It’s a little crazy to think about this, but so many people in my age range just don’t know what to DO on a date or after it. So first, a little help for the ladies. Overarching theme: just be a normal, nice, friendly person.
1. Encourage his planning. If he asks for suggestions, give them, but let him make the plans. If he’s being weird about it and hemming and hawing about things, say, “I’d love to do x, y, or z, but you decide. I’m happy with any of those.” Some guys have baggage-y mom/sister/ex experiences that mean they’re afraid to make a decision lest they end up with a moody, silent woman in their car or across the table from them.
2. Have a mental list of five or ten questions you want to ask him. Favorites lists are good here — what are your top five favorite books? movies? albums? tv shows? places you’ve been? places you’d like to go? experiences you’ve had? shows you’ve been to? And then, of course, you can follow that up with a “why?” Normal conversational questions are great too and super-revealing — family, upbringing, job, college, stuff like that.
3. Again, laugh at his jokes. Smile a lot. Be interested. Ask follow-up questions. Be open. Think about your body language and your face. Relax. Even if you aren’t crazy about the guy — and this is crucial — be willing to be persuaded.
4. If he asks you out again and you’re keen (or can see potential), go out with him again. If you’re not, stick with the simple answer from date one, but with a VERY little elaboration: “Thanks, I had a nice time (unless that’s a lie), but I don’t see anything happening between us.” I recommend two or three dates (real dates, not “we were at the same movie night”) minimum unless a huge red flag came up on the first date.
5. Forget what Clueless taught you about boy time and variations thereof. Forget what Seventeen Magazine taught you about how to tell if he’s a keeper. Forget what that well-intentioned lady in your church told you about never dating a guy who doesn’t open all your doors. Cut him some slack. You’re not running an audition for the role of your own personal Mr. Darcy. Cut yourself some slack too. Just take the whole thing down ten or twelve notches in your brain. If you find yourself playing the “what if” game, just answer the question. What if he never calls again? Then he was a jerk and you’re well rid of him. What if he doesn’t like me? Then you pull up your big girl panties and move on, chalking it up to experience. What if I don’t like him? Then you let him down easy and he chalks it up to experience.