First off, congrats on the first date! If you’re like most people, your mind probably went from nervousness when asking, to excitement when they said yes, and back to nervousness when you realized you actually have to go on the first date. Good news, friend. We’re here to take away that nervousness by showing you exactly how to treat a woman on a first date.
In the coming sections, we’ll show you what you shouldn’t do on first dates and what you should do mentally, logistically, in preparation, and on the actual date. This is the ultimate guide on how to treat a woman on a first date that will hopefully help you to get that second date you’re looking for. Let’s get into the tips!
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Don’t Put Her On a Pedestal
Wait, what? The first tip in this guide is not something about respect or opening doors? Yup. One of the biggest mistakes that men make on a first date is putting the girl up on a pedestal. You see, the first mistake that men make happens before you even step foot out the door.
A lot of men, especially those nervous about first dates, have a tendency to view the women they are dating as better than them. They have a tendency to see every woman, especially physically attractive ones, as someone worth worshiping. In other words, they put them up on a pedestal so they can bow down to them.
This is the absolute worst thing you can do. No, you shouldn’t view the women you date as lower than you. You should view them as equals. Realize that while they are special, you are special too. If you can get this concept into your mind, a lot of the nerves are going to go away about the date.
Think of it like this work example. How nervous are you when you go have a meeting with a coworker? Probably not that nervous. How nervous are you when you have to go have a meeting with your boss or your bosses boss? Probably pretty nervous. In that situation, it makes sense, though. Your boss has power over you and has the ability to take your job away from you.
Does the woman you’re going on a first date with have this power over you? Can she take things away from you? No! She is more like your coworkers in this example. If you can stop viewing her as this all-powerful being that is way better than you, then you’re going to be a lot less nervous for your first date, and you’re going to have a much better time. A lot of this starts with confidence and realizing that she is just as lucky to be going out with you as you are to be going out with her.
Her Eyes Are Located on Her Face
We hope that the woman you are going out with on your first date is attractive. Actually, we hope she is smoking hot! That being said, you need to have some decency when you’re checking her out on your date.
Yes, we are all men, and we like to look especially when it’s someone that we might be sexually active with some time in the future. It’s also quite possible that the woman you go out with is going to be wearing something revealing or sexy that might make the temptation to let your eyes wander that much greater.
Here’s the tip. Resist the temptation. Try your best to keep eye contact with her and not with her chest. She knows you want to look. She probably wore that outfit hoping you’d look. But, you are going to have a lot more success if you can be the gentleman and keep your eyes focused on her and not on her body.
Sure, it’s fine to sneak a peek, but she’s going to love the fact that you seem more focused on getting to know her and not just her body.
Common Courtesies Are a Must
If you’re someone who gets offended by chivalry, then you should probably go ahead and ignore this entire next section. Yes, there are a lot of people who think it is sexist to treat a woman with certain types of respect and courtesy. While those people are entitled to their opinion, so are we and we still believe in some old-school dating themes.
Here are the common courtesies that we feel you must do on a first date with a woman.
Be On Time
Do not be late for your first date. We repeat, do not be late. In fact, you should aim to be at least 15 minutes early at the absolute latest. If you’re going out with any woman of substance, she is going to expect you to be on time and if and when you are not, it’s going to set a terrible tone for the entire date.
Think of it this way. The first promise you made to her was that you would show up at a certain place at a certain time for your date. If you don’t fulfill that, she’s immediately going to start questioning if you are trustworthy and if you have it together.
Yes, we know it might not seem like that big of a deal to you, but you’re not the one that decides if you get a second date or not. She decides, and we can tell you that punctuality is important to most women (strangely, even if they struggle with being on time).
Aim to be at the date location at least 15 minutes early, and you won’t have any problems.
Open the Door For Her
If you meet her outside of a coffee shop or bar or restaurant or wherever, make sure you open the door for her. You’d be shocked at how much women love this and how many brownie points it will get you right off the bat. If you are picking her up on the first date (we’ll address if you should or not in a later tip), make sure you get her car door for her as well.
It’s important to note that this first date tip is not just for the first door of the night. You should be opening every door for her. In fact, this really should be something that you do every single date for the rest of time, but we’re going to start with small goals first and focus on the first date.
Let Her Order First
Whether you’re getting coffee, drinks, or a whole meal of food (Old School reference), you should let her order first. Do not order for her. While that used to be a thing, it just doesn’t fly in today’s society. Let her order for herself, but let her order first.
