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The Very Best First-Date Moves


Dating coaches reveal their top tips to make a stellar first impression—and boost the odds you’ll both be raring for date #2.

By Julie Taylor

irst dates can feel as magical as a fairy tale, as torturous as a root canal — or anywhere in between — depending on the person you meet, where you meet, your outfit, your mood, and about a million other factors too numerous to mention. Advice on making a great first impression abounds, but what are the very best moves to deploy? To deliver that info to you, we’ve grilled the nation’s leading dating coaches for their top tips on making a first date great. Try a few, and wait for sparks to fly...

Memorize your lines
“Do you ever dream about taking a test you’re totally unprepared for? Scary, huh? That's how terrifying first dates can feel if you’re equally unprepared. Most of us think of dating
“Practice your best lines and anecdotes on friends, family, or in front of a mirror.”
as something that should be natural and easy, but we don’t factor in that some of the most seemingly ‘natural and easy’ acts are the ones that are rigorously prepared. Even spontaneous ad-libbing comedians and actors have spent years polishing their bits. So take a cue from Tinseltown: Practice your best lines and anecdotes on friends, family, or even in front of a mirror so that you can pull them out when you hit an awkward silence or just want to make an impression. Just knowing you have these lines at the ready will give you more confidence and assurance the whole evening.”
—Kathryn Lord, author of Find a Sweetheart Soon! Your Love Trip Planner for Women

Consider options other than dinner
“My best advice for a first date is to avoid the talk and chew. Stop wasting time over dinner conducting an interview. That’s boring—been there, done that. I prefer to have some fun on a first date and do something that’s interactive and childlike. Some first dates that I love include playing Frisbee in the park, followed by a walk around for some people-watching. You’re not just auditioning each other, you’re having fun. Other great dates include test-driving cars or going to open houses. This creates instant bonding and gives you something to talk about when you have the follow-up call. Works a lot better than, ‘Wow… I loved the way you chewed your steak!’”
—David Wygant, author of Always Talk to Strangers

Don’t ignore the awkward moments
“The best first-date move that a guy ever used on me was when, at the second we were about to kiss for the first time, he said, ‘On an awkwardness scale, how would you rate this moment?’ It totally broke the ice and warmed us up to each other. I call this a ‘conscious conversation,’ where you openly acknowledge any uncomfortable moments that crop up. First dates are always anxiety-provoking on both sides, but when you can talk about that elephant in the room, it breaks the tension.”
—Nancy Slotnick, author of Turn Your Cablight On: Get Your Dream Man in 6 Months or Less

Keep it short
“Make your first date no longer than 45 minutes, max. That’ll keep the investment relatively low for both of you, which is really important if one person isn’t feeling it. And, if you’re both attracted to each other, it’ll stoke anticipation for your next date, which is the one where you’ll really get to know each other. Stick to this rule no matter
“If you had a fantastic first date, call on the way home to say, ‘Thanks for the great time.’”
how much chemistry you feel with the person—I’ve broken this rule in many of my 300-plus dates in the last five years (‘She’s amazing... why not just suggest that we grab dinner?’), and I have always regretted it.”
—Ron Geraci, New York-based dating coach and author of The Bachelor Chronicles

Ditch the three-day rule
“If you had a fantastic first date, call on the way home to say, ‘Thanks for the great time’ rather than waiting a few days. Tell your date that you know that you’re breaking all the first-date rules, but you wanted to call anyway. This simple move shows you’re not into playing head games, which will wow a first date.”
—Liz H. Kelly, author of Smart Man Hunting

Reach out and touch someone
“On a first date, a little physical contact is a very good thing. So try ice-skating. You’ll have to hold hands because one of you probably doesn’t know how to skate. But even if you do, that ice gets mighty slippery! In the mood for warmer pursuits? Why not go to the park and swing? When you push each other and touch each other’s backs, it sparks chemistry. Or go to a county fair, where you can snuggle on the Ferris wheel or clutch each other on the roller coaster. This human contact creates instant, effortless connection that never feels forced.”
—Patti Feinstein, founder of America’s Dating Coach

Take the focus off me, myself, and I
“The best first date move for a guy is: Make sure she’s comfortable. That’s it. That’s all that matters. If she’s comfortable with you, she’s going to let down her guard and trust you, which means you’re both going to have fun. So how do you make her comfortable? Chivalry helps. Opening doors, asking questions, and paying the check are all ways of ensuring that she feels special. Taking care of those details shows you’re interested in her as a person (as opposed to a hunter after his prey) and this puts you way ahead of most men that she dates. Same advice for women: Think of him first. After all, it’s easy to focus on what you get out of the date; try considering what your date gets out of the date. Make him feel interesting. So smile, laugh, touch him on the arm—any positive reinforcement will do. Guys just want to know that they’re on the right track. If you ensure your date is having a good time on date one, you’ll generally be asked out for date two.”
—Evan Marc Katz, author of Why You’re Still Single: Things Your Friends Would Tell You If You Promised Not to Get Mad


Julie Taylor is a writer in Los Angeles who’s written for Redbook and other publications.

Want to find out what kind of person you’ll have great chemistry with? Take our free quiz and get a personalized profile at Chemistry.com.

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