Love at first sight. It's the stuff of pop songs and fairy tales. And sure, sometimes it happens in real life — but probably not too often. So what do you do if your initial reaction to a date is less yeah! and more meh?

When dating, we often wrestle between two competing impulses — wanting to give someone a chance and not wanting to waste our time — or theirs. Which begs the question — on a first date, how well do things need to go in order for you to agree to a second date? Fair question for sure, but it's more complex than that — because the best way to determine if you want a second date is to be sure you create a context for a solid first date!

Address the following first date don'ts in order to gain the requisite clarity for tackling the "second date debate."

  1. Don't Get Ahead of Yourself
    Too often daters get ahead of themselves — we decide within 30 seconds whether or not we're "feeling it" or we start sizing up marriage and parenting potential before the appetizer has even arrived! Putting too much pressure on a first date is a great way to suck the life out of it — plus, it'll cloud your perception. Speculating about who your date might turn out to be prevents you from accurately seeing and experiencing who he/she is!

    Do Remain In The Moment
    Do your absolute best to remain fully present during your time together. Relax and let things unfold without projecting onto a hypothetical future. Once the date is over, you'll be able to reflect on the information you've gathered and determine if a second date makes sense.
  2. Don't Jump to Conclusions
    He's nervous. She's nervous. Everyone's nervous! But on first dates it's easy to forget this reality and make what social psychologists call The Fundamental Attribution Error. In this instance a Fundamental Attribution Error entails assuming any awkwardness on our part is due to first date nerves but any missteps our date may make reflect deep-seated character flaws.

    Do Be Gracious
    Cut your date some slack. Instead of jumping to conclusions based on just a few minutes of conversation, consider other interpretations of what you observe. In essence, try to be a bit less judgmental. If he talks too much, maybe it's not that he's a narcissist but rather he's afraid of awkward silences and he's trying to impress you. If she refers to her rescue cats a few too many times, perhaps she wants you to see her nurturing, sensitive side. No need to write her off as a crazy cat lady!
  3. Don't Cling to Deal Breakers
    You know what you want in a relationship and you won't accept anything less — and that's great! We definitely need to maintain high standards when looking for love. Keep in mind however, that your list of 1001 deal breakers might cause you to miss out on someone really spectacular if you don't allow any wiggle room.

    Do Differentiate Between Settling and Compromising
    Settling and Compromising are two very distinct notions! Settling entails being with someone — anyone — just to have a partner. When settling, you abandon hope of an exhilarating, exceptional love connection and just "make do" with whoever comes along. But compromising is inherent to all relationships. Doing life together necessitates making concessions from time to time. Assess your deal breakers and retain only those that reflect your core values. Any others should be relegated to the "Preferences" list.

Remember, we can't deliberate about a second date without experiencing a solid first date. Consider the Dos and Don'ts above to assist you in grappling with the "second date debate!"

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