The best way to encourage this is when the waiter/waitress or bartender or barista comes over and asks for your order, turn to her and point at her with your hand open and palm faced up (like a little kid sticking out their hand for a piece of candy). It’s the international “your turn” symbol according to us.
Don’t Cuss Up a Storm
We do not care if she curses like a sailor. We do not care what story you’re telling or how “necessary” it is that you cuss. Do not cuss at all on a first date. You have no idea how she is going to react to it, and you don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot before you even get started. She might be someone that is totally okay with cursing, but she is still going to frown on it on your first date.
The bottom line here is that you need to be a gentleman on a first date with a woman. We would say treat her like you would your mother, but that probably sounds a little weird and bordering on an Oedipus-complex. But, treat your date in a way that your mother would be proud of if she was there watching. That’s a better way to say what we mean.
Respect Her Time and Personal Space
If you’re dating a quality woman, then her free time is going to be valuable to her. The fact that she decided to give some of it up to come meet you for coffee or drinks on a first date should say a lot to you. You need to be prepared to respect that time. This is again why we say it’s so important for you to show up on time.
This also means focusing on her while you’re on the date. Put your cell phone away, don’t watch the game on the TV at the bar or coffee shop, and don’t have conversations with other people. She should be your sole focus while you are on the date.
Additionally, when she says she has to leave, respect that. Don’t try and shame her into staying out for one more drink or hanging out just a little bit longer. If she needs to get home to take care of a responsibility of hers like her kids or getting to work on time in the morning, you don’t want to seem against that. If you keep her from fulfilling her responsibilities the first time that you meet, she’s probably not going to want to see you again because she’ll assume adverse effects on the rest of her life
You also need to be prepared to respect her personal space. Remember, you are most likely still a stranger to her. Even if you know each other, this is the first time you’re going out in a romantic context so that is going to be new to her. We’re not saying that you can’t have physical contact, but you need to make sure that you do not overstep your boundaries.
How much is too much? There really isn’t a hard and fast rule here. What we recommend is erring on the side of less for the first date. We also recommend moving slowly with the physical contact and reading her body language. If you touch her back when walking through a door and she pulls away or looks uncomfortable, don’t push it any further. You have got to be socially aware of how she is feeling when you make physical contact on a first date and react accordingly.
Above anything else, you have to be respectful of her. She is not going to get upset if you made no physical contact with her on a first date. She could get upset, though, if you tried to make too much physical contact. Don’t get labeled a creep who’s not getting a second date.
To Pick Her Up or Not to Pick Her Up
A big question we hear a lot is whether or not you should pick your date up on a first date. Unless it is logistically necessary, we would recommend that you don’t pick them up and that you just meet at the location of the first date. This allows them (and you) an easy way to escape if the date is terrible. Remember, we’re not putting the woman on a pedestal, so you have the same rights to call off the date quickly if you’re not feeling it.
If you’d like to read more about this topic, check out our post on Should You Let Someone Pick You Up On the First Date? We go into this in a lot more detail and look at the pros and cons of both sides. Bonus spoiler, that article was written by a woman, so you’re getting some free insight from “the other side.”
Some Additional First Date Resources
That covers most of what you need to know on how to treat a woman on a first date. Just be yourself, be a gentleman, and focus on getting to know her better. The point of a first date is not to impress the other person, it’s to find out if there is compatibility and if it is worth meeting up again for a second date.
Before we send you out the door, we want to give you a few great resources if you’re still looking for more information on how to treat a lady on a first date. First, we have our complete guide on meeting an online date for the first time. It takes what we’ve learned here to another level of detail.
Second, we have our What Not to Do On a First Date guide which focuses on the things you should NOT be doing on a first date. Both of these are fantastic reads and a great next step to help you get ready for your big date.
Written By: Jason Lee
Jason Lee is a data analyst with a passion for studying online dating, relationships, personal growth, healthcare, and finance. In 2008, Jason earned a Bachelors of Science from the University of Florida, where he studied business and finance and taught interpersonal communication.
His work has been featured in the likes of The USA Today, MSN, NBC, FOX, The Motley Fool, Net Health, and The Simple Dollar. As a business owner, relationship strategist, dating coach, and officer in the U.S. military, Jason enjoys sharing his unique knowledge base with the rest of the world.