If You Throw Out These 12 First Date Expectations, You’ll Have A Way Better Time

First dates rarely lead to seconds, and it can be totally disheartening. You’re trying to meet a great guy who you have a real connection with, but you also have a list of expectations you expect him to live up to the first time you meet and that could seriously be holding you back. If you throw out these 12 expectations, you’ll have a way better time (and might even make follow-up plans):

That he’ll offer to pay. Don’t hold onto the outdated idea that the guy should pick up the tab on your first date because it may not happen. At the same time, if he does offer, it doesn’t make you less of an independent woman to accept, especially if he insists. This shouldn’t cause tension or stress either way — it ultimately doesn’t matter if one person pays or if you end up going dutch. Figuring out whether you have a connection is way more important.

That you should only go certain places. They say you shouldn’t go to a movie theater on a first date, but what if you’re both indie film buffs and there’s a great new movie out by one of your favorite directors that you both want to see? They also say you shouldn’t go to high-end restaurant on a first date, but what if you’re foodies and a great new place just opened up in town? There are no hard and fast rules here. If you’re both comfortable with where you decide to meet up, just go with it.

That you should limit what you eat. It’s pretty much a certainty that your date knows you’re a human, and humans eat. Don’t worry — humans also get stuff stuck in their teeth too! The truth is, food isn’t a dealbreaker for anyone sane. If he’s going to judge you for eating too much or ordering a greasy burger with extra fries, he’s a jerk anyway. The same goes for vegans and vegetarians — they can have their food preferences, but you’ll keep yours.

That you shouldn’t sleep with him. If you want to hit it on the first date, do it. He’s not going to think less of you because he’s sleeping with someone on the first date too! On the other hand, if you want to hit it on the fifth date or even wait for marriage, that’s perfectly fine. Plus, sometimes things do feel right on the third date. Don’t let trying to break the first date rules limit you either!

That you should keep it short. You’ve probably heard the odd advice to try to cut the date a little short so that both people walk away wanting to see each other again. That’s a bit silly. If you get tired of someone because a first date runs a little long, you were probably going to have a really boring second date (or none at all). Stay out as long as you both want to, and if you get tired of each other after a few hours then it just wasn’t meant to be.

That he should be a perfect gentleman. Why expect him to hold the door open for you? It doesn’t make it better if you only expect old-fashioned behavior on the first date — you should be setting the expectations for a long-term thing, not putting the first date up on a special pedestal. Don’t be naive; chivalry is dead and that’s a good thing. If you really think holding doors for each other is important, do it for him first.

That you have to spend a fortune on your look. Yeah, make a good impression, but don’t obsess over your outfit to the point that it drives you crazy. You don’t need to buy something new or dress too fancy for the venue. You’ll end up feeling uncomfortable if you’re over-dressed for a casual date. Plus, his perspective on your beauty isn’t going to depend on how new your outfit is. Just dress to feel confident and relaxed.

That you can’t touch your phone. It’s rude to text the whole date, of course, but you don’t have to have your phone on silent. He’s shouldn’t be judging you for checking your texts to make sure that nothing important is going on. If you’re worried that you’re looking at your phone too much then just explain to him what’s going on. Your aunt is texting you but she only does so in emergencies? Your friend should be getting back from a job interview soon and you want to see how it went? He’ll understand.

That you need to compliment him. If it comes naturally, you shouldn’t hold back, but you also shouldn’t be searching for compliments just because you’ve heard it’s good etiquette. If you just pick something at random to compliment, it’ll sound mechanical and false. Take some time to really appreciate the good things about your date and then compliment him on it with sincerity.

That you have to limit your drinks. I mean, you don’t want to pass out mid-way through the date, but you know your body and your drinking habits better than anyone else, so don’t abide by any “three drink” or “two drink” rules. You do you — just don’t put yourself in any compromising positions.

That some topics are off-limits. If it matters to you, don’t hold back just because you’re on a first date. Hell, having a passionate discussion can make the date interesting, memorable, and heated, if you know what I mean. If you’re passionately disagreeing on politics or religion, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.

That you need to ask about all of your dealbreakers. You want to learn the important things about your date, of course, but avoid running through the questions like you’re on a quiz show. You won’t get to everything, and trying to sounds like an interrogation. Instead, just enjoy talking about each important topic as it comes up.

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