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Can you remember a time when you were on a blind date? How was it? Did you have a good time or did you force yourself to forget it because it was too traumatizing?

If it’s the latter, you may console yourself with the thought that a bad blind date can happen to anyone. Even to famous celebrities.

It doesn’t mean you should swear off blind dating forever. You just need to know the do’s and don’ts so you can be successful the next time someone sets you up on a blind date.

Do: Set Your Expectations to Neutral

Yes, it’s hard not to have expectations, but you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment if you’re expecting the woman of your dreams or prince charming.

When you expect too much and get disappointed early in the meeting, you’re already setting the tone for the rest of the date. The best way to go about it is to just think of it like you’re meeting a friend.

You also can’t be too negative or assume you are about to embark on the worst case scenario. If you keep thinking it’s going to be a waste of time, then it probably will be. Give yourself and your date a chance to enjoy each other’s company.

Even if this blind date doesn’t end up in a romantic relationship, the two of you may end up becoming friends. And that’s always a good thing.

Do: Wear Something Smart but also Sensible

Remember, you’re meeting someone you don’t know. If you’re overdressed or under-dressed, you’ll make him or her feel uncomfortable. What you want is for your date to notice that you’ve made the effort to look presentable.

As per other advice on how to conduct a first date , if you’re a woman, don’t go for any outfit that makes you feel self-conscious. That means skip the 6-inch heels which might make you stumble or prevent you from taking a comfortable walk alongside your date, as well as the tiny dress that you need to pull down and adjust every few minutes.

If you’re a guy, avoid overly casual clothes. You can still wear something that looks great and feels comfortable without going the t-shirt and thongs route. The most important thing is to wear something appropriate for a first date.

Do: Be Honest and Humble

If you find your date very attractive, there’s no need to tell lies, embellish any stories about yourself, or even brag about yourself just so you can impress him or her. Of course, you want to make sure your date finds you appealing in return, but being fake or over the top isn’t the way to do that.

This might just cause your date to feel intimidated or see you as arrogant and up yourself.
Be warm and interesting but above all, be yourself. It’s ok to talk about your achievements or successes in life, as long as it is appropriate to the conversation and not thrown in for the sake of showing off.

It’s going to be difficult for you later on if you started a relationship based on lies or exaggerations. Sooner or later, he or she is going to find out the truth.

Never forget that when it comes to relationships, lying is always a deal breaker.

Do: Plan the Meeting Place

Since this is a blind date, you don’t want to be stuck in an upscale restaurant for a full course dinner with someone who may turn out to be not your type. Try to meet somewhere casual and public, like a cafe or a busy park.

If you’re tired of coffee shops and parks, arrange to meet in a place where you’re sure you’ll enjoy yourself. That way, if your date’s uninteresting, you can still have a great time playing pool or eating your favorite food.

Do: Listen Carefully

Some people just want to talk about themselves. Use this opportunity to learn about your date even if you can’t see yourself being in a relationship with him or her.

Every person has a story to tell. You may be missing out on an epic tale if you’re too busy talking about yourself. And your date is unlikely to want to see you again if you appear disinterested in who he or she is.

Don’t: Be Rude

That means, don’t keep your date waiting. If you’re going to be late, call or find a way to let your date know and make sure he or she knows how sorry you are.

Also, don’t pay attention to your phone beeping when you receive a text message or email. Full attention need to be focused on your date.

Another thing to keep in mind: don’t make the assumption that your date is looking for sex. Treat your date with the utmost respect. Even if he or she isn’t the closest thing to your ideal mate, don’t forget that this person has taken the time – time he or she could have spent doing something else – to go on a date with you.

Don’t: Ask Very Personal Questions

Yes, you want to get to know him or her better but don’t put your date on the spot. You can ask about common interests. But it’s probably not a good idea to grill your date about his or her past relationships.

The same thing also applies to you. Even if you’re a naturally very open person, try to be cautious about giving away too much information about yourself.

Take things slow. Leave something for the succeeding dates if you’re lucky enough to hit it off with your blind date. If the two of you are going to be seeing more of each other down the track, there will be plenty of time to learn more about the intimate details of each other’s lives.

Don’t: Leave Your Date Hanging

Did you enjoy your date? If you did, let the guy or girl know that you would love to meet again. It doesn’t have to be those exact words, just make sure you convey the idea at the end of the date or soon after. No game playing!

But if you didn’t enjoy the date, don’t make promises to call or agree to a second date. If you are the type of person who is uncomfortable to hurt someone’s feelings, you can still end the date on a high note without giving him or her false hope.

Don’t: Be Judgemental

Love at first sight is great but don’t be too quick to dismiss someone if you don’t feel an instant connection.

You may find that your impression of your date a second time around is quite different to the first, and much better.

It’s also a bad idea to compare your date to an ex. In the first place, you shouldn’t even be going on a blind date if you’re still not over your ex. Try to keep an open mind and don’t be too critical.

Don’t: Be Too Intense

You don’t want to appear like you’re cross-examining your date. If you’re a naturally curious person, then stick to open-ended questions. That way, you’re leaving the door open for your date to tell more about himself or herself.

You also don’t want to stare too hard or to make your date feel like you’re trying to get to the depths of his or her soul. Relax and smile. Remember, this is just a date. Yes, there are some wonderful romantic ideas for anniversaries out there, but you should save those for actual anniversaries rather than scaring someone off with overly romantic gestures on a first date.

The lead-up to a blind date can be exciting but daunting, as you will probably be feeling some anxiety combined with hopes for finding a special someone.

These are natural feelings.

But if you follow these guidelines in preparation for your blind date, you can help to minimize your anxiety as well as the possibility of disappointment, which will help you to either discover something meaningful in this particular person, or otherwise continue on your dating path with others if this one doesn’t work out.

By Dr. Carissa Coulston

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