As the nation tunes into new series of the hit Channel 4 show, Caroline Brealey gives her advice for scoring a second date
Every Thursday the nation has been tuning in to watch nervous hopeless romantics meet each other for the first time in a busy London restaurant.
Yes, First Dates has made a return to our screens - and we couldn't be happier.
There's nothing more entertaining than watching people squirm their way through a date with someone they've just met.
But when it comes to your OWN first date, it's not so funny.
With nerves against you and self-consciousness setting in, it can be difficult to know how to act.
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Luckily for you, we've got matchmaker and relationship expert Caroline Brealey to give us all some advice.
Take a look at her top tips for first dates below. If you've got any amusing dating stories, we'd love to hear them! Share them using the form at the bottom of this article or by emailing [email protected]
Before the date
1. Get excited but don’t get carried away
Set your expectations too high and you’re going to be really disappointed if Bradley Cooper / Jennifer Aniston don’t rock up! Keep your expectations in check and be realistic.
2. Put it into perspective
Putting into perspective what a first date is can help reduce anxiety, stress and the temptation to back out last minute!
A first date is about:
- Investing your time and emotions to fully be present on the date
- Getting to know about your date's life, what they enjoy doing and what makes them tick
- Listening to them and contributing to the conversation
- Seeing whether you can laugh together, make one another smile and whether you feel excited to see them again
3. Have a reality check
A first date is simply a chance to meet someone new, face to face, to see whether you get on. That’s it.
You might get on with them, you might not, but you can at the very least have an interesting chat with them if it’s the latter.
The reality is you’re unlikely to hit it off with everyone; you’ll like some a lot more than others and some a heck of a lot less.
It’s a bit like being at work – you can get on with most people but there are some people who can brighten even the gloomiest of Monday mornings.
4. Make an effort to look great
Look great and you’ll feel great. Wear something you would naturally wear and that makes you feel good.
A date is worth the effort to put that extra time in to looking your best.
5. Put thought into the date venue
The local pub? Boring! Put some thought into planning a date where you’ll both have a great time.
Doing something fun together helps bring out your body language which is so important for forming relationships and bonding.
Do something that gets you both moving or that takes the pressure off you both – a comedy club and drinks, a whisky tasting class, mini golf. Whatever it is you do, have some fun.
It may sound like common sense but if you’re feeling a bit nervous, you can forget to smile.
Laura had lots of smiles for Matt in the First Dates restaurant
Not only does smiling project confidence but it also raises energy levels, which is exactly what you need plenty of on a first date.
7. Keep it positive
Exes, a bad day in the office or family problems – keep it to yourself if you want a second date!
8. Remember conversation is a two-way street
Ask plenty of questions and be sure to listen to the answers.
Nerves can sometimes get the better of us. If you know you’re likely to be shy on the date, think ahead to questions you might ask.
If the nerves get you chatting nonstop, remember to take a breath and let your date talk. Let the conversation flow.
9. Don’t expect fireworks
If they happen, great, but don’t go into a date expecting there to be instantaneous chemistry.
Love and attraction often develops at a slow pace and over time. Don’t rule out someone because you didn’t feel a spark straight away, give things a chance to develop.
10. Make eye contact
Not only does eye contact create a bond between yourself and your date but it also shows you are giving them your full attention.
11. Relax and stop with the analysis
Don’t spend the date mentally ticking off your dating checklist. Be present, enjoy their company, loosen up and have fun.
After the date
12. Forget the three-day rule
You hit it off? Great, time to get another date in the dairy. Forget about the ‘three day rule’ and drop your date a line the next day to get something sorted.
13. Say Thank You
Even if you don’t plan on seeing one again its respectful to thank them for the date and wish them luck on their search.
If we were all that little bit more respectful and kind with one another, dating would be so much easier.