Whether the date is the first step towards a relationship or a flop depends on many factors. Here are tips for a successful first date.

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The first meeting is always very exciting, because it is often the first time you meet your online acquaintance, with whom you have only talked in the chat of the respective dating site, by SMS or by phone. So many have questions like: Which place is best for the first date? What should I wear on the first date? And what should I talk about with my counterpart on the first date? Here you will find answers to these questions. So you can prepare yourself perfectly for the first date and make a good impression on your counterpart.

Excitement on a first date is normal

Many people know it: The excitement increases sharply before the first date – especially if the last date was a long time ago. The tingling in the stomach gets stronger as the date approaches and the doubts about how the date will turn out grow bigger. What is going on inside us? Psychologist Sandra Jankowski explains why our stress level increases before a date: “On the one hand we have high expectations of the date, on the other hand we can be disappointed. We cannot control this situation and we cannot make a prediction. This creates stress for us. As a result, we behave less naturally and as a result we often have blackouts.”

So excitement on a first date is completely normal. We can still get the stage fright under control. How it works? The first thing you should do is allow yourself to be nervous and realize that your counterpart will also be nervous. What often helps: Ask yourself what you are afraid of and answer this question. An example would be: The worst that can happen? That I don’t please him or her. This gives you a clear view of what’s on your mind. Now try to see the overall situation a little more relaxed. For example, say to yourself, “If he doesn’t like me, that’s okay. Maybe I don’t like him either.” This way you can control the fear a bit.

You really didn’t like the person you were talking to? Swam over it. He who seeks finds. Just cast the line again and see what comes up. You can find the right fish on partner exchanges such as Elitepartner, Parship and Co. You can find the test reports here.

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Another tip: be honest and openly tell your counterpart at the beginning that you are excited. This is how you address the topic directly. You can usually tell from the other person’s reaction that your date is also nervous. Talking about it helps to lighten the overall situation and take away your nervousness.

The location – places for the first meeting

“Where should I meet for the first date?” There are many possibilities: café, restaurant, bar or rather the cinema? Choosing where to go can be very difficult, especially when asking your friends for advice. One prefers the café because you can talk quietly there. The other feels more comfortable in the cinema because you can talk directly about the film afterwards. But where to go so that the date goes well? What speaks for a place and what against? Here are the pros and cons of each place.

Some tips:

Cosy and relaxed – the date in the café

Not only women find it very pleasant to get to know each other in a café over a cappuccino or a hot chocolate. In a relaxed atmosphere, the date can become a success. Because if both feel comfortable, the first step towards getting to know each other has already been taken. Do you have a specific café in mind that you particularly like? Then propose it for the first date. This is how you take the initiative. Your counterpart will definitely appreciate that.

In a café with a beautiful view, you can relax and get to know the person you are talking to and, during breaks, let your gaze wander over the surroundings without being uncomfortable.

Classic and timeless – the date in the restaurant

Candlelight, a good meal and a glass of wine: The date in the restaurant is the classic way to get to know each other, and not only in Hollywood films. As the saying goes: “Love goes through the stomach.” Whether it’s Italian or Chinese: good food puts you in a good mood and is the best prerequisite for a successful date.

If you still need tips for ordering: ask your date beforehand whether he or she is vegetarian or has allergies. Reserve a table just in case the place is full. If the waiter wants to take the order, don’t order the cheapest wine. It should be of good quality. Avoid spinach, herbs and be careful with lettuce as greens can get stuck in your teeth and look far from pretty. Don’t eat too much: Firstly, it doesn’t make a good impression and secondly, an overfull stomach doesn’t exactly stimulate conversation, but at most digestion. There could be other dangers lurking. The same goes for the wine. Drink a glass, but not too much – otherwise the date can quickly get out of hand.

Casual and informal – the date in the bar

If you want a date in a relaxed atmosphere, a visit to a bar is a good option. One advantage of this is the close proximity you have to your date partner. Touching (whether unconsciously or consciously induced) brings you both closer, which can be an advantage for getting to know each other quickly. Unlike in a restaurant or café, the initial stage fright goes away after the first cocktail at the latest. However, the volume level in the bar should not be so high that you can have a good conversation – you don’t want to yell at 300 watt speakers.

A tip for the man: be charming, compliment your companion and buy her a drink. Don’t drink too much alcohol to loosen up. Only drink as much as you can tolerate. While alcohol relaxes you, it increases the risk of you losing control and not behaving the way you intended.

