Mastering the first date

Dates can be an exciting time to get to know your possible significant other, but the fear of rejection can sometimes be overwhelming.

Photo by Jessica Dik
Photo by Jessica Dik

First dates are no foreign concept to us, yet to this day, people still stress over how to leave their date with a strong first impression.

Dates can be an exciting time to get to know your possible significant other, but the fear of rejection can sometimes be overwhelming.

I, the explorer of love, will guide you through the journey to master the first date.

Making plans

Make sure to start off on the right note.

“If you want to ask a [person] on a date, specify it’s a date. Don’t use the words, ‘let’s hangout,’” said Cristina Almudevar, a Wilfrid Laurier University alumna.

No one likes confusion so it’s better to just avoid it altogether by being clear with your intentions.

Choosing the right place or activity could be imperative to the date’s success, as well.

“I think any sort of fun activity [is] just a more interesting date and you remember it,” said Adam Nicolaou, a fourth-year business administration student.

Take note because this guy knows what he’s doing. When you’re out of your comfort zone, you really get to show more personality.


You can gauge a date by conversation. A friend of mine told me about a first date incident where the most interesting thing the guy said was his mother used to be a stripper — you can see why this would be highly problematic.

Being boring isn’t going to allow a spark to form and sharing too much personal information certainly won’t either. People generally don’t need to know about your exes, fetishes or stripper moms. Such missed opportunities lead to dying alone, which isn’t the main goal here.

It’s always good to base the conversation around common interests. If they bring up something you really aren’t a fan of, don’t shoot it down. It’s good to be open to what they like and to understand why. Don’t correct a person either, just chill out and let it go.

It’s not a bad thing to share, but when you are really into the date you might ramble on excitedly.

“Don’t dominate the conversation. Don’t go on a date and just ramble on, it’s awful,” said Almudevar.

Avoid bragging. It’s going to be a turn off if you talk about turning down Harvard to go to University of Guelph because the people there were too snobby. Yes, that happened to me and it wasn’t pleasant.


The little things really do matter. Don’t be on your phone — your date deserves your full attention. Otherwise, why are you on the date? Regardless of gender or sexuality, it’s always good to hold the door open, pay for or split the bill or to just be a little generous.

Awkward situations

Being prepared to deal with an awkward mistake is something we don’t usually think about, but can be extremely useful. Awkward screw-ups do happen sometimes. That’s just life. So, what is the best way to correct your mistake?

“I guess he got nervous because he spilled his glass of water onto himself and me,” said fourth-year criminology major, Darlene Melo.

Melo felt that it’s not good to be too quick to throw someone out the window for screwing up.

Spilling the drink wasn’t the main problem because she understood, but since he was too nervous to make a comeback, it made the rest of the night awkward. Turning it into a joke or making a witty remark can help redeem yourself. That way it would turn into a funny memory rather than an awkward one.

In contrast, Nicolaou spoke about his date with a girl he met on Tinder. The initial plans were to go skating in uptown Waterloo and grab some dessert afterwards. The date took an unexpected turn right from the start when his date showed up with her index finder bent back out of place, as if broken. She had slipped on the ice and hurt herself, but kept her cool like a champ. They went to the hospital and killed time waiting by getting to know each other.

“We talked about everything from our favourite colour to favourite food,” Nicolaou explained.

Her finger ended up only being dislocated and the doctor popped it back into place. He assumed after that traumatic experience she would want to go home, but to his surprise she wanted to go back to skating and finish the date. He held her hand the entire time to protect her from falling and they made jokes all evening about the unexpected start to their date. They have gone on many dates since and things have blossomed into something more.

Not many dates that involve dislocated fingers and trips to the hospital would be deemed romantic. The ability to turn something awkward into a funny first date memory is a brilliant way to salvage a date gone wrong. If you’re willing to get to know the other person, things may just fall into place.

The ‘follow up’ text

Don’t do it right away. Wait a little so you both have time to reflect on the evening. You’ll usually be able to know when it’s the right time. It’s great to send one, especially asking them if they got home safe and telling them you had a great night.

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