There is no second chance for a first impression when dating.
Even if you are going on your second, third or twenty-seventh date, with a new person, it is always a first date. So it might be useful to brush up a little on your dating skills.
You have already done most of the work – you have contacted someone, talked to them on the phone and set up a date when the two of you will meet. So you are actually going on your first date now. You can do much to prepare for your date and to make the date a pleasant one (and hopefully secure a follow-up date).
For your first date, you do not want a lot of pressure so take it lightly. Lunch is a good option; it usually lasts one to two hours and there is no obligation to stick around if you are not comfortable. If things run smoothly, you can still go on to somewhere else.
If you choose to go out for dinner, make sure the restaurant you pick will not dim the lights and soften the music if you did not plan the date to be a romantic one.
Silence makes many people feel uneasy but you can avoid most of the awkwardness by doing a little preparation. Why not read a one or two newspapers to brush-up on celebrity gossip and current affairs? This will give you plenty of material to keep a conversation going comfortably.
To prepare for your date, it may be helpful to jot down four or five interesting topics and keep them handy. Most probably, you will find that you do not need them; just knowing that they're there is enough to give you confidence.
The beginning can be the most difficult part of all. Jot down two or three things you could say at the start of your conversation, possible an ice-breaking joke (make sure it is not derisive to the person you are meeting, their culture or someone they like), or something funny about how you got to the meeting site. It may even be useful to prepare a beginning, middle and end for the conversation on your first date.
You could ask them a question about the menu, foods or wine they like or their work and if they enjoy it.
Why not ask a question about favorite pastimes, travel or anything they've mentioned previously that could be expanded on:
If you are still interested in the person you met, now is your time to secure a follow-up date. An opportune question to ask is:
What was the last movie you have been to? Anything on at the moment you would like to see? (No matter if you have seen it already, just say: "Oh I'd love to go to that"). If your date is interested, they may say something like: "Incidentally, I was planning to go and see it next week. You are welcome to join me."
Never mind if you do not like the movie they picked. The fact is you have secured a second date and when next week comes you can always say "I'm not in a cinema mood. How would you like going for a drink instead?"
Now stop reading and give your new dating skills a test!