First Date Tips: Ease On In

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Online Dating,Single Life

When you’re planning a first date the biggest question is whether or not to commit to a meal versus just meeting for drinks. Well, I have the perfect solution! Make plans to meet at a restaurant that has a bar… and make reservations for dinner at that restaurant about an hour after you are to meet. If there is chemistry and conversation during the drink portion and you’re interested in getting to know your date more, then go ahead and follow the hostess to your table. If you don’t want to continue the date, then thank your date for his or her time and leave.

That said: you must check-in with the hostess ahead of time and let the restaurant know that the reservation is contingent upon the date going well and that you may end up canceling. Arrange a gesture or look that you will give the hostess if you want them to come and get you when it’s time, or not. (Or you can also walk-in without a reservation and if you are enjoying your time at the bar then go over to the hostess stand to ask for a table. If the wait is too long and you still want to stay, then order food to the bar.)

It may sound like a big hassle, but it solves a lot of issues about how to plan a date when you aren’t sure if you’re going to like the other person. You want options and you want to eliminate awkwardness. If you’re unsure when the time comes to go to your table, then take the plunge and sit down for dinner — sometimes people have nerves and the transition to the next stage of the date should help.

 

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First Date Tips: Don’t Talk About That!

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Single Life

Seriously, sometimes you need to just stop talking. It’s easy to get on to topics that are not really first date material — you’re vibe-ing and finding commonalities and having nice rapport, and it’s awkward to stop a conversation that’s flowing even when you know it’s not appropriate. So try and avoid the following topics and prevent the conversation from going there, before it gets to that point. This is a brief list:

  • Exes: husbands, wives, fiances, boyfriends, girlfriends (stating when your last relationship ended/how long it lasted, how long you were married/when you got divorced is fine, just no details as to why it ended)
  • Death: you just lost your grandmother, and that is awful, but it makes you sad… so perhaps don’t mention it. If you must, just don’t expand upon it
  • Drama: with your job, family, friends — Do. Not. Go. There.
  • Talking sh*t: whether your date knows who you’re talking about or not
  • Finances: ’nuff said

Of course there are other topics that are personal to you and your story that you may not want to share. Joke about topics that are off-limits and say that you’d love to talk more about a topic if and when you’re on a future date. There are so many more positive and engaging topics you can talk about without bringing up too much about your past, or bringing in too much negativity.

It’s perfectly acceptable to briefly mention when your last break-up occurred, or what your political affiliation is, or to play Jewish Geography for a minute, even if you find you have people in common you don’t like (see “talking shit” above). Make sure you are listening to the answers after you ask a question because that should organically keep the conversation going and not turn it into a job interview.

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First Date Tips: Confirming Plans

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Single Life

Before a first date you should call to confirm plans. Why? Well, it’s good practice to make sure you are both on the same page regarding when and where… and it also makes a good impression and shows your date that you’re thoughtful. But, it’s not the time to begin chatting and getting to know each other! Save that for the date itself.

Call your date, let them know where you made reservations or where you’re going, agree on a time to pick them up or meet, and end by saying you hope they’re having a good day. Oh — and don’t forget to say you’re looking forward to seeing them! Make this call either the night before or the day of, about 8 hours prior to the date.

If your date has an issue with the place or time, play it cool and be flexible — you never know what someone’s day has been like (hopefully you had the discussions about food aversions/allergies/preferences and what time was best for you both when you made plans originally, but things can change). If anything, your phone call will help turn their day around as they start thinking about your date!

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First Date Tips: Patterns

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

We all have dating patterns — some good and some bad. Identifying which is which is difficult. Take a look at your last bunch of first dates, and at your last few relationships. What was similar? What was different? Not just their looks, or education level, or religious level, or jobs, or even their personality… but how you felt.

