How to Have a Great First Date
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How to Have a Great First Date

The following is a special needs program update from College Living Experience | CLE | Choose Your Future. You may also click here to read the original article on the program’s website.

By Donna Mossholder, Program Assistant

First Date

Holly and Connor are buying flowers for their respective dates.

That stomach-churning, nerve-inducing, awkward yet exciting day is here. Yes, you are indeed headed out the door for your first date. Here are some tips for your date to run a bit more smoothly, make a great first impression, and find out if you are truly compatible. These tips will keep your date fun, smooth, and memorable.

Choose a familiar venue.

One of the mistakes some first-daters make is to try and pick a restaurant that is too fancy or an activity that might be a little too adventurous for a first date (sky diving anyone?). This will amp up the jitters tenfold especially if it’s something or somewhere brand new to you. It’s better to pick a place and an activity that is familiar. That will put you at ease and enable you to reduce those first date tensions a bit more.

Ask questions and be curious.

Have a list of questions bouncing around in your head. This is a great way to really get to know someone and produce some great conversations starters. Try to use more open ended questions, or those that require more than a yes or no answer. These types of questions will keep the conversation rolling all through dinner. Stay away from hot topics and keep it light. Stick with their favorite foods, activities, books to read etc. Avoid talking about exes, politics or religion as these are a bit too personal and heated for a first date.

Put away your phone!

This is the quickest way to make someone feel uncomfortable and send a message (no pun intended) that you are not interested. Putting away that phone will allow you to concentrate on your date, make them feel special, and allow yourself to become ensconced in the experience.

Activity before eating.

If you are going to go to dinner, try and do an activity beforehand. This could include a movie, an art gallery opening, perusing a book store or even going on a bike ride. An activity will help to break the ice and give you something to talk about over dinner.

Be Yourself.

Yes, it is extremely cliché, but this should be a top priority. Remember part of the purpose of a first date is to find out if you are compatible with each other. That is hard to do if you are trying to be someone you are not. So if you don’t normally wear high heels and a dress or don a tie, now is not the time to start.

Dating is a rite of passage for any young adult, and with these tips you can make your experiences fun and carefree.

Newsletter Articles – September 2014

romance and respect

Most of the relationships in our lives are built on shared interests, similar experiences, and, most importantly, mutual respect. Respect is equally as important, if not even more so, in our romantic relationships. I’m sure we’ve all had that one relationship that wasn’t necessarily bad, but still made us feel unfulfilled on some level. Usually, it’s a lack of respect from one or both parties that makes the relationship suffer, which is why it’s important to always remember to have respect in any relationship both for yourself and for the other person.


Twenty-first century dating has introduced a variety of new potential opportunities to meet others through the internet, and our students may be particularly drawn to online dating and social media. Dating is an important developmental experience for our students and it’s important to teach them how to make good decisions in order to effectively and safely navigate in a complex social world.


I see dating like training wheels for a romantic relationship. Once we get comfortable with each other, we can be more serious. When those wheels come off, we will either fall or take off. Getting to know someone in a romantic way helps me to determine if it is a good fit for our personalities. I look for compatibility and good communication skills. It is very similar to hanging out with a friend, but having a romantic twist. There may be flirting, asking about what they want out of life and seeing how much that matches my own life purpose.

different levels of friendship

Young adults in CLE programs have a wide variety of experiences in making friends. For some, past social interactions were limited to being with high school peers during class with little to no socializing after school or on weekends. Other CLE students created and maintained friendships from elementary school, and easily make friends when they come to CLE.

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