Seventy Thirty’s Exclusive Matchmakers speak to thousands of people about dating.  After kissing a few frogs, one gets tired of doing the same thing, telling the same story and ultimately, not finding the right match.  Obviously, there is a bit of pressure on the first date, from planning your date to spending time with someone you don’t know can all be quite daunting.  So, here are some pointers to help you plan that first meeting…

Plan a few ‘stages’ to allow your date to build momentum

‘The Starter’ - The first stage should be a brief, relaxed introduction where you are able to get to know each other a little better and speak about why you suggested the idea of what you have planned.  

‘The Main Course’ - The second stage is where the two of you have the time, space and atmosphere to engage with each other.  Ensure you make a lot of eye contact, that your body language is open and that you are close enough, without being too intrusive.  

‘The Dessert’ - The last stage allows you wind down and check in with each other. Connect, be a little tactile (touching appropriately) to show that you have had a great time and that you are interested in seeing each other again.

Although these Stages are not set rules for first date success, they provide a fulfilling base for building something special.  They allow a change of atmosphere and pace; making you comfortable enough to see the most real side to each other.  

These Stages also provide a safety net, if you realise that your date is not enjoying what you have planned, it gives you time to move on to something else more appropriate.  Alternatively, if you are both really enjoying where you are and your time together, you may want to stay longer.  Either way, the pace is dependent on you: slow it down, speed it up or progress to the next stage. Ultimately, you want to have planned well enough that you are able to enjoy yourself without having to worry about anything else…Often the best dates are those which you look around and realise you both are the last two in the venue, lost in time and conversation.

Choose your location wisely: Thought and creativity will be appreciated

Adventurous activities can be great if you choose the right thing and if your date is prepared for a little action.  You may want to show how daring you are with a sky dive or impress them with an obscure intellectual theatre production but always remember - you do not know if they will appreciate it yet.  So, if you do want a second date - take it slow and take time to explore what they enjoy doing as putting someone at ease brings out the best in them.

A more relaxed activity like wine tasting, for example, can work well, allowing conversation to progress naturally, taking away the across-the-table interview intensity.   Avoid places where you would have to sit in silence without getting to know each other but equally avoid very loud noisy bars where you will not be able to hear each other - balance is key. If a place is too quiet, those awkward silences, which we all experience (and look back at with a smile), can seem very loud. It is best to choose a location with a little ‘buzz’, this way; you will not feel the impact of these natural little silences, you will not be overheard by ear wagers and, if need be, the location serves as a conversation starter. A good environment is contagious and this will provide a lasting impression.

Think about the practicalities…

Make sure that your date is prepared for what you have planned.  Allow them a few days in advance to ensure they are able to plan their own outfit - no use in her wearing heels if you are planning to take her horse riding! A few extra days also gives them something to look forward to and get excited about.

If you plan to change locations last minute due to practical reasons, ensure that venues are not too far away and that you know how to get there. Perhaps offer to pick your date up so you can arrive in style together.

Another necessity is finding out whether your date drinks alcohol, whether they have any food requirements or if they are allergic to anything. The last thing you want is someone feeling awkward or expecting to have dinner when that’s not what you have planned leaving them starving - some of us get hangry, and that’s not great for a first date. This will also make you look thoughtful and mindful, which is very attractive.  

A simple and obvious measure: check the weather, check the transport. Be well informed about where you are going and ideally also check the place out first to make sure it is date worthy.

We’re not suggesting that you go overboard, because there is a fine balance between impressing someone and putting them off because you are trying too hard.  Often simplicity is the best policy for a first date, your plans are a vehicle for the two of you to get to know each other.  

After all this planning, I know you are tired and you have high expectations, so relax, be in the here and now, be yourself and just enjoy each other’s company.

If you would like to read more from our Exclusive Matchmakers on successful dating, please read: