Category Archives: Love and Dating Tips

How to be Romantic – Ten Easy Tips

If you’re like most readers of this article, you’re a little embarrassed to admit that you need to read this article.  But the truth is no one is born a romantic.  Romance is an art.  It’s passed down from the generations, and it’s learned through study and practice.  Although some of the rules of romanticism change with the times, there are some basic time-tested love romance tips that can help anyone become more romantic – almost instantly.

  1. Smile.  Nothing works better in beginning a communication or setting a mood than a nice smile.  It’s silent, it’s painless.  It’s an instant communication tool.  Women, especially, love communication of any kind.  A smile is easy, and it can say a lot.
  2. Eye contact.  Like a smile, eye contact is critical body language that aids in romanticism.  A friend once told me, “I knew Paul was the man for me because when we talked, he really looked at me.”
  3.  Attentiveness.  This is a broader category of which eye contact is a part, but being attentive means more.  Attentiveness is about focusing on being with the one you’re with.  This category includes everything from listening when she speaks to opening doors.  Attentiveness means you anticipate her needs and make sure she’s comfortable.  Statements like, “Are you warm enough?” or “How’s your salad?” show you care about her.  Attentiveness takes practice.  It is the opposite of self-centeredness.  Practice it.
  4. Touch.  Touching can say more than words, and it can emphasize attentiveness, interest, and communication.  A light touch on the hand when asking a question, or a brush of her arm before pointing out something of interest is easy, and yes, kind of romantic, as is your hand on the small of a woman’s back as you guide her through a door or a crowd of people.  Touch is one thing.  Gropes, squeezes, pushing, pinching may be playful, but they are not romantic.
  5. Conversation.  A romantic wants to know about the person he is with.  Did she have a nice day?  How was work? Were the kids good for you today?  A subset of conversation is “romantic conversation.”  Romantic conversations typically include compliments, or personal topics that you would only share with someone you really care about.  Of course you should preface those conversations with the words, “This is something I feel comfortable enough with you to share…”
  6. Simple Gifts or Acts of Caring.  A romantic takes time to plan for random acts of kindness.  It can be as simple as buying flowers or bringing candy for no special reason, little hugs, kisses on the check, hand-holding, a glance, a wink.  Women love to be shown that you care.  It’s not enough for them to KNOW you love them.  Women need to be shown through simple gifts and acts of caring.
  7. Cleanliness.  It is impossible to be romantic if you are physically unclean or your apartment or home is a mess.  If you truly want to be romantic, make sure you choose a time when you are not unshaven, smelly, or dirty.  Although there is a certain sexiness to “sweaty,” there is no romanticism in stench.
  8. That leads to the eighth tip: don’t confuse being sexy with being romantic. Although romance and sex are intimately entwined, you can be romantic without it leading up to sex.  In fact, romance is an ongoing activity that will build a stock pile of good will for you that will probably lead to more sex.  But you can’t expect to be romantic ONLY when you want to have sex.  Women see through that quickly, and they are not fooled.
  9. Do something unexpected.  In our busy society it can be difficult to be spontaneous, but spontaneity is romantic.   Take a chance and introduce yourself to that pretty lady on the elevator.  “Excuse me, but I think you’re very pretty, and I apologize for being so forward, but I really wanted to meet you.  My name is John.”  Sure, she might call security, but if not, you’ve had a romantic moment.  It’s a little riskier than the,”Hey,” with a head nod, but far more romantic.  If you’re married, do something spontaneous like make dinner reservations and surprise your spouse, or arrange for a relative to take the kids out so you can enjoy a Saturday afternoon at home alone.
  10. The last rule of romanticism: sincerity.  You have to be sincere.  It’s hard to become a die-hard romantic overnight.  You also can’t be romantic with everyone.  The key to a good relationship is finding someone you WANT to be romantic with.  When you keep in mind the basics, you just might find that it’s easy.  And if it’s not, take the cue that she’s just not the one for you.

