a doctor. Learn your table manners if you're eating food.
    • Concentrate on your date; don't check out anyone else, no matter how slick you think you might be about it. Don't act uninterested or frown. Gazing off into space while your date is eating or talking isn't good either, and makes it look like you want to get out as soon as possible.
    • Don't talk about past relationships. This is a no-no and a sure turn-off. You will only project the impression that you are unable to let go. If your partner asks about your last relationship, just tell them that you realized the two of you weren't as compatible as you initially thought, so you have moved on to look for someone with whom to discover greater mutual happiness. Keep it brief and don't ask about their ex.
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    Choose a date with some excitement in it. Whether it's a rollercoaster ride or a monster truck show, a little excitement does a lot for a first date. Not only is there a distraction that you both can use if the conversation sputters out (which is natural), but there's also chemistry at work. When you engage in an exciting activity with a date, your brain releases dopamine and norepinephrine, which are hormones associated with pleasure, trust, and affection.[3] If you can induce a little bit of dopamine and norepinephrine in your date, your chances at success become better.
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    Be interested and interesting. Don't exaggerate or boast about your credentials, successes, etc. Just tell them what you really enjoy in life, what gets you excited and what you want to leap out of bed to pursue. Ask them what they really love in life and what gets them excited. Feel the change in energy during this conversation and revel in it.
    • Don't forget to add a spark of humor to your conversations. Humor can create a stronger bond of friendship between you two. It is also great to crack romantic jokes, as it brings up the possibility of what might happen between the two of you.
    • Be positive. If you have had a bad day, still greet them with pleasure and a big smile. Don't show up for your date complaining about the traffic, your boss, or your job. If you must whine, whine a little during dinner and end that very short whine with a "glad I'm here with you now!" remark.
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    Don't make the first date too long. Sometimes, when a date is going really well, your impulse is to keep it going at whatever cost. This is often the wrong approach. End a date after one or two hours, however well it's going. There are several reasons for this:
    • End on a high note. It's not how you start, it's how you finish. If you stay with someone for 6 hours straight, the end is probably not going to be as exciting as the beginning. Then you leave that memory to linger until you next see the person, which isn't a great feeling.
    • Don't move at warp-speed from the get-go. It takes time to get to know someone. Don't pretend that it doesn't. Setting a limit of one or two hours for your date gives the other person some space, doesn't crowd them from the beginning. One or two hours is plenty time to decide whether you like the person.
    • Give yourself plenty of things to talk about. Running out of things to say to one another on the first date can be disastrous. Running out of things to say to one another after the third or fourth date doesn't need to be. Taking shorter dates helps prevent initial burnout.

