Business of Life

Ideas, Information & Inspiration

How To Make A Great First Impression On A First Date

What You’ll Learn
  • Why First Dates are Important
  • Tips For a Good First Date
by Marcus Life Learning Team

Your grandparents probably have a super cute story about how they met. Maybe they were high-school sweethearts who fell in love in their homeroom class. Perhaps he confidently strode across the street to tell her how beautiful she was. Nowadays, you can use your iPhone to find thousands of people on dating apps, so those cute first-meet stories are getting rarer. Luckily, it doesn’t matter how you meet someone; first-date rituals remain the same. Our first date tips will help you whether your date turns into a romantic fairytale as your grandparents had or if it fizzles out.

couple enjoying outdoors on first date

First Date? Can’t We Skip That Step?

The sole purpose of going on a first date is to find out if you’re compatible enough with someone to see more of them. If you’re falling in love on the first date, you’re doing something wrong. Also, YIKES! Our first date tips will help you get ready for your date, give you some non-creepy advice on body language, and suggest a few conversations to have. Remember, a first date is more of a meet-and-greet than a love connection.

You’ve heard the saying “first impressions matter.” Well, that’s 100% true for dating. You only get one shot to make a case for yourself. Following our first date tips will allow you to relax and present the best version of yourself, hopefully helping you score a second date.

male getting prepared for first date

6 Successful Dating Tips To Keep Top Of Mind

1) Prep yourself. You need to do a few things right before you walk out the door to meet your date. They’re easy, and they make a big impact.

  • Clothes make the man (or person, really). Don’t put on your favorite fancy dress or dapper tuxedo for a first date. You’ll look like you’re trying too hard, and that’s never appealing. A nice, neutral outfit that is clean and simple won’t distract your date from noticing what an interesting person you are.

Depending on where you’re going – for guys, dark jeans and a casual blazer are safe choices. For ladies, a cute and comfortable outfit accentuated with some cool, unique jewelry sets the tone nicely for the date.

person spraying perfume for first date

Don’t compromise who you are on the first date. If you never wear suits in daily life, don’t show up looking like a politician.

  • Take your grooming routine to the next level. Get a haircut a few days before your date. It always looks better after a few days, right? If you use perfume or cologne, use a memorable one, but don’t bathe in it. You don’t want your date’s lasting impression of you to be that they could smell you before you walked in the door. Don’t skip showering or shaving before your first date. That’s just common courtesy.
  • Relax. We have some first date tips below that will help you strike up a fun conversation. Review them and think about your answers. Once you have them, kick your feet up and take a moment to calm down. Maybe you could call your best friend to catch up. You could read a chapter or two in a book. Do whatever you do to relax. High anxiety leads to bad first impressions.
couple enjoying first date in coffee shop

2) Where are you going? If it’s up to you to decide your first date’s location, some options are better than others. Here are some popular places to take your date.

  • Coffee shops. A coffee shop is an inexpensive place to get to know someone. You can also learn a lot about a person by the drink they order. Someone who drinks black coffee may be very different from someone who prefers a caramel macchiato with extra whip. Plus, coffee shops are usually casual places with calming background noise and few distractions.

When it’s just two people, two cups of Joe, and a small table, the only option is to talk to one another.

first date in billiards room
  • Pubs. If you’re of legal drinking age, a trip to the pub to get to know someone over a pint seems like a good idea. Pubs usually serve casual, inexpensive food. They’re typically low-key, and you can play darts or a pool game if you hit it off. Keep in mind that although alcohol is a social lubricator, it can also lead to making bad decisions. If you go to a bar or a pub for a first date, limit your drinking to make sure you’re on top of your game.


  • Movie theaters. Don’t. Just don’t do it. That may seem harsh for an article on first date tips, but here’s why a trip to the cinema is a terrible idea.

First, your goal should be to get to know your date. You can’t talk in theaters. If you do, you don’t deserve a date! Second, you’re in a dark room for 90 minutes. That might seem romantic, and visions of holding hands with your new “friend” may pop into your head, but you don’t know this person yet. Keep your hands to yourself until the second or third date. Finally, you might think that you’ll be able to have a great discussion about the movie afterward, but that will only limit the scope of your conversation. It won’t allow you to learn more about them other than their opinions on movies.

couple dining out for first date

3) Ready to get engaged? No, not that kind of engagement. You wouldn’t need this article if you were about to get married. We’re talking about engaging in enjoyable, meaningful conversations. Luck is when preparation meets opportunity, and you’ve already prepared by doubling down on your grooming habits, picking the perfect venue, and choosing a killer outfit. Now you have the opportunity to engage your date with conversation. Here are our first date tips on how to be engaging.