Dark and intimate – the date in the cinema

A cozy evening for two at the cinema? Not everyone thinks that’s appropriate, because you can’t really get to know each other there. Therefore, it is often recommended not to meet until the second date in the cinema. The darkness and the physical closeness that you have there creates an intimate situation right from the start. For those who can handle it, that’s fine. A first meeting in the cinema does not necessarily have to be bad for getting to know each other. In the two hours that you sit next to each other during the film, you can get used to the situation. Thus, the stress level can decrease. It also has one great advantage: After the film, you have a topic to talk about over a drink at the bar.

Questions are allowed during the film as long as they don’t come up too often. After all, your companion shouldn’t feel annoyed.

Go for a walk in the great outdoors – the date in the park

Do you and your date have hobbies in common, such as cycling or walking? Then a date in the park is perfect. During a walk in the park or in the zoo you can talk and get to know each other in peace. Afterwards you can always go to a café if you want.

A tip for women: A little caution on the first date can’t hurt. The scenario alone at night with a stranger in the park is not desirable. You are welcome to save the romantic walk in the moonlight for the second date.

No matter which place you choose for the first date: Be who you are and don’t pretend. In the end it will show anyway whether the chemistry is right and whether the right person is still a long time coming. Nobody needs to despair if the date doesn’t go optimally. Failures are allowed. And if it doesn’t work this time: don’t give up, keep trying.

You can find more inspiration and date ideas in our Where to go on a date infographic.

The outfit – what to wear on the first date?

Dress, skirt or trousers? The outfit plays a big role in the first impression – and after all, you get that with your eyes. Here you can find out what you can and cannot wear for the first date.

What should women wear?

Should women dress more sexy or rather casual? Women in particular are often unsure and spend hours trying out several possible outfits in front of their wardrobe that are suitable for the date. Quite a few women even go shopping before a date because they think they don’t have anything suitable in their closet. Some women also go to the hairdresser before the first date.

Don’t freak out. There is no general dress code for the first meeting. You should look well-groomed and primarily choose clothes that you feel comfortable in! Many women prefer a skirt with a blouse or a chic dress on the first date. Some make the mistake of choosing the shortest dress in the closet, based on the motto: the more leg, the better. A lot of men like it too. However, a knee-length skirt is also perfectly fine. You can wear matching shoes such as heels or boots. So you are well dressed and can set off on your date with peace of mind. In essence, it will be important to impress your counterpart with your personality.

If dresses and skirts are not for you at all, you can alternatively go to the date with pants. Choose a chic blouse and an eye-catching accessory, such as large earrings or a beautiful necklace. No man will be disappointed when he sees you standing in front of the café in your pants.

You should choose clothes that suit you, that underline your personality and that you feel comfortable in. You can certainly do without constantly tugging at your skirt that is too short or stumbling around in your otherwise hardly worn high heels.

Shoes with a little heel are ideal. Better leave your ballerinas in the shoe closet.

What should men wear?

Women are not alone with this question. Men also ask themselves before the first date: what should I wear? Here it makes sense to go through the closet in good time before the date. Not that your favorite shirt has been wiped out by moths.

The decision usually falls on a good shirt and smart trousers. Add a matching belt and a jacket or blazer and you’re done. A tie isn’t essential – only if you’re comfortable with it.

Are you more of a sporty type? Then you can combine the shirt with good jeans. Also make sure your shoes are clean, because many women look at them. And don’t come to the date with the sports shoes you wore while jogging in the morning…

What doesn’t work at all: jogging pants are comfortable, but a no-go for a date – unless you meet to go jogging in the park. In a pinch, worn-out jeans will do, if the closet is surprisingly empty or it just goes with your style.

The hairstyle and make-up on the first date

Open or do you prefer a bun? The hairstyle must be right at the first meeting and occupies many women before the date. But you don’t necessarily have to run to the hairdresser before the meeting and spend money unnecessarily to be beautiful. You can also do your hair at home. Most men like natural-looking women and prefer to wear their hair down.

Make-up should be chosen depending on the situation. After all, you don’t want to scare away your counterpart with a thick layer of make-up. Men are more into the natural make-up look. So don’t wear too much. In the café and restaurant, subtle eye make-up – such as eyeliner – is perfectly adequate. On the other hand, you can emphasize the lips in a strong red. This is how you appear seductive, but not overly made up. If you want smokey eyes, then choose a lighter color such as a soft pink or a beige tone to compensate for the lips. If the meeting is in a bar, feel free to apply a little thicker.

Men’s hair should also look well-groomed. It can also be gel. If you prefer the natural look, your hair can be wild and tousled – but still look well-groomed.

What do men pay attention to, what do women pay attention to?

