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7 Ways To Have An Incredible First Date

Dating

Food prostitution. Lawd, have mercy! As I was doing my daily check-in on YouTube recently, this was one of the video topics that popped up on my list of suggestions. Being that I'm pretty familiar with Tonya TKO's channel and content, I decided to check it out. The overall gist was a woman decided to social-media-humiliate a man she went out on a date with because he took her out for pizza. Tonya's overall point is there is some sort of breakdown in the woman's character to want to be so mean to the poor guy; that we shouldn't be out here acting like "food prostitutes".


For the most part, I agree. Although I must say that I think part of the reason why there is so much unnecessary-ness that happens on the dating scene is either because 1) we need to spend more time understanding the differences between dating and courting along with what actually makes for a good date (I'll take manners over money any day!) and/or 2) we jump to go on a date with someone before determining, ahead of time, if there is enough of a connection to even go on a date with said person in the first place (more on that in a second). I personally believe that if both of these points were taken to heart more often, dates would be so much smoother.

If you've got a hot date coming up, but you're a little anxious because you can't remember the last time you actually went on a good one, I've got a few suggestions that can make time before, during and even after the date so much less stressful on your mind, body and spirit. Tips that will keep you and your date from feeling like you both had anything less than a good time.

1. Get Your Mind Right

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A couple of days ago, I checked out a video by a YouTuber named Asha C. The title of it was "5 Guaranteed Ways to Emotionally Detach!" It basically provided tips for how single women can navigate through the dating scene. Although I recommend watching all of it, if you want the bottom line, the tips are as follows:

  • Think with your head and not with heart!
  • Don't just date one person.
  • Keep yourself busy.
  • Reflect on times of premature attachment.
  • Associate emotions with surrender until a commitment is in place.

Whether you 100 percent agree with where Asha is coming from or not, what her advice does serve as a good reminder of is the fact that when you have your own mental strategy in place, that makes it so much easier to handle whatever happens on your date with another person. So yeah, take a moment to see where she's coming from, hold on to the gems that you can get on board with and then tweak where you want. A cool and confident woman is someone who is ready for whatever a date night brings her. And she's ready because she prepared herself before ever going on it.

2. Have a Couple of Phone Conversations—Ahead of Time

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One reason why I think a lot of dates fail to go very smoothly is because, unless two people already know each other pretty well beforehand, trying to establish a connection while sitting in a crowded restaurant can be awkward, to say the least. One way to avoid that is by talking on the phone before actually meeting up. You can even use that as an opportunity to get some of the "standard dating questions" out of the way. If you need a bit of a nudge, there are 137 first date questions to inspire you here.

By the way, if he refuses to talk on the phone or only wants to text, I'd take that as a bit of a red flag. Texting is about convenience, not establishing a true connection. A man who's really into you is gonna care more about the latter than the former.

3. Avoid Movies. Oh, and Drinks.

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While the two of you are on the phone discussing likes and dislikes, it's perfectly fine to slide in that you're not the biggest fan of going to the movies on a first (second or third) date. I mean, how can you truly get to know someone if both of you are sitting in the dark and staring at a movie screen? The only exception in this case is if it's a movie and then something else. But still, on a first date, I'd suggest recommending something with low noise and not a ton of crowds, if at all possible.

As far as drinks go, although having a glass of wine with dinner is cool, tipsy is the last thing you need to be—or should want to see—on a first date. Not only will a sober mind give you both a greater sense of each other's personality, it can also help you to make wise decisions (if you know what I mean).

4. Pay Attention to Your Body Language. And His.

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Most of us have heard that 80 percent of communication consists of body language (from the research I've done, it's actually somewhere between 75-90 percent). What this is a blaring reminder of is actions are truly louder than words. This is something to definitely keep in mind once you and your date are finally face to face.

I've got a friend who used to tell me that I needed to work on developing a better "screen saver". What he meant by that is my face has a tendency to reveal just about everything that I'm thinking (especially the rolling of my eyes). As I've worked on that, I've discovered that other not-so-positive forms of body language are crossing arms (it puts you on the defensive); tapping fingers or feet (it conveys impatience); slouching or slumping (it expresses boredom); not making eye contact (it communicates disinterest) and staring at your phone (it's just plain rude).

If you are or he is doing any of these things, that's sending the not-so-subtle message that the date isn't going very well, whether either of you are verbally saying that or not. If you're the one doing any of this, ask yourself if it's a bad date or your body language is a bad habit. If he's doing it, it's OK to make a joke about reading what certain types of body language indicate and then seeing what he says in response. Hey, truth in all humor…right?

5. Be a Good Communicator

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If someone were to ask me for the top reason why the first three dates tend to be a total letdown, I wouldn't say it has anything to do with attraction or chemistry. I'd say it has to do with poor communication (which is a top reason for why marriages end too). Y'all, there can be all of the physical sparks in the world, but if the two of you are not actually connecting, you're basically wasting your time.

What exactly does it take to be a winner in the communication department? You need to be able to listen (this includes letting others finish their sentences and thinking about what they said before responding). You need to ask questions (for clarification's sake) rather than going on the defensive when it comes to things that you don't necessarily agree with. You need to be tone-sensitive (if you don't want to be yelled at, don't yell). You need to embrace one another's individuality (they are not you, so they are not gonna think or act just like you do). You need to be warm and inviting (who wants to engage a person who gives one-word answers and doesn't have a pleasant attitude?). And, more than anything, you need to have fun. It's not a job interview; it's a date (which is a bit of an interview only, less stressful…if you let it be!).

6. Don’t “Fake” It

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I've got a friend who, unfortunately, is going through a divorce right now. He didn't file; his wife did (actually, 70 percent of all divorces are filed by women). As we were discussing what ultimately got things to that point, one thing he said that I wish the entire world could hear is, "I don't know what makes people think that they truly know someone in a year. So many of us are bringing who we think someone wants to see on a date rather than who they are. Then, once you marry them, you're like 'Who the hell is this?!'"

He's not the only individual who thinks that way. I can't recall if it's Chris Rock or Bishop T.D. Jakes, but one of them said that the individual who typically shows up on a date is not us but our representative. The "best" part of us.

I'm not saying to present the worst side of you when you're out on a date (that's not wise at all). What I am recommending is if you want to start from a real place, begin with acting like a real person. Don't fake a persona, just because you think that's what he'll want to see. By the way, some signs of being fake is agreeing to things that you actually disagree with, pretending to like/enjoy things that you don't or even saying that you'll go on a second date when you know nothing is really going to come from it…ever.

7. Be Polite

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We as women are always talking about chivalry, but it's important that as guys are holding doors open for us that we say "thank you" whenever they do. One of my male friends tells me all of the time that he doesn't care how good a woman looks if her energy is wack. And a person who is impolite definitely gives off bad vibes.

Unfortunately, politeness is a topic that doesn't get discussed nearly as much as it should so, just in case you were wondering what it looks like, polite people—are kind, they respect personal space, they speak the way they want to be spoken to, they don't force their opinions or perspectives on others, they are patient, they say "please" and "thank you" and they try and make others feel comfortable in their space.

We as women can set the tone for how well a date goes, just on the energy we put out alone. Be polite, require chivalry and watch how far this combo takes you—from the beginning of the date until the end.

Featured image by Getty Images

Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here and check out the related reads below:

5 Things That Are OK To Require On A First Date

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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