4 Ways To Make Sure Your First Date Doesn't Suck

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first date advice

Skip dinner dates and create first date "shared experiences" instead.

No matter how well you get along with someone online, everyone knows that nothing really happens until you get in front of each other. That's when you'll find out if there is enough chemistry to lead to real romance, and that can put a lot of pressure on both people.

But your first meeting with someone from a dating website will already be off to a great start if you remember just one thing: this isn't even a date. That's right, one of the best pieces of first date advice is to understand that the first time you take things offline and into the real world, you're simply sharing an experience.

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This alone should take the pressure off right away. Here's how to make that happen.

1. Skip the dinner or "let's meet for coffee" first date clichés.

Now that you're in the mindset that this first meeting is an experience, not an interview, where do you go? Let him know what a fun date looks like for you, and ask him what it means to him. Discuss this early on so you both have a picture of what would be an enjoyable time out for both of you.

What you don't want to do is the default dinner or coffee date, because sitting opposite each other across a table feels like an interview. Instead, pick a place that will let you walk and talk at the same time, and that provides plenty of conversation points. It's the connection between the two of you that's important, not what you do.

Do something cheap: the park, zoo, a promenade, the museum. All of these will give you ample things to look at and chat about, all while creating a fun, shared experience that will be memorable for both of you... and opens the door for a heart connection.

2. Share feelings, not just information.

If you're worried you might not say the right things to him, don't. Connecting with a man is not about cerebral conversation and impressing him with your wit. It's about letting him see your feeling, feminine self in all its glory.

When he experiences you experiencing your feelings, it intrigues him. He sees you clearly comfortable being yourself, which allows him to relax and let his guard down, as well. When you only convey thoughts rather than feelings, you end up creating a non-romantic situation. You might connect with him on an intellectual level, but you won't connect with his heart.

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This doesn't mean you need to hide how smart you are. On the contrary, it means you share more of what you love about your life. In order to have a sensory experience about something, you have to know about it.

So, if you're a biochemist, express how passionate you are about work making a difference in people's lives — whatever it is about your career that keeps you motivated. When you stick to feelings, you keep the meeting from turning into an interview.

3. Keep the conversation light and easy going.

One of the things that makes first meetings so nerve-wracking is how much stock we place in them. So, don't. Even though it might be hard not to think about the future and whether this first might be the one to end all first meetings, stay grounded in the present moment.

It might be tempting to discuss things like marriage and children, especially when you've had good rapport with someone online. But let him lead any future talk. Take the pressure off yourself by letting him initiate any such discussions. Doing so gives you the advantage of truly seeing where his mind is at and what he thinks of you.

He'll find it refreshing that you're not pummeling him with questions (there's that interview again), and instead he'll feel that he can just relax and get to know you. That's when he'll feel safe enough to open his heart.

4. Allow him to kiss you if you like him.

If you want to see him again, don't end the evening with a handshake or a hug. If you like him, let him kiss you. Just let it happen. Make that your rule instead of the no-kiss rule, because you want to establish a romantic feel to your interactions with him from the outset.

But what if you're not really feeling it for him? I say always give a guy at least two dates (especially since the first one isn't really a date). If you decide he really isn't for you, keep it simple and gracious. Say, "Thank you for a nice time. I enjoyed meeting you, but I feel we're not a match."

Every man who comes into your life has something to teach you, and every one gets you a step closer to your Mr. Right.

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To learn specific words and body language that will help you connect with a man's heart and build a romantic foundation with him from the very beginning, subscribe to Rori's free relationship advice e-newsletter