Use these first date ideas to do a first date well

In the first instalment in this is series, I described how I helped my client develop her plan for meeting Mr. Right. In the second instalment, I offered advice on how you might handle a first meeting—I used the example of  a chance encounter in a book store. Here I share thoughts on the first actual date.

What to do? First dates shouldn’t demand hours or talking. So coffee, a drink, a walk, dancing, or a movie, yes. Dinner or a baseball game, with tons of time between the action, no.

Pick up or meet?  Safest is for the person who asked for the date to give the other person the choice: “Would you like me to pick you up or should we meet at (insert the location?)”

Digging Deeper.  In the previous instalment, I described the getting-to-know-you part of the conversation as the slow dig: Slowly dig a little deeper: reveal a little more, ask something a little more intimate. I offered an example of how that might start. Here is how that might continue:

You: I can relate to being an active boy. Is he your only child?

S/he: Yes…

He waits to see if she’ll say more.

S/he: One’s enough for now.

You: For now?

S/he: Well, who knows…

You: You’d have nine more?

S/he smiles.

S/he: Do you have kids?

You: No but I’ve often wondered if I’d want to raise a child in this world.

She: I think the world is a pretty good place. No?

You: Yes but all the terrorism and I see ever more people having trouble finding a decent job…

S/he: Isn’t it a glass half-empty/half-full issue?

You: I guess. (He feels he needs to change the topic and lighten a bit.)  So I’m guessing you see your own glass as more than half full?

This sort of conversation may be heavier than the usual but more quickly gets the couple to know each other and to decide if they should continue the relationship. So many people stay superficial for multiple dates, resulting in their staying with the wrong people for too long.


Of course, the best-laid plans can go awry if sparks burst into flames but it’s usually wise to decide in advance that—unless you’re just looking for sport sex—you’ll restrain intimacy for a few dates, especially if, for you, having sex establishes a hard-to-break bond.

The goodbye

If you’d like to see the person again, make a date right then or at least specify when you’ll be back in touch. It’s rude to leave a person hanging.

If you want to end the relationship, of course, there’s no reason to hurt the person’s feelings. But if you feel generous, instead of the typical unhelpful, “I don’t think we’re quite right for each other,” offer a bit of tactful feedback by adding, for example, “You’re a little serious for me. I’m more about being light and having fun.”

What’s next?

I have previously written an article on a later step: deciding whether to marry or break up. In tomorrow’s article, I make the case for being a recluse.

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Named the San Francisco Bay Area's "Best Career Coach," Marty Nemko has been career and personal coach to 4,500 clients and enjoys a 96% client-satisfaction rate. The author of seven books (250,000 copies sold) including How to Do Life: What They Didn’t Teach You in School plus over 2,000(!) published articles, including on where he also writes, Marty Nemko is in his 26th year as host of Work with Marty Nemko on KALW-FM (NPR-San Francisco.) He was the one man in a one-man PBS-TV Pledge Drive Special. Marty Nemko holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and subsequently taught there. He is married to Barbara Nemko, the Napa County Superintendent of Schools. They have one daughter and one doggie: Einstein, whose name is false advertising: He's dumb as dirt but sweet as they come. The archive of Marty Nemko's writings and radio show plus an active blog and Twitter stream are at