For instance, when you got those butterflies in your stomach on certain dates, did those translate into serious relationships or did the excitement crash and burn after a few weeks? Many people are searching for a “feeling” on a first date, and when they don’t get that feeling they write off the person before giving them a chance. If that is your pattern, then I suggest giving some of the dates more time: if the first date was pretty good and all you’re really missing is that “feeling” then go on a second date and see if the comfort level of another meeting will help the connection.

This is an intangible feeling, but we tend to put a strong weight behind having it or not. Remember though — more couples tend to be successful when their relationship is built on commonalities rather than lust; and butterflies tend to be an indication of lust.

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First Date Tips: Go Together or Meet There?

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Dear Tamar,

I have a first date coming up with a JDater I really like. Should I offer to pick her up to show her how much effort I’m putting into this, and how chivalrous I am? Or will she be put off by the idea because we haven’t met before?

-First Date Driver

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear First Date Driver,

I think you answered your own question! Do both! Tell your date you would like to pick her up if she is comfortable with that idea, but that you understand if she would rather meet at the venue. Then just make sure to tell her that you look forward to meeting her at the restaurant.

If she accepts your offer, do not call or text from outside, but rather get out of the car and ring her doorbell and escort her to your car where you will both open and close her door (if you live in a city where taking public transportation is the norm then do not meet her at the nearest subway stop… but go to her home and then escort her to the subway where you can swipe your card for the both of you).

If she rejects the offer, don’t take it personally. Get to the restaurant five minutes early, check in with the hostess, and then wait for your date outside. That way you can alleviate the initial nervousness of not knowing where your date will be waiting and if you’re going to recognize her from her photos!

Good luck!

 

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Setting a Standard

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Single Life

When you go on a first date with a JDater that you are super-excited about (as in, more than normal), it’s typical to pull out all the stops and do things a little more special than other first dates. Men could have flowers delivered to your date’s house earlier in the day, you could pick your date up in a chauffeured car when you normally would’ve met your date at the venue, you could make reservations at a highly sought-after restaurant rather than just grabbing drinks somewhere convenient, you could slip the waitress your credit card while on a trip to the bathroom, you could arrange for champagne to be waiting for you at the private booth in the back with rose petals strewn about, and you could leave your phone on silent and not check it all night. Women could arrange to get their hair done, have a facial, get waxed, nails manicured and pedicured, makeup professionally applied, wearing a new dress with height-appropriate heels, and act as though they are as easy-going and flexible as possible even though they are jumping out of their skin with excitement and anxiety.

Any or all of these things are bound to impress your date and leave them feeling incredibly special. Granted, you still need to fill the date with chemistry and conversation, but the wooing is well on its way. The problem? Unless you plan on repeating, matching, and upping your romantic gestures on every date, then you’ve set a precedent that will be difficult to match. And even if you do continue to roll out the red carpet then eventually real-life sets in and you will see each other without the shiny bells and whistles.

So here’s the conundrum: do you or do you not make that extra effort because you won’t be able to keep it going (no one can!)? You should make that effort, let the person know you think they are worth it! And once you’re sitting down and having flirty conversation you should simply come clean — “I was really excited about tonight so I took the time to primp/plan/etc., and I’m so happy it’s going well… just don’t expect me to look like I have it all together all the time!” Of course, that doesn’t mean you should show up to a date in your sweats after being snobby about the location.

If you like someone you should make some effort every time to show them that they are worth the effort. It takes five minutes to make a reservation so you don’t have to pick up your date and ask “So where should we go?” And it takes five minutes to apply a fresh face of makeup. These small acts let your date know they are special.

 

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Phone Calls Before a First Date

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Once you’ve met on JDate (or any other way) and decide to make plans there will be a certain amount of communication that will be necessary. The trick is to know when to stop that communication.

I recommend just a 10 minute phone call to plan a first date followed by another 10 minute phone call the night before the date to confirm the plans. Why? Because you don’t want to spend too much time on the phone getting to know each other anymore than you actually do already, prior to your first date. Spending hours talking on the phone is exhilarating and exciting but it creates an expectation of someone you haven’t yet met. You’re putting unneeded pressure on yourselves.