  • Make eye contact. There are a few reasons for this. First, it shows that you are interested in what they are saying. Second, the part of your brain that triggers empathy is unlocked by eye contact.
  • Talk about yourself, but not too much. Your date is interested in you, so entice them with your background. Share a funny story or two, but keep anything NC-17 rated for a later date. Here’s the important thing–don’t ramble on. Share stories, and then ask your date a related question. Wait for them to fully answer, then ask them a follow-up or two. You don’t want them to go home thinking that they know everything about you. You want them to remain curious and wanting to learn more.
couple following first date tip to be engaged
  • Talk about them, but not too much. Your date will surely be impressed by your incredible storytelling abilities. Still, they’ll be more impressed by seeing that you are curious about them and their accomplishments. If you’re looking for a starter, ask about their school or career aspirations. Then, ask what inspired them to follow that path. Keep evolving your questioning, sharing when it feels right. Also, listen for second date opportunities. If they mention a hobby that sounds interesting, ask them to show you how to do it.
  • Be complimentary, but keep it PC. Stick with comments that are respectful and flattering. Things like, “You have a beautiful smile” will indicate your interest without making your date uncomfortable. It’s easy to give off a creepy vibe if you aren’t careful.
graphic sharing first date tips to stay engaged
graphic sharing first date tips to stay engaged

4) Let your body do the talking. On a first date, sometimes body language says more than either person. Here are some first date tips about body language to give you a leg up on the dating scene.

  • Keep your body relaxed. Very few people want to date Frankenstein’s monster. Remember to sit back and relax your shoulders. Don’t fidget your hands. Remember to smile and nod along to the conversation.
smiling couple enjoying their first date
  • Keep your hands to yourself. You obviously like your date, but you shouldn’t be getting handsy the first time you meet them. If there’s even the slightest chance that your date won’t be into it, don’t initiate any sort of romantic contact that will make them uncomfortable.


  • Let them see your face. When humans want to go somewhere, they point their shoulders and toes in that direction. Keeping your body facing theirs is a good way to show that you’re engaged and interested in them. Keep an eye out for their body language, too. If their body language lets you know that they aren’t into the date, maybe it’s time to cut your losses.

5) Plan your second date. If your coffee meet up is going well, ask your date out again. Second dates are more relaxed than first dates, and they’re an opportunity to let your personality shine.  Here are our first date tips on how to get another date.

couple enjoying first date outdoors
  • Have a specific time and location planned. When you give your date a particular plan on how you’d like to see them again, it gives them an activity to accept. It’s a confident move that shows that you can take a risk and aren’t afraid of face-to-face rejection. If they shared interests or hobbies with you, ask them for a lesson. Or, plan an activity that you both will find interesting.


  • Ask during the first date. Show that you are interested in seeing them again. It’s a compliment. It’s refreshing nowadays because of how many people try to play it cool by not showing emotions.

If you forget or can’t work up the nerve to ask them out again that quickly, give them a call that evening.

couple dining out on first date restaurant

Finally, if you absolutely have to, you can text them, but that doesn’t make people feel special, so only do it as your last resort.


  • Don’t be clingy. It’s fine to be available for a quick chat or text between your first and second date, but you don’t want to suffocate your new partner. If your first date went well and your second one is planned, then you don’t need to remind them that you exist. They’ll see you soon, and you’ll have plenty to talk about then.
graphic on getting another date after your first date
graphic on getting another date after your first date

6) Now that you’re relaxed, reflect. Ask yourself these questions after your first date. You’re probably giddy from your successful date. You just had a lot of adrenaline rushing through you. That’s why the night after a first date is the perfect time to examine how you present yourself to others.

Ask yourself the following questions to find out what you’re looking for, where you can improve, and whether or not this person is a good fit.

  1. Was the conversation any good? Did they have to do all of the hard work?
  2. What did they do to make you smile?
  3. Which jokes or funny observations made them laugh?
  4. Did you show them empathy?
  5. Was there chemistry? Could you have helped to build more?
graphic on successful first date tips
graphic on successful first date tips

You’ve Got This

Even the most confident, fun-loving people get nervous on first dates. It’s how you decide who your next partner will be, and that’s a lot of pressure. For people who don’t have sky-high confidence in themselves, a fun laid-back conversation where you get to know someone new can seem like an impossible task. Luckily, once you’ve asked someone for a date, the hardest part is over. You’ve expressed interest in a person, and they reciprocated. That’s a great feeling. Now all you have to do is follow our first date tips, and you’ll be ready for a great afternoon with a magnificent person. If they don’t pan out, then you’ll be even more prepared for next time.

  1. What are some things you currently do on first dates that work?
  2. What tips from above do you think will benefit your next first date?
Photo of Marcus Lemonis