Have you ever been on a blind date? They’re nerve-racking. Even if you trust the person setting you up, it feels like such a gamble.
What if the guy is a jerk? Or an idiot? Or just a really, really bad fit?
Blind date horror stories range from the uncomfortable to the truly bizarre. For example, there’s the girl who was unknowingly set up with her cousin. Awkward. But that’s not nearly as weird as the guy who kept his dead father’s “lucky dentures” in his pocket and proudly showed them off to his blind date.
That’s the end of that date. Turn and run.
You likely have dating horror stories of your own—blind and otherwise. That’s because all too often, we don’t know enough about the other person before the first date.
I’m not suggesting you request their college transcript, or do a full background check, or ask them to take a personality test. (Even though all three of those would be interesting.)
But it is wise to do a little homework first, even if you’re just meeting for coffee.
If it’s a blind date, you can get the scoop from your would-be matchmaker. If he’s someone you know from work or the gym, you can ask a few simple, non-threatening questions. If you met through an online dating site, check out his profile or just ask him to friend you on Facebook so you can see how he interacts with other people.
Just don’t go into that first date without some idea of who he is. Which opens a whole new can set of questions. What do you need to know before the first date?!
I’m so glad you asked.
There are 7 basic things you should know before you meet him for dinner, drinks or coffee. The goal is to know who he is enough to decide if you really want to invest the time to get to know him better.
This isn’t a definitive checklist. It’s more of a guide. In other words, as long as you know some of this stuff you’re far more likely to have a good first date.
1. His current relationship status.
This seems obvious, but you almost certainly know at least one person who went out with someone who turned out to be cheating. If you’re not 100% certain he’s single, ask.
2. What he does for a living.
Some career choices will give you insight into his character, values and even personality, so this is worth asking about. Also, you’ll have an idea of where he is in life—established, transitioning or drifting aimlessly.
3. How busy he is.
There’s not much point in going out with a guy who has no time for a committed relationship if that’s what you’re after. Don’t demand access to his calendar. That’s creepy. But do try to get a feel for how committed he is to other things, like his job, friends, family and hobbies.
4. What you have in common.
Romantic comedies love to play with the “opposites attract” theme. But here in the real world romance requires some mutual interests. If you don’t have a single shared passion, what are you going to talk about? What will you do together?
5. What’s totally different.
Your differences are as important as your similarities. Maybe you’re okay with dating someone whose politics don’t line up with yours, but you draw the line at spiritual beliefs. Whatever the specifics, it’s good to have a general idea of what doesn’t match.
6. His short-term goals.
Does he know what he’s looking for in a relationship? That might seem like a really invasive question, but it’s not. After all, he’s looking for something. That’s why he wants to take you on a date. If a guy asks you out, it’s okay to casually inquire about his motives.
7. Why you’re saying yes.
This last thing is something you need to know for yourself. Why are you saying yes? Is it because you feel bad saying no? Or because the guy you really like hasn’t asked you out? Or because there’s something specific about this guy you find appealing?
Even if your first date is a blind date, you can easily gather some of the information above. The more you know, the better the chances you won’t waste your time on a guy who isn’t what you’re looking for.
Your time is valuable. You definitely deserve to spend it with the right prospects for a long-term relationship.