Tips for Online Dating

Online dating has earned a dubious reputation, having been spoofed in dozens of sitcoms and glamorized in half a dozen movies. Unfortunately, it usually doesn’t work quite as smoothly as in You’ve Got Mail, but thankfully it’s not usually quite as dramatic as Ugly Betty (where, once again, two life-long enemies are set up) either. We were fortunate enough to have found each other through online dating, and trust us: if we can do it, anyone can.

You probably already know someone who has a dating horror story that started off with “I met this guy/girl online…” or “I was bored and went to check out…”. If you believe the local evening news, every kidnapping or rape stems from meeting someone online; and if you believe Stone Phillips, everyone on the Internet is looking to hook up with a 13-year-old.

If you have the fortitude to brave the Online Dating waters, we have some tips for you:

Tips for Online Dating – Tip #1: Be Sincere

Guys:    Listen to the words of a certain fictitious doctor, Dr. Gregory House: “Everybody lies.” When it comes to online dating, you usually don’t find “morbidly obese woman with bad acne and a laugh that resembles a choking weasel”. Instead, you find women with “more to love” who “place importance on skin care” and “prefer drama to comedy”. It really pays to assume the worst, and leave it to her to prove otherwise.

Gals:     The guys will lie too, but if there is less lying, that will leave less to explain, or apologize for, when you actually MIRL. Don’t use a picture from graduation when you have one from your recent reunion. If you have recently dyed, cut, or grown-out your hair, be sure to mention it. If you lost weight recently (or found the weight someone else lost), mention it. You don’t have to go into your whole weight or hair history, but if you no longer look exactly like your photo, it would be wise to mention it.

Tips for Online Dating – Tip #2: Be Smart

Guys:    A little tact goes a long way. It’s probably a bad idea to start off with something like, “I like your profile. How long did it take you to paste your head on that model’s body?” Don’t let your cynicism come out in your e-mail. It’s just counterproductive.

Don’t pass final judgment until you’ve had at least one real conversation, preferably in person but by telephone is okay, too. Sometimes personality just doesn’t come through in e-mails or instant messages. This goes both ways! If you tend to use a lot of dry humor or sarcasm, this advice goes double.

Gals:     Everyone has their own unique writing and emoticon style. Write as you would speak, and let the chips fall where they may. You can try to be someone else, try to sound more (or less) intelligent than you actually are, but it is hard to keep up the act forever—especially if you are chatting to more than one person at a time. Your best bet is to be yourself. If he doesn’t like it, he will stop emailing—leaving you to find the real man of your dreams.

But don’t forget to take some things on faith. If it sounds like it should be sarcasm, it probably is, even if there is no smiley attached to it.

Tips for Online Dating – Tip #3: Be Safe

Guys:    Keep your dates in public, and try to avoid allowing her to find out where you live. The last thing you want is a psycho hose beast following you everywhere you go. So scrub your Facebook profile, edit your MySpace, and keep track of your wallet when you’re out on a date. Clean out your car so she can’t stash your power bill in her purse. Your phone number is usually okay, since you can always block harassing phone calls.

Gals:     Absolutely never give out your address to anyone you meet over the Internet. The most specific you should be is your home city (or, for large cities, the general area: the Bronx, North Dallas, East LA, etc.). Even “I live across the street from a Starbucks” might be too specific. Your new friend would only have to scour all the Starbucks in the area and find you—and yes, some people have that kind of time on their hands.

A good friend was set up by eHarmony. He wasn’t her type, so she decided to let him down easy. But she had made the mistake of inviting him over to her house at the end of the first date to meet her roommate (and get her roommate’s opinion). When he emailed for a second date, she told him that she was sick. He showed up that afternoon at her doorstep with a bowl of soup and some books to read during her convalescence. Sweet? Yes. A little creepy? Absolutely! You may not attract a psycho stalker, but you may still find you’re in for more than you bargained for.

By now you might be wondering why people bother with online dating, but the truth is that the games people play in online dating happen in other dating venues, too. Using online dating services isn’t really any less safe than any other method, and you are now armed with the tips for online dating from those who “won” at it to make sure you don’t take any unnecessary risks. May you find everything you are looking for!

Teen Love Tips: The Do’s and Don’ts of Dating

A lot happens between the time you turn 13 and the day you turn 20. You transition from being dependent on your parents for most everything (like cash) to being an interdependent member of society. You learn that the things that made you giggle in elementary school (like tongue kissing) are no longer so funny. You learn Geometry.

But the teen years, while full of learning, can also be a very lonely time. I know all too well—I didn’t go on my first date until I was 19 and in college. In high school, I was the “just a friend” that everyone came to ask for relationship advice, but never for a date.

Sometimes it seems like everyone but you is hooking up. Television, music, movies, the face-sucking in the halls between classes—everything today is screaming for you to find someone to share a few months with until “someone better” comes along.

But life isn’t all chocolate and roses when you have someone to hook up with between classes, either—in fact, despite what Hallmark would have you believe, chocolate and roses are rarely involved. Many things happen in relationships that are unplanned and make you wish sometimes you were single again.

The best approach to any relationship, especially a romantic one, is to go slow and think with your head (for you guys, that means the one above your shoulders).

If you are looking for a new or better relationship, you need to first hammer out your motives. Why do you want to have someone in your life right now?

Are you thinking of asking that girl to Homecoming or the Prom? Why her? Is there someone special, or would just about anyone do? Are you looking for a long-term relationship, or just a date to the dance? Are you looking for a distraction? Are you simply scared of being alone? Are you looking to fill a void in your life? Are you just looking for someone to hang out with, a friend (with or without benefits)? Are you just looking for a hook up and nothing more?

Before trying to figure out who “we” are, you need to know who “I” am first. Answering some of the questions as to motive will go a long way to doing just that. Some adults don’t ever know who they are outside of a relationship. If you can do that much, you’ll be way ahead of the curve, and it will only help you later in life.

Sometime at the beginning of the relationship (when you both decide that it’s more than “just a date for Homecoming”), you both need to sit down and decide how far physically you both are willing to go. How long will you wait to kiss? How long until you have sex? Are you going to have sex at all?

Hammering all this out at the beginning will cut down on any confusion later. If he knows you are planning to wait until you are married, or in college, or Prom night, or the third month of the relationship at the beginning, he or she has no excuse to get upset when you won’t “go all the way” until already discussed.

Also very important during this first serious discussion is whether or not you are going to be monogamous. Being “exclusive” can have its advantages, but it can also be tricky—especially in high school when everyone is telling you you are too young to have such a serious relationship. Defining the relationship as soon as you can also will cut down on confusion—if your date thinks you’re being exclusive, but you just want a “friend with benefits,” that can only cause problems.

About sex—if you choose to have sex (remember—no one has ever regretted waiting, but many have regretted having sex too soon)—be smart about it. There’s no reason for everyone to see you on daytime talk shows, bawling your eyes out saying, “Maury, I know this is the seventh guy I’ve brought to you, but my baby needs her daddy and I’m sure this is the one!” (another good reason for monogamy). Birth control and disease protection are the responsibility of both people. I know it’s not as fun, but it’s better than having to spend your entire paycheck on diapers or medications.

Finally, remember that if you need to hide this relationship, or anything you’re doing inside the relationship, from anyone—parents, friends, whoever—it may not be the best thing. The odds are steeply against you two being the next Romeo and Juliet (or even sticking together past the first semester of college), and sneaking around usually leads to more drama than it’s worth.

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t be a victim of relationship abuse (either physical, mental, or emotional). Don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll change him or her, he or she didn’t mean it, or—the most heinous lie he or she can tell you—you deserved it. Don’t stay in the abusive relationship even if he or she apologizes. Let them deal with their issues on their own, and get out of the relationship immediately to protect yourself. I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, or what you did—you deserve better than a boy or girl who hits you, degrades you, or forces you to do things you don’t want to do, even if he or she does tell you they love you.

