By SarahAbell A first date is loaded withexpectancy will she/he like me and will I like them? Is this person going tobe the One or will I want to run for the hills before the starter? Will I door say the right thing or will I totally embarrass myself? Will we get physicaland if so, will there be any chemistry between us? Will we have anything totalk about and if not, how will we get through the evening? It is definitely possible tothink too much about a first date. The key is to relax, enjoy yourself and notto analyse everything too much. Regardless of whether you hit it off, wouldntit be great if you could both say that you had a good experience? So, how canyou make sure that your first date is the best it can be (even if it turns outto be your only date together)? Here are some suggestions on what to do andwhat not to do. Things to do: 1. Chose the venuecarefully If you are doing the choosing, pick somewhere that you know your date willlike. Just because you fancy the idea of eating a snake banquet, it doesntmean that they will. A drink in a quiet bar, a quicksupper or lunch in a little place you know are great ideas. The advantage ofkeeping the first date short and simple is that if you dont like each other,you havent got to make it through a seven-course meal together. If you do likeeach other, you can either extend the date, or plan a longer one for next time.It is always better to leave wanting more. Try and avoid very noisy places(where you cant hear each other), cinemas (where you cant talk), sportingevents (unless you know for a fact that they are interested), or your home(because it could be risky if you dont know them). If you already know the personand are pretty certain that you both like each other then by all means go forthe big romantic gesture. But remember it is possible to overdo things. Myhusband turned up for our second date with a bottle of wine, flowers and a boxof chocolate biscuits, but soon realised he only had two hands and decided toleave the biscuits in the car! 2. Make an effort Do put your best food forward. Make an effort with your appearance - but not somuch of an effort that your date wouldnt recognise you if they bumped into youin the street the next day. Making an effort shows that youcare and that you want to make a good impression. Unwashed hair, bad hygieneand yesterdays clothes arent likely to win anyone over. And dont overdue the alcohol especially if you have a tendency to become boorish, rude, indiscreet,lecherous, violent or sick when intoxicated. 3. Be kind Whether you are attracted to the person or not be kind. It doesnt cost youanything, and it will make a big difference to the other persons enjoyment ofthe date. I have two American friends, Jackand Susan. Early on in their relationship Jack said something like this toSusan: I dont know if well get married in the future but I want to treat youso well that if we split up one day and you end up marrying someone else Iwould be able to look the other guy in the eye, shake his hand and say: Hereis Susan, I looked after her for you. They did end up marrying each other butI thought that was an amazing thing to say. Im not suggesting you say that onthe first date. But wouldnt it be fantastic if people were better off in lifefrom having spent time with you, not worse off? That means being kind andconsiderate and treating your date as you would like to be treated yourself. Being kind also means not lyingor giving false hope. Dont tell someone that you will phone and that you cantwait to see them again, if you have no intention of following through. 4. Leave your emotionalbaggage at home If you have a huge line in exes, a past addiction to therapy and you stillcant forgive your Dad for missing your sports' day when you were five, keep itto yourself on your first date. Too much emotional baggage, too soon, is neverattractive. If you end up in a relationship youll have plenty of opportunityto air your past sexual history, your hang-ups and all your past regrets andmistakes. A first date, like a firstinterview, is the time to emphasise your best points not to draw attention toyour weaknesses. However, if your date asks you adirect question, such as, Have you ever been married? (or even Are youmarried?) then of course give the true answer. 5. Be yourself Let the other person see the real you. A first date is not the time to try outbeing the person youd like to be, or the person you think your date would likeyou to be. After all, you dont want them falling in love with a false versionof you. You want someone who likes you for all you are, with your good bits,your not so good bits, your little quirky bits and all the things in betweenthat make you, you. Things not to do: 6. Dont dominate theconversation If you do all the talking especially about yourself it will give theimpression that you arent interested in your date. The other person will feelflattered and special if you take the time to listen to them, ask themquestions and draw them out. Im not suggesting that you donttalk about yourself. It is important that the other person has a chance tolearn about you, but try and make sure that you are listening as much - or more- than you are talking. 7. Dont forget yourmanners Bad manners arent attractive and are likely to irritate your date. Make sureyou turn up on time and if you are going to be late for any reason, let themknow. Turn off your phone (or put it on silent if you are expecting an urgentcall) and remember to say thank you if the other person is footing the bill. You can tell a lot about a personby how they treat the waiters or waitresses and how they react if things dontgo their way in a traffic jam or a queue. So dont just be polite to your date,be kind to other people too. It will reflect well on you. 8. Dont pretend to beanything youre not In an attempt to impress, it can be tempting to exaggerate, dress up the truthor just plain lie. You may get away with that if you dont see them again afterthe first date but if the relationship does last any longer, you may findyourself in a tricky situation later down the line. So, if you are separated, dontsay you are divorced. If you hate football dont say that you cant think of a betterway to spend a Saturday afternoon, than cheering on Bristol City. And if youwork part-time in a call centre dont say youre something big incommunications. Stick with the truth and it will be a lot easier to rememberwhat you said on future dates. 9. Dont make an instantjudgement Many of us make up our minds as to whether we like someone in the first fewseconds or minutes of meeting. But our first impressions can be misleading. Trynot to rule people out straight away. Instead, spend some time getting to knowthem. If youre not sure about someone, it may take two or three dates beforeyou can really decide. Try not to be too quick to judgeor too fussy or rigid about what you are looking for in a potential partner. Inearly ditched my gorgeous husband on the second date because he was wearing atight polyester sports top and Im not a great fan of man-made fibres(apparently I wasnt meant to see it, but he got too hot under his thickjumper). If you get too restrictive about what you are looking for or if youmake up your mind about someone too quickly you will risk missing out. 10. Dont rush things Take time to get to know the other person before getting too emotionally orphysically involved with them. Sex is a powerful bonder and if you sleeptogether on the first date it may blind you to any fundamental problems betweenyou. It helps if you can establish that theres more to the relationship thanjust chemistry before ripping off each others clothes. We all know people whohave had a passionate affair with someone only to wake up two months laterand realise that they dont even like the person and that they have nothing incommon with them. Equally, dont get tooemotionally involved too quickly. Saying I love you on the first date isntromantic its a bit creepy (unless youve known them a long time).