How to go on a blind date
A common piece of advice given to singles seeking a partner is to ask friends if they can set you up. This is a fantastic idea, as it introduces you to people you may not otherwise meet. It also sets a clear intention – if you meet someone at a party, you might not know if they’re available, or likely to be interested.
When a blind date is set up for you, your mates should check all of that out first. They’ll have an idea that you have shared values, interests or tastes, meaning you might be a match. It’s like hitting the ground running. And it’s why many blind dates result in marriages and relationships. Do you know a couple who met in this way?
What are the dos and don’ts on a first date?
A blind date is always the first date, but a first date is not always a blind date. If you’ve already chatted online or met at speed dating, it doesn’t count as a blind date. It has to be someone you’ve never met before. Which means it has to be arranged by someone else. Before you even head out on the date, there are some things you must – and mustn’t do.
- Do find out where you’re going, when it is and how you will be able to recognise the other person. Or get your friends to take you there.
- Do ask how well they know this person. If it’s someone they’ve only just connected with but thought you might hit it off, great. But you need to know that, so you understand that they are not properly vetted yet. Keep to public places and the same safety code as you would if meeting someone from an online dating site. If it’s your BFF’s cousin and they come with a glowing character reference, you can afford to be less cautious.
- Don’t give your friend the third degree or attempt to social media stalk your blind date ahead of time (if you have a name). Try to go without preconceptions and keep an open mind.
- Arrive on time or slightly early – to guarantee this you’ll need to check traffic info and plan your journey beforehand. Being late comes across as entitled or rude. If you do encounter unforeseen problems, have a way of contacting them to let them know (probably via your mutual friend).
Where to go on a blind date
This will depend on where you live, of course. But it should be somewhere easy to find, with decent lighting (not too bright, not so dim as you have to squint) and not too formal. A drink, coffee or activity is perfect. Dinner can be a bit full-on and requires at least an hour’s commitment, so is better suited to second dates onwards.
Things to do on the first date
If you’d like to do something a little different or are stuck for ideas, here are some great things to do the first time you meet a date. It’s all about finding an activity that’ll keep you occupied enough to provide a focus, while still providing plenty of room to converse and find out a bit about each other.
- Meet at a street food market and go for a wander. You can buy drinks – and food if you want to – but it’s low pressure and very relaxed. Do arrange a clear meeting point in the area though, as it can be tricky to find a stranger in a crowd.
- Peruse an art gallery. You can meander and chat and there’s usually a cafe on-site if you want to linger longer.
- Go to the zoo. If you’re an animal lover this is always a joy and certainly not just for kids. Some even have after dark zoo nights, better suited to dates.
- Head to a comedy night. These have more intervals than a theatre show, so more chance to get to know each other, with the comedians set’s providing plenty to chat about. Don’t sit near the front unless you’re willing to be quizzed about your date by the host!
- Go to a wine, gin or beer tasting. This could be an event or a tour at a winery/distillery.
- Play mini-golf. This pastime is seeing a real resurgence in cities at the moment, with lots of themed indoor mini-golf courses popping up. You’ll certainly find out if your date has a competitive side.
How to greet a blind date
Bear in mind that the person you’re meeting will form a picture of you almost immediately they set eyes on you. So strive to create a great first few seconds. This is actually easy to achieve and just needs the following ingredients:
- Eye contact
- A warm smile
- Good posture (stand up straight with shoulders back – if you’re sitting when they arrive do stand to greet them)
- A polite verbal greeting (‘Hi, I’m … it’s great to meet you)
- A firm handshake
- Good presentation (hair, clothes and shoes)
Once you’ve established this initial greeting, you’ll need to get a flow going, or you can end up with awkward silences or weird chats. Which brings us onto…
What to talk about on a blind date
There are some topics to avoid on dates. It can be easy to slip into these, especially if there are mutual connections. This can be avoided by planning some topics of conversation and questions, ahead of time.
