Above all else, dating should be fun. To calm your nerves and prevent any awkwardness, it helps to stick to some first date ground rules.
Although we get wiser and more confident with age, dating is nerve-wracking no matter how old you are. For many, returning to the dating scene after a long hiatus is incredibly intimidating. Fortunately, there are currently more dating tips and opportunities available to over-50s singles than ever before.
Before you set out on a first date, research the ‘dos and don’ts’, and keep the following pointers in mind.
Grab a coffee
Meeting at a coffee shop, rather than a bar or restaurant, will allow you to chat in a casual, public place without any pressure to make it a drawn out three-hour event. If it quickly becomes clear that you don’t feel a connection, then you can rest assured that it’ll be over in less than an hour. If the coffee date goes well, you can plan to go for drinks or dinner for date number two.
Ask open-ended questions
For many of us, the worst thing that could happen on a first date is silence. We dread those long, brutal pauses in the conversation where time seems to stand still. If you do find yourself at a break in the discussion, just ask questions. People tend to enjoy talking about themselves, and your date is probably no different.
If possible, avoid ‘yes or no’ questions and stick to more open-ended icebreakers instead. For example, ask “What are you looking forward to most this Christmas?” instead of “Are you looking forward to Christmas?”.
Go easy on the compliments
It’s nice to hear nice things about yourself, but when the gushing comes from someone who’s practically a stranger, it can come off as too intense. There’s nothing wrong with a nice, casual comment like “that’s a lovely dress” or “what a fantastic wristwatch”, but saying something like “you’re so beautiful” or “I just love your eyes” may be too much too soon. This is a first date; focus on getting to know one another.
Keep it light and stay positive
You know what they say – don’t talk about religion or politics. This is particularly true on a first date. Instead, go for lighter topics like your kids, your favourite holiday destinations, recent films you’ve seen and what you like to do in your free time.
Also, no negativity! Sometimes we use complaining – about the weather, our jobs and the economy – as a crutch. But instead of leaning on these common grumbles, challenge yourself to add something more creative, thoughtful and positive to the conversation.
Of course, the best tip of all is to be yourself. When you do find someone that tickles your fancy, you want him or her to like you for you, not for anyone you’re pretending to be.
What are your first date tips?