Love Relationship Advice – The Basics

With so much love relationship advice out there today, it gets completely confusing to know what you should and should not do to make it work.  While each romantic partnership is delightfully unique, there is some basic love relationship advice that applies to people of all ages and circumstances who want successful relationships.

Do Unto Others…

The most basic relationship advice goes back to our childhood – do unto others as you would like them to do to you.  Although the golden rule is simple, it is also the essence of successful relationships.  With all the complex love relationship advice in magazines, on television and in books, the bottom line is we all want to be treated equally and nicely.

Be Honest

Lying is never a solid foundation to build a relationship and being honest is one of the most important pieces of love relationship advice.  From small fibs to major lies, they all get in the way of having a positive, rewarding relationship.  Always be honest about your likes, dislikes, opinions and desires from the very beginning.  How can you find the right person if you are misrepresenting yourself?

For example, if your romantic interest loves to go dancing and you hate it, be honest from the start.  It doesn’t have to mean you won’t go dancing once in awhile to please your partner.  However, when you don’t want to go every weekend your partner will understand why and you will be better able to work out a compromise.

Big lies, such as your financial circumstances or marital status, are certain to catch up with you and should never be held back to share later.  Be upfront on all your relationships from the start so you can attract people who understand and appreciate your unique circumstances.

Demand honesty from your partner by allowing them to speak their mind and express their opinions.  If you argue with everything your partner says, it discourages open communication.  You can communicate whether you agree or disagree with their opinion but you still need to respect it.

Respect Each Other

One of the best pieces of love relationship advice is to respect each other.  Nothing breaks up a relationship more quickly than disrespect.  Publicly criticizing your partner or privately picking apart all the little things they do will not endear you to your significant other.

On the other hand, never tolerate disrespect from your partner.  If your partner publicly humiliates you or seems displeased by everything you do, let them know it .

Know Each Other

Often people in relationships give their partner what they think they want and not what they actually need.  The best way to find out what your partner desires in a relationship is to talk openly about their needs and your own.

Observe your partner to pick up on unspoken nuances.  Does your partner like to go to bed early?  If so, planning romantic dates at 10 in the evening may not be the best idea.  Is your partner the quiet type?  If that is the case, they might not appreciate going to parties every weekend.  Let each other know what you like and don’t like to develop a lifestyle that works for both of you and that doesn’t cater to the preferences of one partner over the other.

Communication Over Arguments

While emotions can run high in any relationship, arguing will never solve your problems.  Angry words and accusations tear apart everything you have built up together.  Although it is love relationship advice that is frequently stated, it is true that talking about your issues is the only way you can attempt to resolve them.

If you are too angry to talk rationally, step away from the situation for awhile and return when you are ready to have a meaningful conversation and exchange ideas.  Remember, a monologue doesn’t allow your partner any input to improve the situation.  Communicate your own feelings clearly and quietly and be open to listening to suggestions from your partner.  If your partner is too angry to hold a conversation, encourage them to talk about the issues during a calmer time.

Love Each Other Every Day

The easiest tidbit of love relationship advice you will ever get is to simply love each other.  Kiss each other good morning when you wake up and kiss each other good night before bed.  Embrace one another throughout the day and make sure you say you love each other every day.  As simple as this sounds, the reassurance of touch and a few kind words can keep a relationship going indefinitely.  Amidst all the other responsibilities we have in life, a few minutes in each other’s arms is like a mini-vacation from the world.  Always share a peaceful oasis together and your relationship will thrive.

Although relationships can be tough, the rewards are bountiful. By following this common sense love relationship advice, you can improve your relationship with your partner.  After all, when you eliminate the little nightmares along the way, sharing your love with that special someone can be a dream come true.

First Date Ideas For Fantastic Fun

Did you finally score that long-awaited first date with that special someone?  Your first date will is the first romantic impression you make, so be creative and fun to leave a lasting impression on that special someone.  No matter what your budget or circumstances, you can plan an impressive, exciting first date that will make your partner want to go out on a second date.  Let’s start by discussing first dates that just don’t make the grade.

