I’m not here to tell you to take a shower before a first date and make polite small talk. Here are a few things often overlooked—but they make a big difference!

Try not to pepper us with questions

Women like it when men ask them questions but it doesn’t necessarily work the other way around. I get it if you’re nervous—trust me. Nobody wants an awkward silence on the first date. My best advice is to calm down, find a topic that you’re both interested in and then have a great conversation! Talk about what you think and he should follow suit (without you having to ask what he thinks about something every time.) Bonus tip: avoid the true terrors of first dates: dumb questions! “Have you ever traveled,” “What hobbies do you like?” and the truly ugly “What’s your favorite (enter food, color, etc. here)?”

Spice it up—ditch the restaurant!

Restaurants are go-to first date spots because they’re more or less neutral territory. But it may be a good idea to hit up something a little more ‘off-the-beaten-path’ like a hookah bar or a bookstore. Heading to Barns & Noble for a coffee and some book browsing is way better than sitting around waiting for your dinner—especially if you need to duck out early because your date has zero personality.

Keep some of the most interesting bits about you out of the conversation

This might feel like you’re not putting your best foot forward, but it’s an extremely good tip for two reasons. First, we all want to impress our dates and to do that we tell them about the cool places we’ve been and the interesting things we’ve done. But if we start blabbering on about it without any context surrounding it, it’s going to come off conceited, like you’re saying it just to say it. If you’re dying to tell him you snowboard, don’t blurt it out while discussing his family. And if the subject never comes up at all—keep it under wraps until the next date! Secondly, if you tell him all the coolest parts about you on the first date, it makes you a bit less interesting the next time you go on a date with him. If you speak Spanish and bring it up on date 4 or even later, that drives the point home: “wow, what else does she do that I don’t know about?”

Never call him after

It was sound advice decades ago and it remains the same today. Ladies, wait for him to call you after your first date. He’s going to find you more exciting if you don’t call him and if he doesn’t call, who cares? You’re not going to woo him on the second date if you didn’t knock it out of the park on the first. Wait for the call—it will keep the suspense going and make him that much more interested (as long as he was interested to begin with.)

Plan some conversation topics ahead

You don’t want to wind up talking about something you can’t stand. The best way to avoid this is to make sure you have some control over where the conversation is going. If you want to talk about skiing, make up something, like, “Yeah, I’m loving this weather, I’m such a snow rat.” From there you’re an inch away from a skiing conversation. Either he’ll bring it up with his response or you can shortly after. This ensures conversations are natural and flowing—and more importantly, on your terms. First dates are full of anxiety and nervousness. By following some of these tips, hopefully you can be more at ease and have a great time! Remember, we’re nervous too!

What kinds of first date disasters or successes have you had?

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