Friday, November 4, 2011

Dating in Utah: From First Date to Beyond: How to Turn First Dates into Third and Fourth Dates

I'm pretty sure that everyone knows what it feels like to be on a first date. I'm pretty sure that there might not be a more anxiety-provoking experience known to man especially if you feel like you might really like the person you are dating. It can also provoke a different type of anxiety if you're absolutely dreading the idea of who is about to step onto your front porch. I think the reason that first dates seem to be a bit more stressful is because we don't really know what to expect because every first date is different. I can honestly say personally that I really haven't been on a bad first date but I know plenty of other people with horror stories about creepers trying to get them to move to their ranch in Mexico or literally saying two words the entire date. However there have been plenty of times that for whatever reason I've had a great first date but I couldn't get a second date to save my life. So I set out on a mission to find out what both girls and guys expect from a first date and how to get to a second date and eventually a relationship if the interest is mutual. So let's talk about some of the keys to a successful first date and how to know if a second date is on the way... P.S. thanks to everyone who helped me out by answering my questions so candidly, you guys gave me a lot more than I was looking for so this article practically ended up writing itself/
1. Keep it simple:
Like I was already talking about earlier there is already enough awkwardness going into a first date so don't put anymore pressure on the date by going somewhere expensive or elaborate. A lot of girls really feel like this is putting a lot of expectations on something that should be an opportunity for experimentation for people to test to see if there is any chemistry between the people on the date. Pressure usually just makes thing more difficult have something simple planned. You could try a picnic in the park or hiking during the summer. Girls do appreciate originality so try to make an impression however don't go over the top spending a lot of money.
2. Leave plenty of opportunity for conversation:
When I asked people what they considered a good first date an overwhelming majority of people mentioned that conversation is key to developing any sort of relationship in the future. You need to be open enough to make the other person feel important by sincerely showing interest in who they are. At the same time, perhaps more importantly, you have to be open about yourself. I'm not saying reveal deep dark secrets about your family on a first date, but I am saying that the standard yes/no answers and superficiality won't cut it if you want something to really grow out of the first date. Be honest and forthcoming about your plans and who you are as a person, it'll make your date feel more comfortable when you ask him/her about who they are and what their plans are for the future.
3. The "Spark"
I'm going to start this next section with a disclaimer, I think the "spark" metaphor is one of my least favorite metaphors in the world. It makes romance sound like a magic trick, like attraction is something that comes out of thin air but I digress. Physical, emotional and mutual attraction are definitely important factors when it comes to dating. If you don't have things in common or if you don't have similar sense of humor chances are that there won't be any further development in a relationship... Physical attraction is important, it's like the fancy label on department store clothing it draws you in, but in the long run if it's nothing more than fancy packaging it'll lose it's luster. It's worth putting a little extra effort into your appearance on a first date but it's more important to be yourself and confident in who you are. There is nothing more attractive than confidence and someone who is secure with who they are. Secure people are going to have more success dating because it's easier to feel comfortable with someone who feels comfortable with who they are. If don't feel secure yet, it's ok, "fake it til you make it" because eventually you'll get to the point that you really are secure with who you are. So bottom line if you want a "spark" then be the best you you can be.
4. Be Honest Please!
The only thing more difficult than a first date might be the next couple of days after wondering how the other person felt especially if you really think that there was some potential. Instead of sending mixed signals and constantly waiting for the text back or phone call just be up front. Girls if a guy says he wants to do something with you again and you aren't really interested be upfront and tell him the truth, that there wasn't that "spark" or connection, be kind but in the long run the guy will really appreciate your honesty. Guys if you aren't interested but you can tell that the girl might be, be honest please! If you want to avoid conflict or hurt feelings just tell the girl that you really don't see a romantic relationship developing, she might be hurt or depressed but what's worse leading someone on for months or being upfront with them and telling them the truth. This doesn't mean you have to stop being friends, most of the time it will make the friendship grow but you don't have to worry about the romantic feelings anymore if things are out in the open. Don't let your ego get in the way, if a girl/guy isn't interested in you, it isn't a personal insult on who you are or what you stand for, it just allows for closure so that you can move on in your quest for eternal perfection.
5. Quality Time
Once you get past the guesswork of the first couple of dates, make sure you take the time to really form a substantial connection, find out who the person you are dating really is, don't just make superficial conversation  but at the same time it doesn't all have to be super deep, the most important thing is to develop a real friendship where you care as much about them as you do yourself. Some of the best way to do this is to spend time with them whenever possible. You can study together, watch TV, play sports whatever your mutual interests are, take time out of your schedule to be with them. There is nothing that shows someone that you are really interesting in taking things further than trying to spend time with them just because you want to be with them! This is the key to forming a significant relationship
6. Body language
Finally if you find yourself on a first date and you think things are going well but you aren't sure how well, go out of your way to get a little closer to the person you're on a date with. Body language is the most important way we communicate because we say things through body language that we couldn't or don't want to express through our words. If someone is really feeling comfortable with you proxemics is one of the best ways to tell how comfortable. If a person lets you into their personal space it is a very important and powerful indicator that the person is comfortable with you. Don't underestimate the power of body language, if a person is laughing and smiling a lot during a date and you get a good hug at the end of the night, 95% chance they had a good time and would be interested in pursuing at least a second date. Just a thought to keep in mind.

 Well I hope people find this helpful and that this helps make your dates more successful in the future, make sure to check back next week as I delve into the wacky world of online dating for single LDS kids. Needless to say I'm scared to death...


  1. I like that you mentioned emotional attraction in the third section. I think that's something that probably gets overlooked way too often as it's not something you can pick out very easily. It takes time and focused introspection and observation (usually) to discern how it is that someone treats you emotionally, and whether that is something that you like/builds you up or its something that doesn't meet your emotional needs. This is arguably one of the most important parts of any relationship. Figuring that out might be a discussion for a later date, but if there are early signs that someone doesn't meet those needs, it's probably not something that anyone should pursue - whether there's a spark or not.

  2. PS: Well written. I'm diggin it :)

  3. This is great B. I'm so glad you mentioned confidence and body language. Unfortunately for most of us body language is tragically over calculated on the first date. You don't want to be seen as a creeper or that chick that doesn't get the hint. Even worse you don't want the person you ARE interested in to get the impression that your not, so what do you do? This is where confidence is key, just like it was mentioned earlier 'fake it till you make it'. It makes the date fun and the guy/girl relax. Plus you'll probably end up giving your date a hint on whether your interested in a second date or not, hopefully.

  4. I wish i read this a few years back

  5. Nicely done! I really do think people forget a lot of these things. I agree that the "spark" doesn't just pop out of thin air, but I do feel like you have to make a connection somehow. I think people get too picky and rule out some really good potential candidates just because they didn't feel that initial spark and didn't give the person any more of a chance.