President Boyd K. Packer said, “When you are old enough, you ought to start dating. It is good for young men and young women to learn to know and to appreciate one another. It is good for you to go to games and dances and picnics, to do all of the young things. We encourage our young people to date. We encourage you to set high standards of dating.”

photo credit: Benjamin Patch Photography

Dating helps us get to know another person better and should improve our relationship with them. Dating also can teach you a lot about yourself. As being a good date is a skill that each of us should improve on, even when you’re married, I have included helpful tips below to help you be a better date.

Before the date:

photo credit: Benjamin Patch Photography

Plan the ensemble

Your date activity/event determines your outfit. Dress for the occasion and dress appropriately and comfortably. Doing your hair and makeup beforehand whether it is the night before or in the morning saves a lot of time and stress. Then when the time comes, all you need to do is a quick touch-up.

Confirm the details

Talk to your date to confirm details of the date. Whether you planned the date or not, reconfirm the time, place, important information, etc. with your date out of respect so you both feel prepared and excited for the date. It is preferred that you do it the day before the date or sooner.

Send a text

Tell your date that you’re looking forward to the date! This calms down nerves and gets them excited for the date. If you’re meeting for pizza, you could text them, “I can’t wait for pizza at Grimaldi’s tonight! But I’m looking forward more to having a good time getting to know you. :-)” This also shows that you’re comfortable with being vulnerable.

Determine to bring your best self

We hear often that we should just “be ourselves” in job interviews, first dates, family reunions, etc. Frankly, that is terrible advice because there is no scalability. Life coach Matthew Hussey said, “When someone says ‘be yourself’ all it does is give us validation for staying the same and not taking risks. It’s a polite way of saying, ‘be who you are now, don’t explore being more evolved, advanced, or daring.” Rather, genuinely, BE YOUR BEST SELF. Remember, no one else can be a better you or even a best version of you than yourself. Believe that.

Relax

Seriously. It’s just a date. It’s not the end of the world. Even if it’s a bad date, it’s not the end of the world. I even put on a playlist to pump me up for the date! When it wasn’t a good date, I play it again to pump me up! You better believe it includes “Crazy in Love” by Beyonce on there. If yours doesn’t, include it right now.

Be on time

Whether you’re meeting them at a place, one of you is picking up the other, or you are picking up your date, do not be late. Leave earlier. Don’t plan other appointments or priorities close to it. If you are going to be late, call them ahead and let them know with an ETA (estimated time arrival).

During the date:

photo credit: Benjamin Patch Photography

Offer to pay

A circulating video on Facebook from life coach Matthew Hussey about paying on the first date caught my attention a couple years ago.  He asked an audience of women gathered together for relationship help, “Who should pay on the date?” and they unanimously said, “MEN!” Hussey laughed and then said, “If you go on a date with a guy, and you don’t offer to pay your share, you weren’t taught right. If you go on a date, and he doesn’t pay, he wasn’t taught right.”

He then goes on to explain that he would treat his partner like he would treat his best friend and not apply a different standard to his partner than his best friend. If someone doesn’t offer to pay, it sends the message that this is the nicest this person will ever be and they’re not even trying to pay. You wouldn’t say to your best friend, “Whenever we go out, how about you always pay!” No! Hussey suggests that you both be team players in this.

You, of course, don’t need to fight the other person to pay for the bill. At least offer to pay your share. Even if you can’t pay for all of it, suggest paying for some. If they still offer to pay for you after you offered, let them. Trying speaks volumes and nothing is more attractive.

Ask good questions about them

People love to talk about themselves. Yes, even the shy ones. Even on a first date, ask questions that give people permission to open up emotionally. A great way to do this is to ask emotional questions, not logical questions. Logical questions are,

“Where did grow up?”

“What do you do?”

“How many siblings do you have?”

You get the idea.

Logical questions aren’t bad but emotional questions really allow the other person to express themselves and it gives you more interesting things to talk about with each other. Emotional questions are,

“Why is Post Malone your favorite artist?”

“What’s your favorite part about working at the smoothie shop?”

“What makes you love Los Angeles more than other cities?”

In a Huffington Post article, author Glennon Doyle Melton said, ‘Questions are like gifts — it’s the thought behind them that the receiver really FEELS. We have to know the receiver to give the right gift and to ask the right question. Generic gifts and questions are all right, but personal gifts and questions feel better. Love is specific, I think. It’s an art. The more attention and time you give to your questions, the more beautiful the answers become.”

After the date:

photo credit: Benjamin Patch Photography

Thank your date

Remember to thank your date in person when they do something good. Thank them for dinner. Thank them for being courteous. Thank them for walking you to the car and to the door. You get the idea. Expressing gratitude leaves a lasting impression. So does not expressing it, but not a good one.

Suggest another date idea

Send them a text after the date thanking them and recommend a date idea. This shows that you did have a good time with them enough to see them again and it helps because you suggested another date with an idea. It will only be smoother sailing from here.

photo credit: Benjamin Patch Photography

So, first date, second date, or last date, make it a good one!

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