First Date Ideas to Avoid

There are a few first dates that really aren’t a good idea, despite their growing popularity.  For example, a ride to 7-11 is just a pit stop, not a first date.  Granted you can now buy wine and sandwiches at convenience stores, but that still does not make this a date destination.

Fast food restaurants are another no-no.  While these affordable options are ideal once you get to know that special someone, they don’t work for a first date.

Parties with your friends is great once you have a rapport established with that special someone, but they they should be avoided in the beginning.  After all, partying friends can be unpredictable and you don’t want that special someone to get the wrong impression.  Also, parties don’t give you that quiet time together to get to know one another.

Finally, while adventure is an awesome element to include on a first date, don’t venture all the way out there on that thought.  How do you know that special someone will appreciate bungee jumping or skydiving?  You may wind up terrorizing them and sending them home.  Get to know that special someone before you plan outrageous adventures that could actually drive your romantic interest away.

Budget First Date Ideas

Okay, so you’re not Trump but you want to impress that lovely lady anyway.  Now that we’ve eliminated 7-11 and fast food restaurants, what is a guy (or girl) to do?

If you have a dog, a long walk around the park is a great way to show your compassionate side and take a cozy stroll with that someone special.  If you don’t, plan an afternoon picnic and show off how well you make sandwiches and pack wine.  Less expensive than dinner out, a picnic at the park or beach is a memorable, pleasant first date idea.  If you have a few bucks, you can take her for ice cream or coffee after lunch so you look thoughtful and generous.

Another budget first date idea is to make dinner at home and rent a great movie.  If you are a terrible cook, buy prepared foods from the deli to warm up or ask mom to cook for you so you can heat it up later.  Even if you don’t have a home theater, you can dim the lights and make popcorn to deliver an authentic movie experience.

If your special someone appreciates cultural experiences, there are always free museums, art galleries and library shows to appreciate.  Check your local paper for ideas and tickets – though many of these places are free, some of them require tickets on a first come, first served basis.  After spending a day of cultural pursuits, it is alright to end the date with a stop at a fast food restaurant for an inexpensive, quick bite to eat.

Adventurous First Date Ideas

You don’t have to go sky diving or bungee jumping to offer adventure on your first date, unless you are sure your partner will appreciate these activities.  You can rent a canoe or kayak and take your special someone on a nature tour of the lake, river or bay where you live.  Bring along a picnic lunch so you can stop in a secluded spot and share some goodies together on the water.

Remember your youth and take your romantic interest bowling, roller skating or ice skating.  Even if you aren’t as good as you used to be, you are sure to have a lot of laughs together.

Hiking is another adventurous first date idea that gives you a chance to talk and explore the world together.  Plan a day on the trails where you can get to know each other better in a natural, unaffected environment.

Romantic First Date Ideas

If budget isn’t your first concern, there are many romantic first dates you can plan to impress that special someone.  Consider a dinner cruise on the bay where you can dance under the stars.  Take that special someone to a renowned restaurant to enjoy fine dining and then go to a play afterwards.  Spend the day at an amusement park and enjoy the rides like kids, then win her an oversized stuffed animal at one of the games.  Use your imagination and let it take both of you away to a romantic, memorable destination.

First Dates to Seal the Deal

Get to know that special someone before you ask for a first date so you become familiar with their preferences.  Although you should like the activities you plan for your first date, keep your romantic interest in mind when you choose what to do.  Select activities that will impress that special someone and you are sure to have a successful first date.  For example, if your date loves to dance, take her to a fancy nightclub.  If your date is an avid fisherman, take him out on a fishing charter boat for the day.

When you are thoughtful about the likes and dislikes of that special someone, you are sure to plan a first date to seal the deal.

The most important thing to remember during your first date, no matter where you go, is to relax and have fun and your partner is sure to join you.

