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September 2011

20 Years of First Dates – Part 1: First Impressions

In honor of 20 years of setting up first dates between singles around the world, It’s Just Lunch recently produced a survey based on our experiences—trust us, we’ve had a lot! From first impressions, to chemistry, to timing, we’ll share our findings with you over the next few months and give you the inside scoop on tips that are timeless, tips that are played-out, and modern tips that may add a fresh edge to your love life. Enjoy!

Did you know that you have approximately 20 minutes to make a good impression – or avoid a bad one – on a first date? The reason is it takes about that much time for singles to decide whether or not to see someone again. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to pull out all the stops in the first 20 minutes in order to impress someone; however, it does mean that there are two little things you can do to give yourself an advantage and keep a date intrigued.

Ask Questions, Remember the Golden Rule

So what is a first date all about again? It’s a chance to get to know someone. And you certainly can’t get to know someone without asking questions. Therefore, don’t spend the whole date talking about you. It’s so easy these days to get bogged down in what’s going on in our own lives, that we don’t take time to sincerely ask what’s going on with other people’s lives. The key is, be self-aware; if you know you enjoy talking a lot, take a chance to shift the conversation. If you know you’re shy, then this is your chance to speak up. Confidence is key.

Also, there is nothing more unattractive than being rude or dismissive of those serving you coffee, lunch or dinner, driving you in a cab, and so on. Remember the Golden Rule when you’re out with a new companion; trust us, your date will notice and react positively.

Avoid Deal Breakers, Avoid Deals

According to another set of first impression criteria, It’s Just Lunch respondents came back at us with a few deal breakers that could derail the potential for a second date. Among them; answering a phone call or text, drinking too much, being late, and not having any interests in common. Unless it’s an absolute emergency, put the phone away during a date— you can’t get to know someone if your distracted by calls and texts. Keep the alcohol use to a minimum and don’t show up late (and whatever you do, do not show up late and drunk.) However the biggest deal breaker is, not surprisingly, a lack of common interests. Sometimes, you might find you don’t have anything in common with your date, and that’s ok. Relax, and don’t push it.

Also, a new trend in dating is deciding on whether or not to bring an online coupon, such as a Groupon or Living Social deal to a first date. Our advice? Ditch it. Only 20% of our respondents said it’s a smart idea. We agree with the majority that it looks both tacky and cheap.

So, Would You Like to Have Dinner Again…

You managed to avoid first impression pitfalls, had great conversation, and had a pretty good first date; so what next? Arranging date number two has often been the source of mystery and speculation, among both men and women, for a long time. On one hand you don’t want to seem to aloof, but on the other you don’t want to look desperate. We’ll cover the ins-and-outs of what makes a first date great later in our series, but the bottom line is: if you think a date went well, then simply call and ask for a second! The vast majority of our respondents – 65% of them – said picking up the phone and asking is the best way to secure a second date. Also, the “wait two days rule” is very 1990s. Why not the next day? Now is as good a time as any.