The world of romance is fast-paced and high-pressure, and the rules of the dating scene are not all intuitive. For the man setting foot into the realm of relationships for the first time in a while, or even for the first time ever, making a meaningful first impression on a potential partner can be a near-impossible accomplishment. With the proper preparation and a few handy tips though, every man can master the art of dating.
Sure, not every date will be the beginning of a significant romance, but by following the advice we've collected on this list, a guy increases the odds of forming a real, romantic connection with that certain special someone across the table.
1. Be prepared
While his public image should be a true reflection of his personality, a man's date needs to know that this night together is important to both parties. On the outside, preparing for a date is a matter of ticking the boxes: plan the evening, make reservations ahead of time, prepare some unique gifts, pick appropriate clothing, and put time into gussying up before heading out. But preparing for a date is not only a physical process; if he is not mentally prepared for the occasion, it will show. A man should give himself time to get in the right headspace for his date, and be honest with himself if the timing isn't right.
2. Know what you really want
In this day and age, dating takes many shapes and forms. A man may not be interested in settling into a committed relationship when he goes out on a date, or he may have specific preferences in his partner that need to be met. That's why it's vital that he reflects on what he is hoping to get out of his date and that he communicates those intentions. If his date has different intentions or goals that conflict with his own, a guy is better off ending the relationship before things get messy. He shouldn't prolong a doomed relationship or ruin a potential happy ending because he never took stock of his own intentions.
3. Don't expect too much
Again, not every date will lead to a serious relationship. By putting too much pressure on a date, a man sets himself up for disappointment. Worse, he may feel pressured to force a weak connection or develop an unhealthy dependence on an ill-fitted suitor. It's okay if the first date a man goes on doesn't lead to true love, so don't let high expectations develop into inappropriate, unhinged behaviors. Date with an open mind, but don't expect perfection every time.
4. Avoid "ex" conversation
A date, especially a first or second date, is a time to get to know a person how they are today. Over-concern with past dating history not only leaves a poor impression on a date, but a man might just find himself unearthing their potential partner's worst baggage. Love makes people emotional and intense. At best, discussing exes will make everyone at the table uncomfortable; at worst, someone will judge the other for the choices they made at their most irrational. If his date has important information regarding an ex to share, they will share it. A man wins no favors forcing the conversation.
5. Manners make the man
Actions speak louder than words, so a man should take care to send the right messages to his date. Small but considerate behaviors, such as holding a door or chewing with a closed mouth, won't go unnoticed by a date, and can make the difference between a second date or getting dumped in the rain. Manners show that a man respects the comfort and well-being of his partner, so should always be a top priority when on a date.
6. Don't do all the talking
Some people are naturally more talkative than others. A man should be aware if he is doing all the talking though - he might be dominating the conversation or somehow putting off his partner. Ask questions that will get everyone involved in the conversation. Not only will this allow a man to learn more about their date, but it shows that he values their perspective and ideas. Some people might not be comfortable directing the conversation, so make sure they don't leave the evening feeling overshadowed.
7. Be honest, don't play games
If a man is searching for a genuine connection, playing games is a waste of time for everyone involved. Being upfront with a date about goals, beliefs, and intentions can help everyone decide if a connection is probable or even possible. If there is any doubt that this relationship is not meant to be, then it's better to be aware of that from the beginning, before strong emotions have formed and hearts can break.
8. Seek feedback
If a man is unsure of how the date went or whether he can expect a text in the future, ask friends for their honest feedback. While his pals may not be completely unbiased, third parties usually have a better vantage point of a situation than anyone directly involved. Perhaps a comment could have been misinterpreted or the date seemed wholly disinterested in a relationship; by talking to his peers, a guy can learn from these experiences and either a) remedy the situation, or b) try to do better next time. Even an unsuccessful date can be a valuable learning experience.
9. Go with the flow
Obsessing about what went wrong or what could have been only leads to further pain. After the date has ended, relax and continue with life. If he is interested in pursuing the relationship, a man can certainly reach out to their partner to make future plans, but whatever comes of this invitation, he should be content to go with the flow. If this date leads to an exciting new relationship, that's fantastic! If not, all a man can do is shrug his shoulders and move on. Don't let a bad date be the end of the world; remember that there are always more fish in the sea.
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