If they can’t make me laugh, they probably can’t make me come.
Never show up late to a first date; it makes it seem like you don’t care, or don’t respect the other person’s time. If you do have to be late for whatever reason, send a properly apologetic text as soon as you know you’ll be late, containing your ETA if possible.
Dates where you can actually talk are better than dates where you’re just watching something or doing an activity side-by-side, at least if your goal is to get to know the person you’re on a date with.
Always bring condoms, lube, and a small vibrator, because you never know.
Someone who refuses to accept a “no” in one context, however innocuous (e.g. “No, I won’t let you pay your half of the bill even though you have firmly expressed that you want to”), will often refuse to accept a “no” in worse contexts.
If the sex is bad initially, communicate more, practice more, and it’ll get better.
If it doesn’t get better with communication and practice, it’s probably best to move on, assuming sex matters to you.
Same goes for conversations: it’s normal if they’re a bit stilted at first, while you’re getting to know each other’s rhythms. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a mismatch, although it might, especially if it continues.
Making out in an alley after a date is a great way to assess potential physical/sexual compatibility without needing to invite the person to your home right away if you're not ready to do that.
Bring up the things that matter to you as early as possible/as early as feels appropriate, so as to weed out the people who aren’t on your level. This includes anything from political beliefs to sexual preferences to whether or not you want kids someday.
Always tell a friend, prior to a date, where you’re going, the full name of your date (if you know it), any other contact info you have for them, and when you expect to get back home.
Asking follow-up questions is an extremely underrated conversational skill. Do it more.
Using someone’s name in conversation – not a lot, but here and there – can feel memorably flirty because it gets their attention and fires off a little dopamine in their brain every time.
If you wear a low-hanging necklace, your date will probably stare at your chest at some point, but maybe you want that.
If someone asks you zero, or very few, questions about yourself, don’t see them again (unless you like them enough to put in the labor of running the whole conversation). You deserve to date people who find you interesting and know how to show it.
Different people feel differently about having sex on the first date; the important thing is to figure out how it makes you feel (or how you think it would make you feel), and make decisions accordingly. Slut-shaming and prude-shaming are both useless bullshit; you get to make your own sexual decisions based on what feels right for you.
It’s totally okay to ask someone what they’re looking for romantically/sexually. It might seem like an overly forward question, especially on a first date, but it’s important stuff to know upfront so neither of you end up wasting your time.
People tend to be on their best behavior on the first few dates, so if you’re already seeing hints of emotional manipulation, control issues, anger problems, etc., just know that they’re probably only gonna get worse from there.
The best, kindest, and truest way to reject someone is to make it about yourself. “I had a great time on our date, but I didn’t really feel the connection I’m looking for. Best of luck!”
That said, if you are rejecting someone for a very specific reason related to something legitimately egregious that they did or said (like being a dick to the waiter, making a racist joke, or taking weeks to text you back), it’s okay to tell them why. This will hopefully give them the kick in the pants they need to address that behavior so it won’t ruin their future romantic prospects.
Playing mind games is dull, exhausting, and often a sign that you don’t feel entirely safe or comfortable with the person you’re seeing. If you like them, let them know. If you feel like texting them, text them (within reason – use your social judgment). Don’t beat around the bush if that’s not who you are.
Put your phone away while you’re on a date, and focus fully on the person you’re talking to. If you literally can’t do that, because you’re waiting on some important medical news or you’re on call at work or something, maybe it’s not the best time to be going on a date.
“How’s your day been?” is a simple, great opening question if you don’t know how to get the conversational ball rolling on an early date.
It is okay (and often actually appreciated) to put your intentions and desires out there in a way that is clear and open, so long as you do so in such a way that the person can easily reject or postpone your advances if they want to (e.g. “I’d really like to kiss you right now; how would you feel about that?”).
Don’t assume your date drinks alcohol, or coffee, when picking a date location. (Offering a few different choices can be a way of handling this issue.) If your date opts not to drink booze while actually on the date, do not ask them why, as the reason is almost certainly personal.
Different people have different ways of texting – style, syntax, frequency, emoji usage, etc. – and it might take you a while to figure out what a new person’s “deal” is, texting-wise. Don’t freak out over a minor punctuation issue or delayed responses when you don’t even know what “normal” texting looks like for this person; they might just be very busy, or very direct, or unaware that the emoji keyboard exists.
If you haven’t already, glance at the news, Twitter trending topics, etc. before leaving for your date, so that you’ll have stuff to talk about even if the conversation has trouble getting off the ground.
If it doesn’t make you feel jealous or weird to do so, it can be fun to ask a date from Tinder, Bumble, etc. what their other experiences have been like on those apps. Often talking about this can be a goofy way to bond over the nearly-universal difficulties involved in dating.
It’s more important to feel confident and comfortable than it is to “look hot.”
Resist the temptation to censor the weirdest, nerdiest parts of yourself. When you act like someone else, you attract people who would be a good match for… someone else. When you act like you, you attract people who would be a good match for you. And that’s what dating is all about. Right?