How to Act on a First Date

Some say that the hardest part of a first date is over once you've broken the ice and made, or accepted, the offer. But for others, first date anxiety doesn't end until the date is over. There's no recipe for a perfect first date. However, learning how to act on a first date can result in a success rather than a flop. Luckily, you learned everything you need to know about how to behave on a first date in kindergarten.

The Basics
Use your manners. This encompasses a wide range of things. The Online Dating News Blog lists 10 of these, including arriving on time, dressing nicely, turning off your cell phone and using your best table manners. In kindergarten, the rules are different but the principle is the same. We teach young children to wash their hands, say please and thank you, and to chew with their mouths closed. Even these little details can make a first date a success.

Keep your hands and feet to yourself. Of course teachers and parents were talking about hitting, biting and kicking, none of which are you likely to do on a first date. But the concept still rings true in the real world. Take it slow on a first date, keeping your hands, feet and lips to yourself. While a kiss at the end of the evening might be appropriate, be sure to pay attention to your date to determine if he or she feels the same way.

Be a good listener. Teachers say it, parents say it, and we likely hear ourselves saying it as we grow up and become parents of young children ourselves. This basic rule is one of the most important for first date conversations. Don't spend the evening thinking about what you are going to say next or overanalyzing what's already come out of your mouth. Instead, really listen to what your date is saying. Demonstrate your listening skills by asking appropriate follow-up questions and engaging in active listening techniques. Effective Meetings lists six techniques for good listeners in meetings. These include not interrupting and responding verbally and nonverbally. These techniques are a perfect partner for first date listening skills.

Look. Pay attention to what your date is saying and doing. Nonverbal communication can speak much louder than words, especially on a first date. Look, listen, pay attention and respond.

Use your inside voice and speak up. Many people become either too loud or too quiet when they are nervous. We teach young children to use their inside voices, and should remember to do the same on a first date. Don't be too loud and try to get too much attention. You risk scaring your date away. Not only that, but parents and teachers remind kindergarteners to speak up about what they need - be it the toilet or another piece of paper. Do the same on a first date. Would you rather have Thai food than sushi? Don't be afraid to say so.

Smile. Teachers hate to see a sad face, and so will your date. Put a smile on your face, even if the date isn't going exactly as you'd hoped. The evening will be more enjoyable for both parties with a smile, even if it isn't one you're likely to repeat. No one likes a complainer, a whiner or an unhappy person. Try to remember that on your first date.

When trying to figure out how to behave on a first date, think back to the days when it was all as simple as sharing your toys and holding hands. First dates entered into with this level of ease and familiarity are sure to be a success.

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