6 Things You Should Never Do on a First Date (and 5 You Should)

The guy who bounced on the bill, the guy who flirted with the waitress, the perfect guy who you later found out has major mommy issues: Yep, dating can be daunting. Especially first dates. So we asked matchmaker and founder of LastFirst Emily Holmes Hahn to dish on her favorite tips for first dates. Here’s her advice on what you definitely should and shouldn’t do. 


Don’t: Show up stressed 
You may have had a rough day (aka your boss asked you to do 5 million things right as you were leaving), but negative energy is the last thing you need when you’re giving off a first impression. Push it aside for now, and vent allll you want about your annoying boss to your BFF later.

Don’t: Arrive more than 10 minutes late  
Keep it to a fashionable five minutes and under. Otherwise, you might spark some panic in your date (Is she coming? Did she see me and take off?), which might set the mood for the rest of the date.

Don’t: Make too many self-deprecating statements 
When things feel awkward, it’s easy to fall into a hole of making fun of yourself. Err on the side of being more confident than being the butt of your own blonde joke. (Weren’t you valedictorian, anyways?)


couple with drinks on first date

Don’t: Talk about dating disasters
It’s just…kind of a buzzkill. Share all the hilarious stories you want with your work buds but not with him. Things might start hitting too close to home and wind up making him feel self-conscious.

Don’t: Drink too much
If you know your high-functioning buzz devolves into sloppy drunk at three glasses of wine, then go slow. Waking up and remembering you told your date about your DivaCup never feels great. 

Don’t: Avoid all contact if it didn’t go well
So he took a call from his mother—twice—during appetizers. While ghosting seems like an appealing option, you never know when you’ll run into him again. Even if it feels like overkill, send an honest text the morning after a date. He’ll appreciate your maturity, and if he doesn't, at least you can feel good about the way you left things. 

first date rules couple laughing

Do: Call a date a date
It’s totally OK to be forthcoming about what your meet-up—er, date—is. Calling a spade a spade will set the tone (hopefully in the right direction).

Do: Dress comfortably
Sure, your brand-new heels just scream sexy, but you’ll probably end up with painful blisters by the end of the night (why did he have to take you on a romantic stroll?). So wear something you’re comfortable in and that makes you feel gorgeous.

Do: Indulge a little
If this date is going well, don’t pass up dessert or a nightcap. Hey, a good first date should be considered a special occasion, so skip your juice cleanse for the night and live a little.

couple on coffee date

Do: Follow the 1:2 rule
Make sure you're both getting equal talk time by loosely following LastFirst's “1:2 rule.” For every one stories you share about yourself, ask two thoughtful questions you’re truly interested in.

Do: Give a unique compliment 
Let him know you’re feeling the date by offering something that actually requires observation, like commenting on his freckles or the sound of his voice. Yeah, it sounds super cheesy and might feel strange, but it shows you’re into him.


Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...