Blind Date Advice

The very thought of blind dates can strike fear in the strongest of hearts. Nearly every person who has dipped a toe into the dating pool has had a horror story. But, if you prepare yourself for what might happen and follow smart blind date advice, you could find yourself having a fun time.

To Go or Not to Go?

Don't immediately say no when a person offers to set you up. Chances are, if your friend thinks someone might be good for you, they might be right. Even if it doesn't work out, you can still meet someone new and possibly make a new friend.

Keep your expectations realistic: Don't assume this date will turn into a long-term relationship. Trying to get to know someone new should be your number-one goal.

Before the Date

Here's some surprising blind date advice: blind dates shouldn't be completely blind. Ask the person setting you up for your blind date's contact information, and give your date a call or e-mail before you meet in person.

However, you don't want to have too much contact beforehand because you want to have things to talk about. Keep contact brief: A five- to ten-minute phone conversation or a quick e-mail can create a foundation for the date, and you may feel less like you are meeting a stranger. Chances are that the person who's setting the two of you up has given each of you some information, but you should take charge of what your date knows about you.

Where to Go

Keep the location casual. Going for drinks or coffee is a low-key way to meet. There's less pressure because drinks or coffee are not as formal as a meal, and it will be less expensive. If things go well, you can always decide to go to dinner afterward or make plans for a second date. If you aren't feeling a spark, you can part ways with little fuss.

Always meet your date a public place. Not only are you playing it safe, but you are also setting a casual tone. Inviting someone into your home indicates a date might be getting more serious. Keep the date short as well. Avoid anything that might last more than an hour. There's always the chance of a second date. If things are going badly, you don't want to be stuck with that person for the duration of a dinner or movie.

As you narrow down locations, be sure to choose a spot that is free of memories of an ex or past relationship. Also, you don't want to choose a place where you might run into people. This can be distracting and make things even more awkward, especially if your date feels left out of the conversation.

Last of all, the potential price of the date will impact your choice of location. The more expensive the date, the more official it will feel, and you may feel pressured to spend more time with someone you're not attracted to or someone you simply don't like.

What to Do

First of all, wear something that makes you feel comfortable and confident. Blind dates can be stressful enough, so enter the date feeling like you're at the top of your game. If you are having a bad day or feeling ill, it's better to cancel and reschedule. You want your first meeting to go well, and you should be in a good enough mood to make a positive first impression.

Before you go, let your friends know where you will be, the time of the date and other necessary information. If you own a cell phone, take it with you as a precaution.

Think about how you will act during the first moments. You want to arrive slightly early and be polite and friendly. A handshake is an appropriate greeting. Make sure to smile, and come prepared with some questions to bring up in your initial conversation. At this stage, you'll be glad you made contact with your date beforehand.

As the date progresses, making conversation is integral to having a good time. You not only want to start a conversation, but you want to keep it going without talking too much or interrupting your date. First date conversation topics should be general and light; you don't want to get too personal or political. Ask about your date's career, background, family and interests. Make sure to compliment your date when appropriate, and mention if you agree or share similar interests. Open-ended questions are great, as they stimulate conversation.

However, you don't need to make conversation for the sake of filling silence. Sometimes it's okay to be quiet if the two of you are thinking over a point or taking time to savor food or drink. Don't assume that a single quiet moment is a sign of failure. But if you and your date find that you disagree on many subjects or have radically different conversation styles, a long lag in conversation might indicate your date has reached a natural end.

When it comes to paying for the date, watch for cues. If your date indicates that they want to pay, decide before the date whether or not you want to take him or her up on this. If this is your first meeting, you may think about splitting the bill so that you avoid the feeling that you owe the person a second date.

Ending blind dates are as important as beginning them, so make sure to have a strategy. You might consider placing parameters on the timeframe of the date, such as saying you are meeting a friend afterwards and can't cancel. At the end of the date, do what feels right. If your date goes well, make sure to tell the other person you are interested in meeting up with them again. If you have absolutely no interest in meeting them again, be honest. Explain that you didn't think the two of you had much in common.

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