8 Ways to Make a First Date Go Smoothly ...

First Dates are nerve-wracking – especially when you really, really, really like the person with whom you're having the date. How do you keep yourself from rambling, or falling into fits of silence? How do you find something to talk about at all? How should you dress or act, how can you get to know him or her? First dates require so much preparation, and that in turn can make you so nervous that it doesn't go as well as you'd hoped. At least, they usually go like that, but I've got just the tips you need to make your first dates go smoothly, especially when you're going out with someone who makes your brain melt.

1. Have Conversation Starters Ready

One of the biggest problems with most first dates is finding something to talk about, and then keeping the conversation going. There are actually a number of ways to do this. For one thing, think about some conversation starters before your date. Don't rehearse, just think about any topics that interest your date, yourself, and the both of you together. Don't fake an interest in something you don't like, that will come off as stilted, but you can definitely ask your date to explain his interests. When you're asking questions, make sure they're open ended. You want to give your date the opportunity to elaborate, because that will keep the talk flowing.

2. Dress Comfortably

You definitely want to look your best on your first date with someone you like a lot. You want to look attractive, even hot. However, don't go out of your comfort zone to do that. This isn't the time to start wearing frilly skirts and super high heels when you don't normally dress like that. You'll look, feel, and act like you're totally uncomfortable. Remember, confidence is the sexiest thing in the world.

3. Stay Confident

Which brings me to this point: always exude confidence, even if you have to fake it 'til you make it. First dates go so much more smoothly if you're confident in who you are, whom you're with, and where you're at for the date. Don't go somewhere that will make you lose confidence, and remember this one very important thing: your date wouldn't be there with you if he didn't want to go out with you just as much as you want to go out with him.

4. No Movies

Movies are a bad idea for a first date. Going to the cinema might be the traditional date idea, but it's really bad for early dates. There's no opportunity for you to talk. Save a film date for the third or fourth date. For your first date, go with something that lends itself well to conversation. Plus, you want to be able to see each other; sitting there in the dark definitely doesn't count.

5. Don't Get Drunk

The number one mistake most people make on first dates is drinking too much. You might start out with a cocktail to calm your nerves, then you lose track and the next thing you know, it's the next morning and you're left wondering what happened. Yes, it's okay to have a cocktail, a beer, or a glass of wine – but sip it. Keep it all in moderation. You want to make a great first impression, and you want to remember your date the next day.

6. Remember Your Manners

Bad manners are just a turn off, and they can give people the wrong idea. I'm definitely not saying you have to be prissy, drink tea with your pinky out, and talk perfectly. Just be polite. Stay true to your personality, by all means, but make sure you keep your manners in place too.

7. Don't Flirt Too Much

Flirting is a good thing, especially on first dates with someone you're really into. But if it doesn't feel natural to you, don't do it. Don't go overboard. Your behavior might come off as gushing, and worse, you may feel uncomfortable with yourself.

8. Avoid Hot-Button Topics

It's great to debate on dates – but not the first ones. Now, you're the only person who can judge whether discussing religion or politics on your first date is a good idea. I'm definitely not saying you shouldn't. But don't get into an argument over anything like that, and avoid subjects like, oh, ex lovers and things of that nature. Your first time out together is just not the place.

First dates can definitely be scary, but you don't have to show it. You don't have to feel that way, either. When you're on a first date when someone you really like, it's normal – and even lovely – to feel butterflies swarming in your stomach. Your brain really does feel like it's melting, and it's hard not to get tongue tied. If you stay calm and follow these dating tips, however, it will be a marvelous experience. Now, I'd love to hear about some of your best – and worst – first dates!

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