8 Top Tips for Landing a Date, Having Fun, and (Maybe) Hooking Up

You go on dates– getting one isn’t necessarily the problem. The issue, however, is making it a good date.

What could be the problem? You? The other person? The universe conspiring against you?

After consulting with some friends who worked at sites like eHarmony and Match.com, and chatting up some single friends to find out what annoyed them when on a date, we found that some of the downfalls came from basic mistakes. Here are eight that came up most often.

1. Use Recent Photos
When using an online site, having recent photos in your profile is going to guarantee connections go per plan. Look, you may be feeling like you’re getting older or not looking your best right now– we all feel like that from time to time– but using a college photos from 8 years ago is only going to annoy your date when you meet face to face. You wouldn’t like someone showing up at your door looking nothing like his or her photo, and neither will your potential date.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, not having a photo is not an excuse anymore. Every cell phone has one (of course, if you don’t have a cell phone, or one that takes photos, that’s a whole other situation.) Bottom line? If you don’t have a photo for your online profile you seriously reduce your chances for a connection.

2. Age Is YOUR Age
Just because you think you look 21 doesn’t mean you are. You are actually 28 and you need to say it.

[pullquote]If she couldn’t tell the truth on something that simple, he wondered if she was going to lie about really challenging things in life.[/pullquote]

A friend of mine used to lie about her age by three years. She didn’t think it was a big deal, and found that men she was interested wouldn’t contact her because (in her mind) they thought she was too old. But after she started dating one man and he accidentally found out her real age, he got annoyed and even questioned her on it. If she couldn’t tell the truth on something that simple, he wondered if she was going to lie about really challenging things in life.

People have a right not to want you for whatever reason. Don’t let vanity get in the way of being an honest person. If someone thinks you’re too old to even contact, then they’ll be missing out on a great opportunity. It’s their loss and your gain, since you probably wouldn’t want to spend time with that kind of person anyway.

3. Keep it Simple
Too many people invest way too much energy into those early dates. Yes, you want them to be nice but if you stress yourself out over the plan you’ll invariably be disappointed if the other person doesn’t live up to those imagined expectations. Early dates are about communication, chemistry, and seeing if there’s a future there.

Alternatively, there’s nothing wrong with realizing there’s no romance but plenty of heat, and taking advantage of that situation. You’re an adult, and if you want to make this a “friends with benefits” situation then go for it. Just make sure the other person is on the same page, otherwise things can get messy.

4. Explain the Plan
Nothing can ruin a hot moment more then inviting a guy over, which he may interpret as having a really fun night, and then making him watch Mamma Mia and cuddle. It really helps to explain the plan ahead of time. Whether you’re hooking up or just hanging out, be clear. It will save you from awkwardness or confused expectations.

5. Play Safe
This is the part where we feel like your 6th grade Sex Ed teacher, but playing safe is more than just preventing pregnancy. There are a whole host of ugly and annoying STDs out there, and you don’t want to catch any of them. Just because your dates tells you he or she is clean, does not mean you should blindly believe it. Make sure you make the right decision.

6. “I’ll Call You”
How many times does a date say this (How many times have you said it?) and not meant it? Save yourself the trouble and the bad karma, and don’t make promises you are not going to keep. If you want to call, then ask for the number or, better yet, give yours. It comes down to being honest. People take those kinds of statements seriously. You can save people time, useless anxiety and hurt feelings by just being honest.

7. Sexually Speaking… Be Respectful
You are both consenting adults so be respectful of each other. If they do not like something he or she wants to do, stop. Likewise, don’t pressure someone into doing anything they don’t want to do. Also be respectful of their discretion. No one likes doing the physical “walk of shame,” so don’t start putting Facebook notices up about how good or bad someone was in the sack. It’s not only tacky, but it can come back to bite everyone in the backside (and not in a fun way).

8. Have Fun
There’s always concern about hooking up and how it will make you look if you do it. Guys, of course, have less of a problem when it comes to this. We’re kind of piggy like that. Girls, however, still face a lot of pressure and judgment from society when it comes to having sex on a first date or early in a relationship.

Is it OK to hook up? That’s up to you and your date. What we do know is that having sex doesn’t mean it will lead to love or even a friendship. Hooking up doesn’t make you are a slut, either. Just choose what works best for you, your life and your goals. And don’t judge others about their personal business– whether they want to let their freak flag fly or keep it clamped up until they’re in love. We each need to live our own lives, find what works for our individual souls, and keep our noses out of how other people’s business.