First-date tips from an NYC Dating Coach

Some dating advice to help make sparks fly on your first meeting

 

Take it from a dating coach who’s been teaching for years: You have to get good at first dates.

 

Before I became a dating coach in NYC, I was trained by some wise mentors. I remember the dating advice that one gave me: “Your dating success will only be as good as your first dates.”

 

In other words, you may be a great guy with a LOT to offer, but if you can’t crack the code and know what goes into a great first date, it will be hard to attract amazing women.

 

With so many online dating options, it’s easier than ever to get a first date. But having a GREAT first date, well, that takes some thought and effort.  

 

Here are 10 tips my clients use to have amazing first dates with amazing women.

1: Pick the place. A woman doesn’t want to hear, “Where do YOU want to go?” She wants a man with a plan. Make sure you choose a spot with a cool vibe: Dark, good music, not too crowded but not empty. Some of my clients do reconnaissance, checking out a few different bars/restaurants that have just the vibe they seek.

2: Arrive 10-15 minutes early to get seats at the bar or to grab a good table. You don’t want to be stuck standing in a happy-hour throng. Arriving early offers a couple advantages besides punctuality. First, it lets you locate a good spot—say, that dark, quiet corner. Also, it gives you a chance to chat and socialize with the bartender and with people around you. You may be nervous on a first date, and that’s totally normal. If you strike up a friendly conversation with the people next to you, your anxiousness will dissipate, and you’ll be in a social mood when your date arrives. This will help her relax, too, because you’ll feel more confident and comfortable. So it’s win-win for both of you.

3: After she arrives, switch off your phone. Give her your full attention, rather than distractedly checking for texts. I’ve heard countless stories about guys on first dates checking their phones for updates or texts (“Sorry, hold on, I just have to text my boss one more time…”) Take it from a dating coach: If your phone is turned on, she’ll be turned off. 

4: Ask thought-provoking questions about her. All it takes is a little preparation and some curiosity. I’m a people person, so whether I’m on a date or getting to know a new friend, I love finding out what makes them tick. Neil Strauss, author of “The Game,” once gave me some good advice: To be interesting, be interested.

I’ll take it further. When you’re fascinated, you’re fascinating. I once had a client who talked WAY too much about himself. We worked on it, and on his next date, he spent most of the conversation asking the woman the right kinds of questions. At the end of the date she said, “You’re VERY interesting. I can’t wait to see you again.” And he barely talked about himself!

Every guy asks questions. You want to ask GOOD questions, such as: “What was the best day of your life?”, “If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?”, “What super power would you like to have?” Being inquisitive is an attractive quality, and it’s a great way to find out what you have in common. (“No way! I’m dying to go to Tokyo, too.”)

5: You don’t want to be a game-player—no lies, tricks, or sketchiness—but you do want to play games. Two classics are “Never Have I Ever” and “Truth or Dare.” Most women deal with the most boring small talk on first dates. Playing a game or two lets you get to know her while keeping the vibe playful and a fun first date typically leads to a second date.

As a dating coach in NYC, I’m lucky to have access to several improv theaters. If you live in a big city, I highly recommend taking classes because improv teaches you presence, listening skills, playfulness, and connection—traits that serve you not just on dates but in life, work and friendships. Bonus: When you take improv classes, you’ll learn lots of fun games that you can integrate into your dates.

6: Be vulnerable. This is a really important, and it’s something that every guy can do. Not every guy is gonna be witty, funny or charismatic on a given date, but you can always make the decision to be real and vulnerable. How? Well, what scares you? What was your nerdy nickname in high school? What’s the dumbest thing you did in college? These are the true, not always flattering details that make you YOU.

Don’t think of this as a “move”—think of it as a way to be radically authentic with women, to let your true self come out. Take me. In grade school, I was the fattest kid in my class, I had a red afro, and some embarrassing nickname (“Mack Truck”, “Ronald McDonald”). I’ll share these bits of my past on a date because it’s part of who I am. When you’re vulnerable with a woman, it gives her the green light to do the same—to be HER real self. Once on a date I talked about my chubby youth and painful nicknames. And she told me how her grade-school classmates called her “Ant Bites” because her body developed late. This helped us connect—I could imagine that little girl being teased, and she see that little boy I used to be. We also bonded about how far we’d come. I remember telling her, “Look at how sexy we are—Mack Truck and Ant Bites have come a long way.”

Show her your real self. Vulnerability is attractive, because women want to meet the real you. There are countless guys trying to be cool, macho, aloof—but YOU’RE the only one giving her the singular experience of YOU.

7: Grab the check, offering a polite but insistent, “I got this.” It’s gentlemanly. Picking up the check says “first date.” Going Dutch says “friend zone.” 

8: Want to see her again? Tell her—and tell her why. “I had a great time. You’re funny/cool/smart.” Whenever you compliment a woman, or anyone, make it genuine and specific. And the more specific it is, the more it means. She wants to know if you like her, and what you like about her. So let a girl know.  

9: You must remember this—a kiss is just a kiss. And it’s optional on a first date. No pressure. Yes, you’ll have to man up go for it sooner or later, but you don’t HAVE to kiss on the first date. Paradoxically, taking this pressure off yourself can make it easier to lay one on her because you’ll relax. When your date is winding down, simply give her a hug and a peck on the cheek. Now, if in that moment that cheek kiss lasts a second or two longer than you expected, and it becomes a passionate lip lock, all the better. But no pressure. She’s likely had plenty of guys awkwardly lurch at her when she wasn’t ready. Not you. You’re a gentleman. If the kiss is there, you’ll know. And if not, well, you’ve all but guaranteed date no. 2. And good things come to those who wait.