Dating! What to do? This is something that everyone wonders about. It can raise a lot of anxiety and make it hard to concentrate on your date. Here are some tips and suggestions on how to navigate that first date, and possibly second, and third…
Being female, I do write from a woman’s perspective. However, I have collaborated with some male friends to get a wider perspective. These tips represent our experiences for what makes a successful first date, but your experiences may vary. Hopefully, some of these tips and tricks will be helpful!
Asking Someone Out
Talk to the person for a while before asking them out. Be sure they seem interested in you. If they are looking around, checking their phone, or not talking much to you, they are not interested.
Research some potential places for dates in your area. You want to find a place or an activity where it’s easy to talk to the other person (so not overly loud) and not overly expensive. If you are still getting to know this person, a first date should be in public, and not in the other person’s home. For much of this blog, we’re going to assume that the first date is taking place in a restaurant.
Ask a person immediately, or ask multiple times. If they say no, let it go.
Note: People can be unclear about why they are saying no when they turn you down. It is because they do not want to hurt your feelings. This is natural behavior and is okay. It takes practice to know when someone is not interested. Trying to date takes courage. It is like applying for jobs. There can be a lot of attempts and rejections before an acceptance.
Have a recent haircut, with clean and styled hair. Brush your teeth, shower, trim your nails, put on deodorant and some very light perfume or cologne. Shave. Wear clothing that is appropriate to the location. Make sure the clothing is clean and tidy.
Have messy hair or a wild hairstyle. Being stinky or dirty is a big turnoff for most people. Do not put on too much perfume nor cologne. Wearing clothes that make a statement is not the best for a first date, because it is distracting. Rumpled clothing from the bottom of the laundry basket is definitely a no!
Be on time if not a few minutes early. It shows you are a responsible person. Being early will allow you to center yourself and focus on the date. You can use the bathroom in advance and get that out of the way. You can check your appearance before meeting them.
Be late. It shows you are lazy or do not respect them. It can also raise your anxiety and make it difficult to focus on the date. You don’t need to bring flowers for a first date.
Say hello. Ask if they found the place okay. Ask how they are doing. Ask if the place seems okay. Give them an out. It shows you are thoughtful and adaptable.
Make a quick greeting and not wait for their response. This is not a mission of having a date and getting it over with. This is about meeting someone and allowing them to help run the date. The goal is to start a relationship with someone. A relationship is about giving and taking.
Ask questions about them, such as hobbies. Try to think of a detail you may know about the hobby and ask about it. Have some silly questions that will get them talking. Keep the conversation fun.
Interrogate. No overly personal questions, such as where they live or how much money they make. Don’t ask heavy relationship questions about marriage or having children, unless they bring it up.
Compliment on something they are wearing, if you like it, but make it quick and move on. If your date wants to talk about whatever you complimented them on, let them talk for as long as they want and let the conversation flow.
Compliment on their looks. This is apparently way overdone, and the other person will not take you seriously.
When talking about hobbies, find something about a hobby of theirs that you genuinely enjoy and say it, and why. They will feel validated and know your honesty.
Pretend to share one of their hobbies/interests if you do not. Your dishonesty will get busted pretty quickly when they get excited and ask a detailed question, and you cannot answer because you haven’t a clue about the hobby and were just pretending. You can ask questions about their hobbies and interests to learn more, though! Do not make negative remarks about someone’s interests or hobbies if you don’t share them. Try to learn more about why it’s important to them.
Stay calm and relaxed, and focused on your date. Feel confident that you look your best as you are. No need to draw attention to anything about your appearance.
Don’t (for males and females):
Overly stare, touch your date, blow your nose at the table, eat with your mouth open, overly stim (like scratch at something on your skin). If you leave for the bathroom, do not stay in there for more than a few minutes. It is not the time to hide out and decompress.
Don’t (for females):
Flip your hair, try to show cleavage or leg, or giggle. It does not make you more attractive and men have seen all of this already.
Order something that is at a similar price to his/her meal if the first date is at a restaurant. If unsure, order something mid-price to cheaper. It is respectful. Use the silverware correctly. Have your napkin in your lap. Eat and drink quietly.
Barely touch your food (because that’s a waste), eat all her/his dessert, order the most expensive thing on the menu. Please do not talk with your mouth full of food.
Keep your focus on them, and if the talking lags, look around the place and make comments. This will keep the conversation going. For example, Cracker Barrel has a lot of interesting vintage signs to talk about. Sometimes comments on details will lead to learning something about the person. Try to make eye contact.
Have your phone out. It shows you are not fully committed to them at this time, and it is not respectful. Don’t zone out, nor talk about yourself for a lengthy time. Pause and wait for their response.
Note: The moment when the bill comes can be a little awkward for everyone on a date. It is traditional for the person who asked for the date to pay for the date (their expenses and the other person’s), but sometimes people may have different ideas of what should be done, and you don’t find out until the bill comes. Sometimes the other person may offer to split the cost, but it should not be expected or demanded. Have some money on hand in case the other person, who you thought might pay, wants to split the bill. If the other person pays for you, be sure to say thank you.
Let the conversation go until a natural end, which usually occurs at the end of the meal. Sometimes you may walk out with them to their car and talk for a while. You can ask for a second date or wait a couple of days and ask. Tell them you had a good time and thank them for the date. You do not need to hug or kiss them on the first date (or more than that!). If they want a hug and you are okay with it, go for it!
End the conversation suddenly due to the meal being finished. Wait until both of you finish your conversation and have nothing else to say. Don’t demand another date nor a hug or kiss. This is a time of relaxing, having fun, and enjoying each other.
Text and thank them for the date. Wait for a response before asking for another date. If they say they are busy or have another excuse, that means they are not interested, and it is fine. Let it go. Do the same if you are not interested. That is fine.
Demand another date. Don’t send more than one text if you have not heard back. If they seem disinterested, that is okay and move on.
You did it! Good job!!
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About the Author
Mary Janca is a teacher and coach for students of all learning differences. She has been teaching for twenty years, has a Master’s Degree in Teaching, Behavioral/Emotional Disorders, and is certified in multiple subjects from first grade to high school. She coaches youth and adults with life skills and academics. She is currently working on a client base to serve students in Greensboro and Raleigh. She also works with clients nationally and overseas. You can find her on LinkedIn.
Mary has Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD. She has faced many struggles in life due to these differences but is proud of her desire to get back up, learn, and keep going. She loves to help others succeed with whatever challenge they are facing.Tags: adults, autism, autism behavior, autism communication, autism relationships, autism social skills, autistic adults