Don’t talk about your ex or exes on the blind date, even – and especially – if you’re in the same social circle. If you criticise them you’ll come across as an unpleasant person, and if you say nice things they might feel like you still hold a torch for them.
Politics and religion are traditionally frowned upon as dinner party topics. This is because they incite very strong and impassioned feelings, which when at odds, can cause serious friction. For this reason, it’s often better to leave these for a later date, or if you do wish to chat about them, be very gentle in how you put across your own views.
How can I impress a blind date?
This is a tricky one. If you try too hard to impress it can come across as overly keen. Do too little and you won’t seem keen enough. But there are some fairly safe ways to send the message, without being overbearing.
Did you know you impress others far more by listening than by talking? It may be tempting to list all your achievements, but this can seem boastful. Let them arise in conversation, but be sure to make an interest in the other person your primary concern. That doesn’t mean being evasive and turning questions they ask you back around on your date. It’s good to reveal things about yourself too, just be aware of the balance and make them feel valued when they speak. Active listening involves responding to what they’re saying, with nods, ‘uh-huhs’ and facial expression. Don’t keep looking around or over their shoulder – this is rude and offputting for them. Show interest by asking further questions about the things they say, or use the simple phrase ‘tell me more about that’.
First date tips
Another easy way to impress is to look the part. It shows you’re invested, whereas if you’ve clearly just thrown on whatever was to hand, you communicate a lack of care (including for yourself).
Manners are a huge part of impressing a date too and they cost nothing. Don’t neglect your please and thank-yous and always be courteous – even if it isn’t going well. You don’t want to earn a reputation as a bad date.
What to wear on a blind date
Your clothes have a big impact on first impressions. And while relationships are more than just skin deep, visuals do come into it. What you wear communicates a message about your personality style and taste – whether you’re into fashion or not. So be sure to make an effort. Unless you’re going somewhere fancy, a smart casual dress code will suffice.
What should I wear to a blind date?
If you’d like to find out more about the best and worst things to wear when going on a blind date, read this article covering the topic in full.
How to act on a blind date
The number one rule is to be yourself. After all, everyone else is already taken.
That can be easier said than done though when faced with a stranger and probably feeling nervous. Try to do something relaxing beforehand and not to worry or obsess about how it will go. Keep your expectations low too. Putting too much emphasis on it will make it feel more stressful. Instead, be lighthearted and adventurous in your outlook. Your thoughts can influence your eyes and facial expressions. If you want to exude an air of confidence, think confidently and remind yourself how capable, wonderful and fun you are to be with.
What should you not do on a blind date?
Never ever be rude or offensive. Not everyone has the same boundaries, so keep it safe. Don’t push your opinions on your date or do anything to make them feel uncomfortable. Always treat others as you would wish to be treated and try to put yourself in their shoes. This has this additional benefit of helping you think less about yourself and so will reduce the nerves. Don’t assume a second date or ask to go back to theirs afterwards, unless you’re getting a clear message that might be on the cards.
(Here are some fascinating insights on how to spot indicators of interest)
Now you know how to go on a blind date and have wised up on the dos and don’t, it’s time to get out there and try it. And if you don’t have one lined up, but would like to meet someone new, why not ask friends, relatives and colleagues, if they know anyone they could set you up with? You never know where you’re going to meet someone, so it’s worth exploring every avenue until you do.
- What is a blind date like?
It can feel a bit odd at first if you’ve never been on one, as you are meeting a stranger. But trust those who have set it up. You’ll arrange to meet at a time and date in a venue and will be told how to recognise one another. The rest is up to you!
- Are blind dates a good idea?
Everyone is different, and what works for some will not work for others. But in general, blind dates arranged by friends can be a great way to safely meet new people. It’s a bit like the old fashioned method of matchmaking – but for the modern age.
- What should I avoid in a relationship?
Stay away from anything that seems or becomes toxic, that is lies, dishonesty, coercion, belittling, meanness and manipulation. You should feel predominantly happy and relaxed in their company. It should be equitable and fair.