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First Date Basics

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/27/2007 | Games

As thrilling as first dates can be for most men and women, the first date can be a mental and emotional mine field where every step can be potentially your last.

There are however several steps you can take to not only ensure you get out of the date in one piece, but also give yourself and your date the best chance of, at the very least enjoying the occasion, and possibly even having the chance of a meaningful relationship developing.

Men need to be aware of just how important first impressions can be to a woman. Make sure you dress appropriately and are nicely groomed. While men often have to wear the tag of being shallow because they put too much importance on a woman's appearance, do not for a minute think that women aren't just as conscious of a man's appearance and physical attractiveness.

For men, posture is very important. Confidence is probably the most attractive quality that a man can exhibit to a woman. Women like their men to be men. They like them to look like men and to behave like men. A man needs to stand tall, with shoulders back and chin up. His walk should project deliberateness and purpose. This style is not some arrogant strut, just a case of a man who knows where he is going every step of the way.

As part of a man's physical presence, eye contact is especially important. As the saying goes "The eyes are the windows to the soul" and a man who can make and hold eye contact reveals himself to be someone who isn't afraid to connect and let himself be seen. It also displays interest, something that women want to feel when they are with a man.

Women also need to be aware of their appearance and their clothing. For first dates a woman will want to maintain a degree of mystery, so dressing in a style that is too revealing, is not the way to go. Believe it or not, even the most confident of men can sometimes feel intimidated being with a woman they do not know all that well when she is wearing revealing clothing.

Give the guy a break. He is trying to be on his best behavior and also trying to control genetic programming that virtually guarantees that if something is left even a little uncovered he will look and usually look repeatedly at it.

A woman can help a man relax and be comfortable while at the same time add to her mystique if she dresses more on the conservative side on a first date.

And if you want to make a very positive impression on a man, eye contact and a big smile works wonders. An encouraging easy gaze that shows interest will also help a man relax and be more of himself.

In most first date scenarios someone has to jump in and take charge of the date. Usually this falls on the person who does the asking out. Ideally it should be the man. And here is why.

At this stage of the game women want a man to take charge. As much as equal opportunities exist between the sexes these days, there are thousands of years of genetic programming that override social convention.

A man, who takes charge, at least on the first date, makes a very positive impression on any woman whether she likes to admit it or is even aware of it. Remember women want men to be men.

First date conversation can be tricky for most men and women. Being able to hold up your end of a conversation is definitely a minimum requirement, but what is even more important as far as conversation is concerned is not so much what is said but rather how you listen.

Active attentive listening, that is, listening with real interest and attention will encourage your date to talk more and be more comfortable doing so.

Men love to be asked questions. Why? Because it gives them permission to talk about themselves. While women generally speaking are quite comfortable talking about themselves and their feelings on different subjects, most men will not be as forthcoming.

However, if you ask a man a question, they will answer. It allows them to reveal more of themselves without thinking that they are going on about themselves. In this first date scenario, a man will answer almost any question that is asked, so it's a great opportunity for a woman to find out what he is really like. Or at least as much as you can in a few hours.

On the man's side he needs to be an active listener. He needs to make sure that when his date is talking that there is nothing more important than her and what she is saying.

Eye contact and acknowledgement of what she is saying (a subtle nod of the head when appropriate for example) will encourage her to continue.

First dates should be fun. They are filled with a sense of possibility and excitement hard to come by in other settings. The most effective first date "strategy" is really nothing more than, making the most of yourself and your appearance and doing whatever you can to make your date have the very best time they possibly can.