Recently, I found out about MoorLove, a dating website for people of African descent in the US and I thought it was such an interesting opportunity to meet friends and potential partners who share a similar culture with me. Of course I wanted to share MoorLove with you all because that’s what friends are for, but also I thought about how many failed dates I’ve been on and I wanted to share some of my past experiences + tips on how to have a ‘good’ first date, whether you meet the person on a dating website or in real life. Hopefully you find these tips useful and feel free to share some of the things you do to have a successful first date!
When I went on my first date with the person who is now my good friend and business partner, it wasn’t even really a date. It was supposed to be a casual outing to our local steakhouse that wouldn’t exceed thirty minutes. For whatever reason, the place was jam-packed so we ended up having a night on the town to our local bar and restaurant and then from there, it went on to a night of unexpected fun and dancing. We started out at a small and quaint restaurant, grabbed some drinks and food, and had the best conversation.
I was open and honest, at ease and felt relaxed. This was not a date. I had absolutely no interest in making it so at the time. When we finished eating, we decided to take the rest of the outing to the closest club, for more drinks which turned into us dancing the night away not long after our arrival. I had the best time, and out of all the real “scheduled” dates I did go on, this was the best non- date I’ve ever been on in my entire life to this day.
I say all this to say that dating in 2016 is slowly growing into a rarity especially with the lackluster of anticipated courting amongst the African American community. When it comes to that turmoil, there’s nothing that can be more frustrating than finally being asked out on a date, only to not fully enjoy yourself. To avoid such tumultuous situations, here are some tips that will help you have a good first date:
Be mindful when indulging into heavy topics (religion, politics, etc.)
It’s absolutely alright to indulge in sensitive subject matters on the first date. Why, you may ask? Because I, for one, like to get everything out the way on the first date. I want to know what kind of person you are, your dislikes, your likes, your beliefs, your disbeliefs, your ticks, etc. It’s absolutely okay to ask these questions to get to know the individual sitting across from you. After all, that is what the first date is intended for, correct? The problem people often come across while indulging in heavy topics is, when they meet someone who has differing views from them, one of them often tends to be disrespectful while expressing themselves or ignorant to the other person’s sensitivity in the matter. You must remain open-minded to hearing out their view and why they feel the way they do. As a friend whom I’ll refer to “Mr. X” likes to tell me, “get to know the person and get it all out the way.” Get to know the person fast. I wanna know everything so I can know if this is something that can be overlooked and taken into the next date, or if this absolutely something I can’t handle now. Because for me, I wanna know everything and if I leave the date thinking it was just okay because I didn’t dive deep into really trying to get a handle on who they are, then I probably won’t think anything of it to ask them out again. Asking them about what kind of movies they like, etc. is one thing, but really getting to know where their mind is at is a whole other level that can make me want to either pursue them more and think nothing of it ever again.”
Ladies: the first date is not an audition for marriage.
Often times, women tend to take the first date as an opportunity to “interview” men as their potential future husbands. This is not that. Do not lay the pressures of the first date to an interview for the position of your future spouse. This will in turn, push the man away. Enjoy the first date. When it’s natural and organic, things often flow better and lead to better situations arising. In many situations, listening and watching his actions will give you all the answers you need to decide if you want to go forth with this person and if they’d eventually make a good fit. Screening a man on the first date will often lead to him either being turned off as he will eventually realize what you’re doing, or cause you to miss out on what could’ve been an amazing relationship (be it platonic or more) due to being judgmental too soon. In other words, take your time and enjoy the first date. It is, after all, the first date; don’t ruin the potential for more to come!
Be open-minded to trying new things / Don’t be judgmental.
Open-mindedness is the practice of being receptive to new ideas, views, and knowledge of others beliefs. When one is being open-minded, they are receptive and willing to try new things and hear new ideas and visions. The benefits of being open-minded especially on a first date are that you can experience change often times for the better and witness new experiences you couldn’t have been a part of had you not been receptive to giving things a chance. Being honest is another benefit of being open-minded. To enjoy your first date and potentially move that on to more, you must be willing to be honest with yourself and what you are looking for and speak on that when asked. By being honest, it gives your date an opportunity to openly accept what is before them up front without any surprises later on and vice versa. Don’t put your date in a confined box. By doing this, you limit someone who you may not have considered to be your “type” who may actually give you everything you are looking for and more. Many times situations have arisen where some of the best experiences I’ve had, were with people I’d never thought twice would fulfill my romantic needs and/or expectations in the first place. Give things and people a shot. Dating is just like trying new food— the first time you tried your favorite food, you had no idea if you’d even like it to begin with and now, here you are, with a favorite. Approach dating the same way.
Men: This is not an opportunity to be a perverse, touchy feely person. Have respect.
Often times, I’ve been on dates where after at least thirty minutes go by, the man feels he can be comfortable enough to put his hands on me in places I don’t approve of. Whether you’re the one paying for the entire meal/outing or not, this is not an invitation for you to put your hands anywhere on me. Me includes my thigh, my buttocks, my knee, my breast, or my waist unless the woman gives you clear and precise vibes that it is okay for you to maneuver into her bubble. If you’re not sure if the vibes call for that, then don’t do it. Paying for an outing or a meal does not give you rights to claiming the woman as your property. In other words, respect the lady you’re with and treat her as such. You’ll know when she wants you to engage with her and touch her. We always make it obvious.
Ladies: Always have your own money, even if he assures you from the beginning that he’s paying.
I always find that you should never be under the assumption that the man will always willingly pay for you. First, it’s unattractive to the man to rudely assume the man always has the bill, whether he’s a gentleman or not. Second, you never know when situations arise, God forbid and even worse, though inauspicious situations happen where a cheap man comes into play, you never want to be caught slipping. I personally feel, that if you’re dating a gentleman, he should at least pay for the first date. You can always offer to tip and if he is indeed a gentleman, he may not allow it but will take note, and to him, that gives you brownie points. If there’s more dates, you should opt in to pay for the next. We live in 2016 and I often find it very hypocritical for the woman to scream to the world that we want equality but then want to simmer down when it comes to antiquated ideologies like who pays for the dates. Women have careers, have education, and have children. If we can do those things and demand equality, then we need to be prepared to foot the bill as reciprocity.
Give your best presentation of yourself.
You want to be honest and put your best foot forward at the same time on the first date. You want to be cocky and confident, which should not be confused with brash and arrogant. You want to honestly portray yourself in the best light giving your date a nice taste and feel for who you truly are because fake is easily picked up. When you set your best foot forward, it leaves an impressionable mark that gives your first date something to look forward to for the second and third dates, which will in turn make them anticipate seeing you again.
Try not to go to a place where you’ve been before.
Avoid going to a place where you know a lot of people. This often serves as distractions. I would suggest going to a place where the two of you never have been before to experience for the first time. For one, it shows you’ve put thought into your date and for two, if the relationship flourishes into something later, you’ll always have your first experience at the location you’ve never been to reminisce upon. While on this subject, I would also suggest not going to the movies. It’s harder to get to know someone on a first date at the movies and it’s pretty outdated. Instead, do something on your first date that involves a combination of things to do where you can sit down quietly and hold a conversation and get a better perspective of each other, i.e. a walk in the park, a restaurant, museum, the list goes on!
Lastly, don’t be nervous. Always exude confidence even if it’s fake. Eventually, you’ll begin to believe in yourself. Take a deep breath no matter how nervous you are and always remain honest and humble. When your date sees this, it’ll make you admirable and you’ll begin to feel more comfortable with one another resulting into a wonderful first date!
This post is sponsored by MoorLove. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support me!