You already know so much about each other when you’ve met on JDate — and then you exchange a few emails, and finally you trade phone numbers with the intent on making plans to meet. If you then spend time on the phone getting to know each other even further, you’re in effect turning the first date into a third date due to how much you already know about the other… except you’ve never met.

And what happens if you don’t end up liking each other? Now you’ve not only spent your time on the phone, but you’ve confided things to someone who you may not care to ever see again. You opened up to someone you now don’t even want a second date with. Instead, spend just a few minutes asking how their day/week is going, making plans, and exchanging pleasantries. Tell them how much you are looking forward to the date and how you can’t wait to get to know them better. And then get off the phone. Let the excitement gather along with the suspense of wondering whether or not you will hit it off once you meet face-to-face.

Slow it down. Enjoy the process. And don’t text.

 

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Save the Drama for Your Mama

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

When you are newly dating someone it is NOT the time to discuss the drama in your life, nor is it the time to whine and complain about things in your life. I’m not saying to make everything sound wonderful and perfect, but don’t turn a date negative with your stories about how your friends are fighting, or your siblings aren’t speaking to each other, or your job sucks, or… or… or…

There’s the normal vent about your computer crashing before you had a chance to back it up one last time, but spend about a minute on things like that and move on. That type of vent is something everyone can relate to and empathize with — and may even have advice to help you. If the dating turns into a serious relationship then you will have plenty of time to be the sounding board for drama!


Backing Up Your First Date Claims

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

You know how it is… you’re on a first date and you are telling the person sitting across from you all the positive things going on in your life that will impress them, possibly even embellishing things. You make your job sound exciting with a promotion just around the corner, or you portray your family as tight-knit and easy-going, or mention all your best friends and your packed social life.

And your date is impressed by the idea that you have it together and so you get a second date, and a third, and then eventually you are meshing your date and your reality… which is a job you hate and a promotion you’ve been waiting for a year already, or a family that is just as drama-filled as every other family out there, and a few great friends but with most nights spent at home alone (which is perfectly fine).

None of these things are abnormal, but when you’ve presented yourself as something other than what you are, then you’re going to have a lot of ‘splaining to do, Lucy! All kidding aside, you are going to have to find a way to bridge the gap between what you portrayed your life as… and what the reality is.

Instead, mix the two together from the start. Everyone embellishes, just do so in a way that you won’t bite you in the tuchus later. For example: “I don’t love where I am with my career right now, but I’m excited that a promotion is coming soon” and “I love my family and we are always there for each other at a moment’s notice, but sometimes they make me want to beat my head against a wall!” and “I’ve learned that friendships are quantity or quality, and I truly adore my friends and their loyalty… and the trouble we get into together!”


Did You Get Asked Out This Morning for This Weekend?

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Did you receive an email, text, or (hopefully) a phone call today asking you out on a date this weekend? Kinda last minute, right? I mean, even if you are available, should you admit it and accept the offer? Does that make you seem too eager? Or, are you matching the momentum?

Well, it depends…

If you only met on JDate earlier this week and you’ve been exchanging emails and you’re making plans, then keep the momentum going and accept the date. After all, you both are free, so why not make plans with each other?

If you have been chatting here and there over the course of more than a few weeks, making and canceling plans, texting sporadically, and basically being as non-committal as possible, then perhaps pass on this one. You can counter with an offer to get together the following weekend to see if they are serious about going on a date or not, otherwise it sounds like they ran into Friday without plans for the weekend and are looking to fill it.

And lastly, if you don’t see this prospect with a serious potential future, but there’s attraction and you have nothing else to do, then say yes and enjoy yourself. However, be aware of two things: 1) be open to actually liking this person because it could happen, and 2) make sure you don’t hurt their feelings if they like you and were hoping for more.