Gaining The Advantage: Dating Tips For Women

Men are always moaning about how hard women are to figure out but little do they know that they are just as difficult, if not more so in some instances! With mood swings, feigned disinterest and over-exaggerated masculinity, you would think that they would take a good long look in the mirror before accusing us of being difficult! That may well be why it is called the dating game!

However, when it comes to dating them, things do not always go to plan. This may be because of the above to a certain extent but, believe it or not, sometimes we throw the curve balls. When things go wrong after the first date, there can be a whole host of reasons for it. Most of the time, though, it is simply because both the girl and the guy put on an act and thus put each other off! Following the dating tips outlined below will not only make your dates more enjoyable, they will also increase your chances of getting a second date!

Be Yourself!

Too many women put on an act as soon as they are on a date, and this is one of the major reasons why the guy never calls. There is absolutely no need for it. The guy was attracted to you for a reason and got to know you a little when you first spoke so he must actually like you. If he already likes you then you do not need to transform into someone else. Not only will that confuse him and make him think that he may have made the wrong decision, but you will not be completely true to yourself. You have nothing to lose by being yourself. If he does not like you when he gets to know you then that is his problem and you deserve someone better!

Be Honest About Your Feelings

By honest, I do not mean too full on. Declaring your love to him after one date is a little strong and best avoided, but if he asks you whether or not you like him then do not change the subject or start laughing nervously. Just answer him! Guys are more straightforward than we think at times and if he has asked you then he wants to know! Take it at face value.

Just Relax

Relaxing will make the date flow along nicely because it will put him at his ease. You, in turn, are less likely to have a nervous breakdown and can enjoy yourself. If you adhere to this tip then you will find it much, much easier to follow the two tips above. Being uptight or nervous can make the date itself hard work and put your man on edge, and this will make conversation difficult as well as cutting the possibilities of a second date to very slim indeed!

Finally, Stop Trying To Read Him And Just Go With The Flow

Do not worry about what your date is doing, just concentrate on having a good time yourself. Trying to read his mood will dampen yours. If he likes you then you should be able to tell, and if you cannot tell either way then just relax. At the end of the day, a first date does not mean anything in the scheme of things and so you have nothing to lose by being yourself. Just relax, go with the flow and see what happens!

Dating Tips for Men: Preparing for a Date

When it comes to successful dating sometimes the biggest problem is where to start.  Sadly the “art” of courtship flew out the window centuries ago.  Social protocol is a dying art, and very few young men take etiquette classes.

If you’re lucky, your mother gave you some dating tips growing up.  But if you’re like most boys, you didn’t pay attention.

Although most women didn’t take dating classes either, they’ve watched a lot of sappy movies, and they do have expectations.  Managing those expectations is the first rule of successful dating.

Assuming you like the person you’ve asked to go on a date, the success begins before she even says she’ll go out with you.  Before you ask, come up with a couple of ideas of where you’d like to take her.  There are certain things that qualify as a “date” and certain things that don’t.

Meeting your buddies at a bar to play pool is not a date.  Hooking up later that night is not a date.  A date is just that – a point in the future when you will get together specifically for the purpose of spending time together.  It’s something you put on your calendar.  It’s something you look forward to and possibly stress about.  It’s something you plan and prepare for.

When your date says “Yes” offer up a few options of things to do.  You can certainly ask her if she has any specific ideas of her own, but you can take some control up front by having some ideas prepared.  Women like a man who takes charge.  So offer her a few options – dinner or a concert or some bowling – and then plan the rest of the date accordingly.

Now that you know what you’re doing and you’ve given yourself a few days to prepare, spend a little time getting ready.  In dating, appearance and cleanliness count. Big time.  That means both you and your car.  Clean up your car, vacuum it, get rid of the trash, and wash it.  Your car is the first thing a woman sees, and although make and model don’t necessarily count, cleanliness does.  Pay for a professional to do the job if you have to.  Just make sure your car is clean.