Part 4
Building on the First Date and Beyond

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    Avoid being smothering or obsessive. Never call, e-mail or text message more than once a day unless they reply. Continue with other activities and let them know you've got a life beyond dating. At the same time, don't get carried away with the "hard to get" act — the idea is to overcome any feeling that you "need" to call them, or you "need" to see them again, or you "need" this to work out. The difference between "needing" and "wanting" is patience.
    • Don't plan another date too quickly. Your partner (and you) need time to assess your feelings about the date and prepare to accept another one. Within a short time after (1-7 days) call your partner and express your feelings about where to go next in the relationship (like one date at a time, or more dating, or less, or more casual, or more formal, or to cut it off, become friends, or what have you...).
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    Be honest. If you are not ready to be in a committed relationship, let them know straight away so that you do not give them false hope. If you're just not interested in a relationship with them anymore, tell them so. Don't lead them on. Explain that you just don't see it going anywhere. Don't say that you want to be friends unless you actually want to be friends and spend time with this person on a regular basis. If you are interested in seeing this person more often, honesty is still a critical ingredient to a healthy relationship!
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    Show an emotional maturity. However old you are, punch above your weight. If you just want a casual hookup out of dating, be mature enough to say so from the beginning. Most likely, however, you want something a little more. Show whomever you've started dating that you care about things like honesty, communication, and respect. These things go a long way in attracting the other person to you.
    • Part of an emotional maturity is being patient about sex. If you're only looking for sex with your partner, then you should find an acceptable way of saying so. Otherwise, don't pressure the other person with sex. Wait for it to happen naturally. You may have to wait several dates for it to even be a possibility.
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    Don't try too hard and allow spontaneity. Learn to relax and be original. If this relationship goes somewhere, leading to something deeper and more serious, your originality will hold great memories for the other half. We all appreciate the simple sweet gestures, or memories which are likely to bring warmth or a smile to our faces.
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    Know what's reasonable. There are a lot of unwritten rules in dating. Knowing what they are and why they're there will help you avoid some embarrassing situations. In no particular order, and not comprehensive:
    • A kiss is okay on the first date, especially if the date went really well, but it might help to ask. ("Can I kiss you" is simple and effective.) If you don't kiss the other person by the third date, they may start to ask questions about you. ("Do they like me?" "What's their deal?" etc.)
    • A man shouldn't feel obligated to pay for everything. A man may offer, like a gentleman would, to pay for drinks or tickets to a movie. (It's recommended.) But going Dutch on a semi-expensive dinner is totally acceptable. (Ladies, don't assume he's always going to pay.)
    • Don't expect sex on any of the first three dates. Of course, if it's there, and it's natural, go for it. But don't expect it, or you will probably be sorely disappointed.
    • Don't be afraid to communicate affection. Saying something like "I really like you; you're a great person" can mean a lot to your date. Saying the other "L"-word — "I love you" — is probably not recommended during the first month or so of courtship, even if that's the way you feel. Firstly, this is because your feelings might change, no matter how strongly you feel about the person. And the worst thing you could do is to lead the other person with false hope and suddenly reject him/her. Also, you might intimidate the person, which is not something you want to do for sure. Lastly, don't say it flippantly, when you don't really mean it exactly. Don't throw around this word, as it is quite a strong one. It might turn a person off if you say like that.


  • Avoid disclosing personal information such as your finances, or specific details about where you live until you feel comfortable.
  • Although being a gentleman is good, do not overdo it. It will likely creep out your date.
  • Think about what makes someone come home from a first date and tell their friends, "Wow, my date was awesome! I had such a great time getting to know this person and can’t wait to see them again." Things that make a date truly memorable are often found in the mental more than the physical connections.
  • Try phrasing the 'date' in a different context so that it reduces the expectations from the encounter. "Do you want to go and hang out at '_______ bar' and have a drink." If it is not going well you have saved yourself a meal and two more hours with someone who isn't compatible, and if it is going well you can move on to dinner.
  • Although this is not always possible, try to become friends with the person in group situations before moving into one-on-one dating. This will help eliminate a lot of the awkwardness associated with first dates and give you a better sense of compatibility without any real commitment.
  • Don't go on about your ex's and your past relationships - no date likes to think of the idea that you still haven't gotten over your first 'true' love and that they will be second best.
  • When you've decided on where you're going on a date, its important to let a close friend or family member know where you've gone on your date. This is for your own safety. Additionally make sure you stick to the plans you've made and told your close friend!
  • For any face to face meetings, always remember the '1,2,3'. 1: XYZ - Examine Your Zip, make sure it's not down! 2: Teeth! Make sure you've brushed them for optimal fresh breath and that there aren't any bits of dinner hanging around and 3. Condomise, make sure you've got a johnny on you, because who knows when the situation may arise, and not having a condom can completely kill it.
  • If your friend tell you to kiss him you don't have to if you don't want to.
  • Male relatives and friends can be a great source for dating tips. Often times, their tips will involve chivalry, e.g., being a gentleman.
  • Wear fancy, but comfortable clothes.

To prevent stress, just be yourself. Do romantic things like the spaghetti kiss, the kiss mark-on-cheek kiss, of even the foreheads together thing.

  • Do not try to be anyone but yourself, don't wear extra makeup, if this guy likes you he has to like you for you. Not you covered under all that makeup.
  • Don't chew with your mouth open and be polite.
  • Be yourself don't try to impress her/him just let it happen.
  • You should never kiss a boy/girl who already has a boyfriend/girlfriend.


  • Know when it's time to be serious with your partner and when to be humorous. No one likes her date to be joking around in a serious atmosphere.
  • Be safe, and be careful; if you're uncomfortable with your partner, politely end the date without feigning excuses. Being firm, polite, and honest in an uncomfortable situation is usually the best way to end a date gone awry.

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