A Jewish Matchmaker’s Advice for Rockin’ a Great First Impression

I’m often asked, “Is there a protocol for a first date?” Well, not necessarily, it depends on the people involved, but there are some guidelines to follow that can remove some of the anxiety you may feel upon that first meeting.

First, choose a comfortable venue where you won’t feel too much pressure. No need for a fancy restaurant or mind-blowing activity. Decide on a place or activity that you will both enjoy and will provide you with time to talk. Confirm the date the day before via phone call or text so there are no misunderstandings. If you have to cancel the date, make sure to mention that you would like to reschedule.

Women often wonder what to wear for a first date. Though you may wish to impress and entice on a first date, dressing too seductively can backfire. If you want a relationship to progress, leave something to the imagination. The best advice is to dress for what you will be doing, and make sure your clothes are comfortable so you are not distracted by heels that are too high or a dress that is too low. You don’t want to be distracted by sore feet or “wardrobe mishaps”! Choose clothing that reflects who you really are, not who you are “trying” to be.

Be punctual and clear your mind so you can concentrate on your date, and don’t forget to mute or turn off your mobile phone. If you have children and need to keep your phone on, make sure to explain this to your date and only answer the phone if your child calls. Be conscious of creating a flow of conversation with back and forth dialog so you do not consume the conversation and your date does not consume the conversation. You both want to end the date knowing more about the other person.

Another sticking point concerns who should pay for the date. It may sound old-fashioned but if a man is really serious about the date, he will offer to pay. These days, many men are afraid to insist upon this because some women get offended. If you are a woman, reach for your purse when the check comes and mention that you are happy to pay your portion. If your date insists upon paying, accept it. If you are the man, insist upon paying when the check comes, but if she really seems determined to pay her half, let her do so, but bring up the subject at your next date (if there is one) so the two of you can decide what works best for both of you going forward.

No matter how many sparks fly, first dates are best ended with a light kiss on the cheek or lips. If the chemistry is real, you will feel it even stronger on the next date, and if you are looking for more than a one-night stand, don’t set yourself up for the possibility of being one.

These guidelines can help relieve some pre-date anxiety so you can focus on getting to know the person in front of you in a more relaxed and confident environment. If you have more specific questions about dating protocol- feel free to ask in the comment section below!