Question: “What’s the single biggest factor that makes your date a success or failure?”

Answer: “You.”

If you’ve been single & dating for a while it can feel like dating is a crap shoot – a pure numbers game, where the numbers (and time) aren’t on your side.

But the truth is you’re in charge – whether you realize it or not. Here’s 8 moments that can turn your string of bad dates into a lasting connection.

  1. The day before:  you wouldn’t show up to an important business meeting without planning ahead would you? So why show up on a potentially life-changing event (ie. your date) unprepared? Think positively about your date, what you’re going to wear & what you’re going to talk about. Success in love – and in life – comes to those who are prepared.
  2. Before the date:  plan your day so that you’re not rushing to your date or, worse yet, showing up late & stressed. Get there a bit early, get comfortable & relax – you’ll never get a 2nd chance to make a first impression.
  3. The introduction:  start your date with a smile, an energetic ‘hello!’ and a warm greeting or embrace.  Make your date feel special & that’s what they’ll likely soon become to you.
  4. The beginning:  avoid starting off with anything too serious – tell them how nice it is to see them & chit chat about their/your day in a positive way. Find a way to make them smile – or better yet – laugh. It’s much easier to keep a good beginning going than it is to turn around a bad start.
  5. The ordering:  you may not think your interactions with the bar or restaurant staff matter to your date, but they do. Treating the staff with kindness & respect will send a warm and alluring message to your date – arguing with the waiter will do the reverse.
  6. The middle:  once you’ve talked and laughed casually for a while, ask some engagement questions about them – questions that require an easy response – be sure you’re listening as much (or more) as you’re talking. Avoid negative topics (work stress, past relationships, politics, etc.) & keep things light and positive.
  7. The end:  no matter how well the date is going, your best bet is to keep the first date relatively light & casual and not overly long – leave them wanting more. Tell them you’ve enjoyed meeting them & would love to see them again – suggest a time and method for your follow up (text, call, email) and bid them a warm and friendly goodbye.
  8. The follow up:  however you told them you’d follow up – do it. Send them a nice text or message the next day telling them how much you enjoyed your date, and suggesting a few ideas for your 2nd date. Being true to your word will increase your chances of a 2nd date and, more importantly, finding your special someone.