Men only pay attention to their appearance – that’s what many women think and really dress up for the first date. Men, on the other hand, believe that women can be impressed with a good sense of humor. What do men and women actually pay attention to? The Berlin psychologist Sandra Jankowski has the answers:

“Men attach great importance to the attractiveness of the woman, women rather to a well-groomed appearance. Men pay attention to the woman’s eyes and look first – if this signals: ‘I’m interested in you’, then they look at the woman’s figure. For women, on the other hand, the gaze is no less important. Although they look at the eyes first, after this initial contact, their gaze falls on the man’s hands, then his figure. A man’s appearance is not so important to many women.”

And then it really begins. During the conversation, both men and women pay attention to the behavior of the other person. Gestures and facial expressions are carefully examined. Is he/she friendly? Is he/she sensitive? How does he/she appear to me? The smile is very important because it shows more about the character than you think.

Men in particular like it when the woman listens to them and is enthusiastic about many different topics. Women, on the other hand, pay a lot of attention to the man’s dealings with other people, as this says a lot about the character. That’s why it’s important to show interest and ask questions during the conversation. Both sides should not be neglected. If someone doesn’t get a chance to speak and is chattered up, the joy is rather low.

By the way, a Parship study found out that women pay more attention to education when choosing a partner. Among the men surveyed, the lady’s appearance (28 percent) was almost as important as the woman’s character (29 percent).

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Small talk on a first date: What to talk about?

The first date: You are sitting relaxed in the café, have ordered and are looking for the right words. You think to yourself: Should I tell my whole life story right away? How do I impress my counterpart? What should I ask?

Many people deal with these questions days before the first date. There are two types: the spontaneous and the cautious. The spontaneous guy goes on a date without preparing for the conversation. The cautious, on the other hand, wants to “play it safe” and prepare the subject of the conversation carefully. If you belong to the second group, it is better to make a list of key points and have them in your pocket in case of an emergency.

What do you talk about on a first date? A popular topic is hobbies. Ask your partner what they like to do in their free time. The fact is that you shouldn’t just answer with “yes” and “no”. Feel free to tell personal experiences from your life, because it has been proven that sharing personal experiences builds closeness.

Another topic: Ask the other person about their lifelong dream. You can talk about it and at the same time you will learn more about the future plans of the companion. Things that move you are always a good topic of conversation. This way you can see if you share the potential partner’s views and want to get to know them better. Politics and sports are other topics that make up the “entertainment menu”.

Another tip: take your time. Don’t tell all your secrets right away on the first date. And don’t show too much that you like the other person. Stay a little distant. After the date, you can still text your partner and let them know how much you enjoyed the date.

During the conversation, do you really disagree with the opinion of the other person? Then say it, but stay calm and friendly. Make your point clear, but don’t start an argument – otherwise the companion can quickly flee.

Don’t make derogatory remarks during the conversation, because they don’t go down well with either the lady or the gentleman.

Who pays on the first date?

Does the man have to pay on the first date or should the bill be split? This question repeatedly stimulates discussions. The truth is: Many women like it when the man pays the classic way on the first date. There are also many women who, on principle, do not want to be invited. That has to be respected. As a man, you can still offer to invite her on the second date.

A tip: If it’s just a meeting in a café and therefore a small amount, the men should foot the bill. If it is a visit to a restaurant, the women should at least offer the man a share in the bill. In many cases, the man would also like to pay in the restaurant. If the man accepts the offer and asks to split the bill, women shouldn’t be angry – after all, they offered it.

If you already indicated before the date that you’d foot the bill, for example by saying that you’d like to invite your partner over, then don’t be stingy. Nothing is worse than ruining a good impression.


At the end of the day, what matters is that you feel comfortable on the first date. Because if you feel good, then the other person will feel it too. A good atmosphere relaxes the mood. Also, you’re most likely to be yourself when you’re comfortable. And as long as you remain yourself, your counterpart can get to know you better.

Therefore, you should choose the location, your outfit and the topics of conversation so that they suit you. Then nothing can go wrong.

Tip: Your date may be approaching and you’ve already met a nice single. You may also be looking for the right partner. If you are looking for a stable relationship and a partner for life, you should try a reputable dating agency. At Parship, for example, you can get a taste of it for free and meet many like-minded singles – it’s worth a try. Click here to register with Parship.

If you are looking for a flirt and primarily want to get to know new people, you should register with LoveScout24. Here you will receive many friend requests and contacts in a very short time. You can flirt online, take part in singles events or arrange to meet up online using the “Datefinder”. Click here to register with LoveScout24.

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  • Author: With Stephie
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