The first date is often your first introduction to someone from the online dating world. Although you may have spent weeks getting to know someone online, they may be a completely different person offline. That is one of many thoughts that might weigh on your mind as you’re getting ready for the first date. The most prominent thought being “what if everything goes wrong?”. We all have those insecurities, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Luckily, the tips for a first date below will help to guide you in the direction of a successful date.

Tips for a First Date: Location

Choosing the right location is one of the best tips for a first date as sets the tone for the entire interaction. You want to choose a neutral environment that you’ll both be comfortable in. This should be somewhere public because that is low-pressure. Your location should be quiet enough that you can talk to each other, yet have enough background noise that it’s not so intense. While dinner & a movie used to be the standard first date, it’s been suggested that dinner is too intimate. Besides, how can you talk and get to know each other when there’s food in your mouth? A coffee shop is always the best place to meet someone for the first time.

Conversation

If you want someone to be interested in you, you have to be interesting. You want the conversation to flow naturally, without any lulls or awkward silences. Of course, many people find it difficult to think on the spot. If you’re one of those people, or shy, then make yourself conversation cards. You can use these as a point of reference. Although it may feel silly, it can be helpful in the long run. You can do a quick search of the best first-date questions. Basically, you want to ask about their lifestyle, interests & hobbies, and their favorite things. You don’t want the first date conversation to be too heavy. If it takes that direction naturally, go with the flow.

Body Language

There is such a power in body language and it can’t be emphasized enough. The ability to read someone’s emotions through subtle movement is crucial to a successful date. You will know when to push forward and when to pull back. You’ll know when to change the subject of conversation and when to pay attention. Body language can also indicate the level of attraction someone feels towards you. If you notice they are mimicking your movements, it means they are interested. If they are sitting with crossed arms or legs, they may be closing you out.

Tips for a First Date: Be Prepared

You can never truly prepare yourself for a bad date. You don’t know how the other person is going to react to you or how you’re going to react to them. One of you may have eaten bad food at the restaurant, which is another reason not to choose a dinner date. The only thing you can prepare yourself for is the aftermath of the date. Learn to embrace your imperfections and not take everything seriously. There are lessons to be learned from every date, whether or not they are successful. Your goal is to be ready for whatever happens.

Finally, one of the best tips for a first date is to be yourself. You want to present your best self, of course, but you also want to be genuine. If you’re nervous, you can use humor to break the ice.