Nowadays, when most first dates come from an algorithm match, meeting for the first time can feel a little awkward. Especially when you have no clue what the person across the table is thinking. Here, seven real guys give the first date tips and ideas they’re secretly hoping you’ll adopt ASAP. And they’re actually pretty solid.
“I’ve gone out with a few people who were glued to their phone during the date to the point where I felt awkward carrying on a conversation. I don’t care if you’re checking messages or whatever, but that just made me feel like they had zero interest in me.” —Alex, 26
“I’m just as nervous as you, if not more so. It’s easy to start overthinking the date and what to wear and what to say. I know people who really get into exactly the time they should show up. Like, they like to show up exactly 11 minutes late, so they don’t look too eager, but they don’t look rude or like they tried to show up late. Insane things like that. There are all these weird rules in place and you can get into your own head. Just show up and be you. Either your date will like you or they won’t, and if they don’t, who fucking cares?” —Will, 26
“More than once I found out way too late that my date didn’t like the restaurant we were at, or the concert I got tickets to, or what have you. I guess my advice is: Feel free to say no to date ideas. In those instances, they were afraid of hurting my feelings, but they wouldn’t have. I felt really awkward knowing that they basically hated the date I had planned.” —Richard, 28
“If you’re really into him, and you’re pretty sure he’s into you too, text him later that night or the next day to let him know you had a good time. It takes the whole ‘wait to call them again’ archaic bullshit and throws it out the window. Don’t be afraid to like people.” —Mike, 26
“I once had a girl pull out Cards Against Humanity from her purse. It was a really great ice breaker while we grabbed drinks at the bar, and it’s an easy game to play and screw around with. I mean, obviously, you can’t really play with two people, but it was fun to have something stupid to laugh over.” —Stephen, 27
“Please don’t have your friends meet us out so they can vet me or whatever. It’s the first date. I don’t need to meet everyone you know. I’ve only had it [happen] once but it was awkward.” —Chris, 25
“Try and go somewhere other than dinner and a movie or drinks at a bar. I think a lot of guys when left to their own devices default to those kinds of generic dates because it’s simple and it’s not off-putting. Suggest a hobby you’re into, like hiking or something. Anything that will let you get to know each other better and see how compatible you are.” —Jim, 26