First dates are a lot of fun, and they should be.  After all, you’re meeting and really getting to know a new person you think you might be interested in, and what’s not to like about that?

At the same time though, first dates can often be nerve wracking experiences.  Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to minimize that feeling of stark terror that can often accompany a first date.  Here’s the short list:

Don’t Mention The Ex

This covers a lot of territory.  You’re out on a date with this new person to get to know them, so don’t spend lots of time dwelling on, or talking about your ex.  In the first place, the person you’re dating doesn’t want to get to know your ex.  He or she isn’t present, so why is he in the conversation?  In the second place, it sends a message to the person you’re on the date with that you’re not actually over your ex.  After all, if you were, you wouldn’t be talking about him all the time, right?  Just don’t do it.

The same is true of your dating history in general.  The first date isn’t the time to give your dating biography and list everyone you’ve ever gone out with.  It should also be off limits to ask your date about his/her ex and dating history.  Sure, over the course of time, you’ll find out most of that stuff, but the first date isn’t that time.  Save it for later.

Don’t Talk About Yourself

talkIf you make you the center of the date, then your ex is going to start wondering why you didn’t just go out with yourself.  Absolutely, you’re going to get asked questions about yourself because let’s face it – it’s the first date, and you two don’t really know each other that well.  Answer the questions, but don’t make the conversation all about you.  Ask questions of your own.  Banter.  Talk back and forth with each other.  Show that you’re interested.

Don’t Assume

Traditional dating conventions are that the guy pays for the date, but those conventions are under pressure these days, so don’t automatically assume he’s going to pay.  Be ready to, or at least offer to leave a tip.  The overwhelming majority of guys won’t take you up on your offer, but you should at least be prepared to ask.

Don’t Be Shy

shyThis might be difficult if you actually are shy by nature, but look – the hard part’s over.  You’re ON the date.  Just relax and be you.  You’ve got this.

Understand too, that the don’ts of a first date extend to the end of the date.  Don’t assume there will be a goodnight kiss.  If you’re a guy, don’t forget to see your date home safely, and after the date, don’t go all stalkerish on him or her.  If the date was a success, you’ll both want to go out again, so there will be a second, and if the date was a disaster, well, at least now you know, and you didn’t lose anything more than a few hours of your time.

Relax.  Enjoy the process of getting to know each other and most of all, have fun.  That’s what it’s supposed to be all about, right?