How to Plan a Great First Date

She said yes. Now what?

Here are some easy guidelines to help you plan a great first date.

1. Meet at a neutral, public space.

Make her dinner at your place another night. For now, keep things low-pressure and public, especially when online dating. Whether you’re picking the coffee shop or making dinner reservations, try to choose a spot that’s in a central location where you can both arrive and leave separately.

2. Pick someplace quiet.

A rock concert is probably not an ideal first date. Try to plan a date that facilitates conversation and doesn’t drown it out. Too many distractions can prevent you from getting to know one another better — which should be the point, right?

3. Involve food and drink.

Are you a delightful person when you’re hungry? We didn’t think so. Make sure you feed and hydrate your date at some point in the afternoon or evening.

4. Plan for engagement.

There are two first-date trains of thought: one is to plan an activity to help distract your nerves and give the two of you something to talk about, the other is to keep it simple and focus on quiet conversation. If you’re in the second camp, it doesn’t hurt to have a few questions ready in case the proverbial ice needs breaking.

5. Expect to pay.

Prevent money stress. If you plan the date, you should expect to pay for it. (That said, gratefully acknowledge any generous gestures should your date try to chip in. And if she really insists, let her take you out next time.)

6. Keep it short.

Nothing is worse that being on a date that doesn’t end — when you wish it would. For a first date, try to plan something that fits into a definable time frame: coffee after work, an early dinner or walk through a local fair for a couple of hours. When it starts to wind down, don’t try to drag the date out into something longer.

If you really hit it off, start planning a second date.

7. Follow up.

After you’ve gone your separate ways, follow up with your date. Text her that you had a great time. Call her a day or two later and ask her out again. Don’t play games. If you like her and want to see her again, do something about it.