Be honest with yourself and your date. Breathe. Have fun.
Sounds super generic right and like the most obvious things, and I'm sure plenty of Takes about this already, but here's MINE. Most people on first dates are racked with nerves. How many times have you checked whether or not your shirt or dress looks cute enough. Is your hair curled or straightened the right way? How are you going to say hi, do you hug or shake hands? What if they think you're ugly, what if YOU think THEY'RE ugly, what do you do? If the date goes well, do you kiss at the end? What if it rains? What if they hate what you had planned? So. Many. Questions.
I'm a HUGE planner, literally, all of these thoughts and more will go through my head before, during, and after the date. I'm the type who wants to try and play out every scenario and be prepared in case ANYTHING happens. But in reality, there are just some things you can't prepare for. To me, the best approach to a first date, is a completely open one, no expectations, go with the flow, and follow your own "heart" (at the risk of sounding cheesy). The most important thing to do is to be true to yourself.
Allow you and your date to react genuinely to what's happening and what you say to each other. It may or may not work, but that's the whole point of the date. Most people think they have to put on fronts to impress someone, and this isn't to say that you shouldn't be trying to put your best foot forward, but do your best to stay true to yourself. If they are totally obsessed with their cat and you absolutely detest them because some stray gave you rabies 10 years ago, let them know, don't be like "oh yea they can be cute!". And TELL THEM the story behind it. That's how you get to know people. That's how you can truly assess whether or not this is someone you want to continue getting to know on subsequent dates. Don't be afraid to tell people things. Everyone has opinions, and everyone (*should) have reasons for their opinions, and these are okay to share.
1. I went to hang out with a guy, we had good conversations over text, he was funny, turned out we went to the same high school but we were different years so we never talked, had a lot in common, he was into music and produced his own so I was really interested in seeing what he did.. we met, the first thing he did was stick his tongue down my throat. Now I didn't appreciate that, whatsoever, but what I DID appreciate is that he was upfront with who he was, how he felt, and his actions were true to who he was and what he wanted. We also talked for a long time afterwards about family, life, goals, education, etc. and about that makeout attempt greeting.. And I found out very quickly that we were not compatible, which is totally fine. But if he had tried to be reserved and stuck to "safe" topics, we never would have gotten anywhere and I would have wasted both of our times.
2. One of my friends went out to pick up a girl for a blind date, got set up by a friend, he picked her up, drove two, maybe 5 minutes towards the restaurant, and promptly turned to her and went, "I'm sorry, this is going to be awkward and terrible for the next few minutes, but I can tell that I do not want to go out with you, nor do I want to have dinner with you, and I would much rather save us both the time of having to go through this date for me to tell you at the end that I don't want to see you again when I already know now." Harsh? Yes, quite. As a girl I would probably be mortified and offended and thinking "how the fuck would you know?? we haven't even spent 10 minutes together in person and you're already writing me off?" but he knew, and to this day, more than making a good story, he doesn't regret it whatsoever, has found someone he really does click with, and I'm sure she's fine.
3. Was texting this dude, I literally told him that I was going to ask him a laundry list of questions to make up for lost time, and he was (awesomely) down for it. So I asked all those bullshit things and got it out of the way first. Age, work, siblings, where he was from, favorite animal, nicknames, etc. etc. but throughout that conversation we were able to branch off and get to know each other more. He has a sister, I got to know what she did, how close they were, his relationship with his mom, what he plans on doing with life. I don't play around, I hit him with a list of 15 questions, and he asked me the same back. It was great, and just from that I could tell that at a very base level, we were at least somewhat compatible in how we were able to talk to each other. We met in person when I got back into the city and it was like we knew each other already because we allowed ourselves to open up that level of communication.
Now, I understand the difficulty here because it's hard for some people to open up on a first date, and it does require a certain type of personality and mindset going into it, but try. Do your best and try to put yourself out there, because that's the only way anything will happen for you. Be honest with who you are, and most of the time if someone senses that you're doing that, they will open up too.
Disclaimer: still be polite and courteous to your date. Do not tell them that their mom sounds like a bitch, do not tell them they look fat in their dress or suit, do not tell them their opinion on something you disagree with is fucking stupid and ignorant, and do eventually spend the time to get to know their favorite color, where they want to travel to most, their favorite dessert and their name.