This may sound obvious, but take a shower before the date.  Even if you had one in the morning or at the gym after work, take a date shower.  Use a body wash or something that gives you a clean, mellow scent. Don’t go overboard on fragrance.  Bad cologne can kill a date, and fragrance allergies are common.   It’s best to skip the cologne, get a clean shave, and use a mouthwash.  Pay attention to the details.  Hands are very important in dating.  Get the goop out from under your nails, and if you’re not up for a professional manicure, at least trim and clean your nails and use a little lotion to make your hands soft to the touch.

When you pick your clothes for a date, etch it up a notch.  Don’t wear the same thing you’d wear if you were staying home to watch football.  Women like men who know how to dress.  That doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit and tie, but a nice pair of slacks or a dress shirt, particularly in a color that compliments your eyes, can go a long way.  Most women think shoes are important, so wear a nice pair.  Shoes should match your belt.  Don’t ask why, just do it.

If you need to get something new to wear and you need a little help, ask your mother or your sister or a female co-worker you can trust.  You can always ask the sales clerk for her opinion, but that can be risky.  One good rule: stay away from the sale rack.  As tempting as 75 percent off might be, that plaid monstrosity didn’t sell in the first place for a reason.  Just remember, you can’t look like a million bucks if you only spend $14.95.

On the day of your date, give your date a call early in the day to let her know you’re looking forward to the evening.  If you really want to impress her, send a small bouquet of flowers or a simple plant.  Even a text message may be appropriate.  Keep in mind that you do like this girl, and a little romance might seem a little weird at first, but with most women it can go a long way.

When you pick up your date (at her door – no honking from the drive), be sure to smile and compliment her on how she looks.  After all, she probably took twice as long as you did to get ready for this occasion.

Old fashioned manners, like opening car doors are important, and complimenting a woman on her hair or her clothes is a great way to start a conversation and see what she thinks about you.  Since she may also be nervous, don’t take it too hard if she doesn’t quickly return the compliment or say something about how your shirt matches your eyes.

A first date should be about sharing information and finding out more about each other.  It’s natural to be nervous.  Although you shouldn’t expect to hear someone’s deepest, darkest secrets, and you really shouldn’t share yours, the basic facts about yourself should be fair game for sharing.

If you’re not a stellar conversationalist, stick to the basics: ask her about her family or her hometown, her job or her apartment.   Beginning a date with a nice drive to your location and small talk can help each of you relax and can start the date off on the right foot.

If you’re going to a restaurant or another public place, do your best to focus on your date.  Even if the hostess or waitress is hot, resist the urge to flirt.  Flirting with waitresses or visibly watching other women (particularly while your date is telling you something about herself) is a bad idea.  Just don’t do it.

If conversation goes well, your date is probably going well.  If it seems stifled or difficult, or if you’re finding it hard to stay focused or are quickly becoming bored, do your best to smile and stay focused.

If you’re lucky, your date will be interesting, it will flow freely, you’ll laugh easily with one another, and nature will take over from there.

If you’re unlucky (let’s face it, there’s a 50-50 chance), do your best to remember it’s just a date, and as dull as she might be she’s still a human being, so at least be nice.  Resist the urge to fill a vacuum of silence with excessive drinking, and even if she turns out to be an obnoxious bore, be a gentleman.

First dates don’t have to last too long.  Even if they are going well, it’s not a bad idea to end the date after about three hours.   A leisurely dinner, followed by a short walk or drive, perhaps a cup of coffee or some ice cream, and then an early return to her door is a respectable first date.

If you had a good time, hold her hand and look her in the eyes and tell her so.  Her response will dictate whether you should even think of going in for the good night kiss or even a peck on the cheek.

No matter how you feel or how good the chemistry is between you, long make-out sessions or spending the night on a first date is a really bad idea for reasons far too numerous to go into here.

Remember successful dating is a series of baby steps.  Taking it slow is age-old advice that exists for a reason.  If you concentrate on the little things as they come, keep your expectations in check, and don’t worry about the “end” result, dating can be fun.