Filled with awkward pauses, off-limits topics, and the pressure to impress someone you barely know, first dates are tricky.
But there are a few shortcuts to success in this area, according to restaurant manager Talia Berman, whose profession has given her a front-row seat to watching first dates fall short and fly high for years.
Do your homework Meeting for the first time creates enough mystique on its own–make sure you are prepared in as many ways as possible. Has she mentioned a food she wants to try or a neighborhood that she wants to check out? Before you order another round of drinks, make sure she wants the same thing that she's sipping now.
Once you’ve made your choice, make a restaurant reservation, and do some research. If she isn’t drinking her wine, she might not like it, so ask her.
Then you get to do the dirty work of asking the server for something else, and she gets to admire your assertiveness. Make a good impression Focusing on her is important, but don't forget that So be your best self: Tip well, fold your napkin, and be nice to the staff wherever you dine.
Making friends with your server is an easy way to turn an OK meal into a fantastic one.
Somehow the stakes immediately rise with the prices, so it's better to keep things relaxed in terms of mood and money. In most cases, your date wants you to be in charge, so don't waste time fumbling around to figure out who should take charge.
If she is fidgeting, ask for the check, get it, pay it, and get out of there.
If she seems unsure of what to order, offer to order a couple of things to share.
Also important: wear something appropriate that makes sense for the location.
Take off your coat or hat, otherwise it will look like you don't plan to stay very long.
Forget about money Don’t pick somewhere super pricey, thinking you will impress her.
Fancy places are land mines for uncomfortable moments–she might feel underdressed, worry about ordering something too expensive or the tone may be too formal.