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Image / Editorial

The dos and don’ts of a first date (and how to get a second date out of it)

by Geraldine Carton
05th Oct 2018

Let’s be real, the idea of going on a first date can be terrifying. Yes, there’s excitement and butterflies at the prospect of finding your one true love, but dating also requires you to put yourself out there; to show a bit of vulnerability; and maybe even involves meeting-up with a complete stranger who you’ve only just “swiped right” for on a dating app…

Even at the best of times, it’s daunting.

However, as much as we may want to impress (and if all goes well, to secure a second date), all too often we fall down at a few basic hurdles. Here you’ll find a list of the most important dating dos and don’ts, a must-read for any singletons currently out looking for that almighty L-O-V-E.


Offer to buy a round

Generosity is a very appealing trait; stinginess is not. What’s more, now that it’s 2018, the onus is no longer on the man to cover the entire cost of a heterosexual date. Regardless of the gender dynamic though, it’s generally nice if both sides make some gesture of generosity throughout the date; be it by buying a round of drinks, coffees, or a treat of some sort if you’re out and about during the day.

Put simply, whoever said “you can’t buy love”, has never been on a first date.

Make an effort

Dress up a bit, show the other person that you’ve made an effort for them. There’s no need to go overboard (only wear what actually makes you feel comfortable), but by showing them that you’ve invested somewhat into the date (be it by wearing your favourite Power Ranger jumper, or simply washing your hair), you’re giving your date a little vote of confidence and making them feel special. Naww.

Related: The best places to go on a first date in Ireland


Many first-daters can find themselves so mentally preoccupied with thinking of witting remarks and jokes, that they don’t actually listen to a word their date is saying. Showing you’re interested in what the other person has to say is of paramount importance if you want this relationship to go anywhere, so take heed of the fact that you have two ears and one mouth, and act accordingly. Besides, no one likes a constant monologuer.

Brush your teeth before

There’s nothing like a whiff of toilet breath to put you off the scent of love, am I right? With this in mind, for the love of God, brush your teeth before you leave the house. Maybe even bring a travel sized toothbrush and toothpaste in your bag while you’re at it, god forbid you find yourself munching on something unexpectedly garlicky throughout the date…

Be open to doing something different

Whether that’s a comedy show or a browse around a local flea market, incorporating something a bit different activity-wise into your date will not only provide a talking point, but it could also ensure you have some much-needed distraction if the conversation falls a bit flat…

Be confident

There’s nothing more attractive who is comfortable in themselves. This doesn’t mean you need to brag about your every success and accomplishment (oh god, no. Don’t do that), but having a bit of self-assurance will inadvertently let your date know that you are someone worth valuing. 


Don’t go to the cinema

Whilst a cinema can be a lovely activity for later dates down the line, the reality of spending a first date at the cinema; sitting side by side in silence in a dark room with someone you don’t know very well, is not an ideal situation for a first date.

No-no conversation topics

When it comes to a first date it’s best to keep conversation light, relatively speaking. Of course, always be genuine and true to yourself, but maybe save the heavy stuff for when you get to know the person better.

What’s more, try to stay away the topic of past relationships and the dreaded “So, why are you single?” probe. You’ll either come across too keen, or you may find yourself going down a dark hole of bitterness and heartbreak, which can really kill the mood.

Related: How First Dates Ireland led to my real life romance

Stay away from your phone

If you are in any way serious about getting to know this person, then try to refrain from scrolling through your phone. More importantly, DEFINITELY don’t even think about swiping through dating apps whilst in their presence. Being on your phone unnecessarily throughout your date just tells the other person that you are bored by their company, and also highlights a distinct lack of manners on your part.

Don’t order food for the other person

Whilst you might think you’ll come across as suave, self-assured and “in the know” if you order food on behalf of your date without asking, the reality is that people only do this in movies, and if you do so in real life then you’ll look like a 10/10 jerk.

By all, means offer recommendations if you know the restaurant well, but let your date make the decision for themselves. Also, do not under any circumstances sneer at their choice. Food snobs are the (brat)wurst.

Don’t get too drunk

Slurring, stumbling and – in very extreme cases –vomiting, as a result of the amount of alcohol you have consumed is a sure-fire way to make your date run a mile and never contact you again.

That being said, dates can be daunting and nerve-wracking, so whilst a glass (or two) of some variant of Dutch courage is totally fine, just stick within the realm of your own limits.


Check out our “date catalogue”  for great first date ideas around Ireland.

Related articles:

Ten places in Ireland to go for a ‘creative date’… Read here

The best places in Ireland for wine and cheese… Read here