Your first date was a success! What about Date 2?

If you’ve followed my article on how to handle first dates, you’ve already made it clear to your match that they’ve impressed you enough to score a second date.  You may even have an plan to meet again. That’s awesome!

You’d be surprised how many first dates don’t lead anywhere, simply because of misunderstandings and misinterpretations!

The main reason first dates can be so tricky is because we approach them as a really big deal. We often go buy a new dress. We do our hair. We spend hours getting ready… All of these preparations are great to make us feel good about ourselves! They also increase the expectations that everything will be perfect and the date will turn out to be Prince Charming himself.

If we could only focus on what’s really important – simply meeting new people with a view to determine if they may be potentially good matches – life and dating would be much simpler.

How to keep the first dates stress-free.

What if you went on a date thinking only about three things:

  1. Am I having fun?
  2. Do I want to get to know this person better?
  3. Do we have enough in common for me to want to spend more time with them?

Even when your ultimate objective is to find the love of your life, a date free of pressures and expectations is more likely to be enjoyable and establish a good foundation for the future.

Let’s say you met your date on a dating site and the first meeting was short, interesting and fun. More importantly both of you thought you had enough in common to see each other again..

Now planning a second date is in itself a great test of compatibility so don’t rush through it.

You can tell a lot about a person  just by the conversation around your second date. You’ll know how outgoing they are by their suggestions of good places to explore. You’ll know how decisive they are by how much they contribute with ideas and opinions. You’ll also learn more about their interests and their true intentions. Not to mention how much they are into you by how frequently and openly they communicate.

Be mindful that they will also learn a lot about you from the way you respond to their suggestions. Indecisiveness, tendency to go with whatever is on the table are not very attractive traits so it’s ok (more than ok even) to have a clear opinion and not be afraid to offer a counter proposal.

Date 2 made easy!

Timing: Even though you already know a bit about each other , it’s still good to keep things relatively short. A daytime date focused on a shared interest – ideally active and fun – would be a great way to get to know each other in a different setting than a classic coffee shop or over a glass of wine.

Venues: The zoo or botanical gardens, a walk by the harbour, paint-balling or a new art gallery can all be great locations for a second date because:

a. they don’t involve alcohol

b. they offer plenty of opportunities for conversation

c. they can reveal a lot about one’s interests and passions

Discussion Topics: You’ve already made a good first impression so this is a chance for you to share more of your real self. This is a time where you can test if your date truly shares your beliefs about life and love, what are their passions and dreams and where do they see their life going.

At this point, many people ask for a ‘cheat sheet’ of things to say but I’m not a big fan of scripted conversations. Two people trying to get to know each other will have their own vibe, their own interests and any scenarios that don’t match the situation will feel really lame.

If you’re really shy and your conversation skills are a bit rusty, my favorite place to go is the amazing ’36 questions to fall in love’. This is a well known study that produced great results in helping people get to know each other better in a short period of time. If you are not yet ready to fall head over heels, practice with some of the simpler questions and have some good answers available. It works like magic.

Credit Josh Haner/The New York Times

What not to talk about

Obviously, this is NOT where you talk incessantly about your ex or how heartbroken and damaged you still feel after your last relationship. It goes without saying that any emotional attachment to a former relationship is the best sign you are not available for a new one. It may also be too soon to announce your desire to be married within the year or to have 5 children.

A good balance of give and take is critical here. If you spend your time putting your date on the spot with lots and lots of questions but not reveal anything about you, they may start to get uncomfortable. The same goes for talking too much about yourself.

What to focus on

As you are now learning more and more about each other, you can ask more personal questions related to what’s really important to you in a future partner.

Problem with most of us is that we don’t quite know what we are looking for. We usually know what we don’t want and that’s a good start.

Ideally, when you start ‘committed dating’ ((ie. looking for a serious relationship as opposed to just for fun), you define your relationship deal breakers. This is what is non-negotiable for you in a future relationship. In my previous post I called these requirements.

If things are going well at this point and the chemistry is through the roof, things can get a little difficult to manage.

Knowing your requirements is the best way to balance your heart (the physical attraction) with your head (your rational mind that usually waves big red flags in your face when things are not going as planned). Allow yourself to see these flags – and act on those instincts! I promise you will thank yourself later!

For the rest of the time, just focus on enjoying yourself and keep it fun. Nerves are normal to start with (and that makes dating exciting) but once the basics are covered, you’re on your way to date no. 3!

Watch this space to learn how to prepare for that.