First dates are a lot of things—fun, nerve-wracking, exciting—but most of all, they should be romantic! This is your chance to spark chemistry with the other person to see if you’re a natural fit. A little romance definitely improves your chances of a second date so check out our tips for setting the mood.
1 Pick a romantic location.
Think of a special place your date would want to go. This might be somewhere very beautiful or historic, or it might just be somewhere important to your date. For instance, if they’re into wine, a vineyard would be a romantic choice. If they’re more outdoorsy, you could suggest a beautiful arboretum or rose garden. Try to choose a place that feels intimate and unique to them. This is way more romantic than dinner and a movie!
- If they’re into the arts, you might suggest going to a museum or an art gallery.
- Try to avoid doing a coffee date at a cafe since it won’t feel as natural.
2 Do an activity where you can be close.
Look for ways to be physically close and active to spark intimacy. This might mean taking a salsa class, going for a swim at the beach, or hitting the amusement park together. Do activities that keep you active and talking with each other as opposed to sitting and watching something. This way, you’ll have more opportunities to spark a meaningful connection.
- Take a pass on sitting through a long concert or show since this doesn’t give you a chance to interact much with your date.
3 Prioritize conversation.
Focus on talking over entertaining your date. When you’re on a first date, you’re trying to get a sense of the person—what they’re into, what their personality is like, whether or not they’re funny. Stick with light topics like what bands they like, what their favorite food is, and where they’d love to travel to. Showing deep interest in the other person is definitely more romantic than tuning out to a movie, so make sure you listen closely to their responses.
- Don’t feel like you have to talk about heavy stuff. Save discussions about politics, religion, and relationships for later.
- Think of it this way, were you a fun way to kill some time, or did you watch the sunrise because you spent all night talking?
4 Put your phone away.
Give your date your undivided attention. This may not seem like a romantic gesture, but it’s a huge deal for most people. Think about how often you check your phone without even thinking about it. Make a point of turning off your phone so you don’t look at it at all. Instead, give your date your full focus. They’ll probably feel more of a connection this way.
- Can’t turn off your phone? Set your phone to silent mode and make a point of not checking it repeatedly.
5 Flirt to spark a little chemistry.
Nothing says you’re fun and interested in them like flirting! Say something cute and romantic like, “I am sorry as this can sound awkward, but I get very nervous around pretty girls.” Whatever you say, be genuine! Here are a few more lines you can use:
- “That suit looks amazing on you.”
- “I think everyone here is jealous of me. I’m with the most handsome/beautiful person in the room.”
- “You probably hear this a lot, but you have a gorgeous smile.”
6 Dedicate a song to them.
Request a band to play a song or do karaoke for your date. If you’re in a bar or restaurant that’s got live music or a DJ, pick a romantic tune that you think your date would like and dedicate it to them. For something a little more lighthearted, but just as romantic, offer to sing a romantic song if you’re at a karaoke bar. Your date may be surprised, flattered, or amused, but above all, they’ll probably be charmed at your effort.
- Who knows? This could even become your song if it looks like the relationship might work out.
7 Display open body language.
Turn your body toward your date and lean in. Keep your arms open and loose instead of crossing them, which can look defensive. You want your body language to make your date relaxed and comfortable.
- A lot of people also find it easier to sit side by side instead of across from one another when they’re talking. This seems more intimate since you’re physically closer to each other.
8 Show some physical affection.
A simple touch sends the signal that you’re interested in them. You might rub their shoulder, hold hands, or just touch their arm. Little touches like these make a connection that can make you two feel more comfortable around each other.
- Don’t wait until the end of the date to do this. It can be awkward for both of you if there hasn’t been any physical contact before one of you leans in for a goodnight kiss.
9 Find a romantic spot for a first kiss.
Ask your date if you can kiss them, if you sense chemistry. If you’re really hitting it off with the other person and they’ve initiated physical touches, they may be feeling romantic, too. Although you shouldn’t feel pressured to kiss on the first date, it might just seem natural. Maybe you’re both leaning in toward each other in front of a beautiful sunset or the other person pulls you closer as you go to say goodnight. If you’re both comfortable with the idea of kissing, then great!
- Don’t feel bad or force it if your date doesn’t want to kiss. They may not feel a similar connection or they might just want to get to know you a little better first.
10 Be yourself.
There’s nothing romantic about pretending to be someone you’re not. You don’t want to trick the other person. Instead, be super open and honest about who you are. Being your true, authentic self is romantic! Take a moment to remind yourself that the person wants to go out on a date with you so be yourself.
- To make yourself feel more relaxed about the date, dress comfortably, act confident, and have a good time.