Ditch the dinner reservations and make a date that involves an activity to keep the pressure off. Ditch the dinner reservations and make a date that involves an activity to keep the pressure off.

First dates can be seriously tricky business, so take this expert advice:

Don't talk only (or mostly) about yourself.
So you’ve traveled to every continent, do something really important/prestigious, have a bunch of funny stories exhibiting how you can kill the one-liners. The problem is, no one likes to be talked at—even if it’s really impressive. There can be a rush to get out all of the positive things about yourself on the first date to try to keep the other person interested. But if you’re so concerned about how you’re coming across, you’re not actually connecting with the other person…which, you know, is sort of what the date is about.

 

Don't be difficult to pin down.
If your next free night is three weeks from this Tuesday, maybe this isn’t the best time in your life to be starting to date someone.

Don't go out to dinner.
First of all, if you’re a guy this can start to add up fast. But more than that, dinner is a high-pressure situation where you’re forced to keep up the conversation because there are no other distractions. This doesn’t exactly lend itself to you putting your best foot forward. Instead of dinner (or even drinks) plan an activity date.

Ask job interview questions.
The things we talk about on a first date tend to do with where we grew up, went to school, or what we do for a living…all things that are painful to talk about repeatedly and don’t actually get to the crux of who a person is. If you want your first date to be fun and stand out, ask things more along the lines of: what is the creepiest thing you’ve ever done? What’s the closest you’ve been to getting arrested? Have discussions about getting along with siblings/parents, what you think makes a good movie, whether brunch is awesome or an over priced breakfast. Really have a conversation together, don’t just take turns reciting your resumes.

Don't start planning your wedding.
So the date went well? Awesome. But don’t let your fantasies get the best of you and convince yourself that this is The One. The truth is, after one date—even a great one—you just don’t know someone that well yet. So stay open minded to both the good qualities and the bad instead of painting a full picture of the person you just met based on your very limited information.

Amber Madison is a Manhattan-based relationship expert and dating coach. She is the author of ‘Are All Guys Assholes?’ for which she traveled the country, spoke to over 1,000 men and discovered that the answer to this question is no. You can follow her on Twitter @ambermadi.

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