Back a few years ago, I went on a lot of dates. One hundred in one year, to be inexact. (You can read about them at During that time and since, I've learned some things that help make a date great. Full disclosure: I don't always take my own advice and I usually pay for it.
  1. Choose something to do or someplace to go that intrigues you.
    Activities make for great dates. Things like pool, kayaking, mini-golf, or a scavenger hunt. There are so many possibilities! Having an activity will give you something to talk about should the conversation ever falter and if not, it will be so fun. Just make sure it's something you're both interested it doing! Many times though, we don't have time for a big activity. It's just dinner and/or drinks. In that case, choose a place that intrigues you! Old standbys are great but please, shake it up!
  2. Assume you'll be there for 3 hours
    Many people might shudder at this idea, but I stand by it. If you assume you'll have to deal with the person across from you for three hours, you will work hard to make the conversation great. You signed up for this date! Just because there's no chemistry right away doesn't mean your night is wasted. I always think of it like this: "What can I find out about this person that will fascinate me?" Then the "bad date" becomes a fun game. Even if it's only an hour, you'll have better conversation.
  3. Forget your phone
    Everyone knows that phones are today's ultimate distraction. Unless you're on-call and another person's life depends on your availability, either turn off your phone, enable airplane mode, or activate Do Not Disturb. If you absolutely cannot be without your phone, let your date know that's the case and/or maybe rethink dating at the moment. If no one will die, then it's not that important and you can be without your phone for a few hours. Work emails are no excuse. Wait until they pee to check.
  4. Listen
    This one isn't as easy as it sounds. Personally, I'm only okay at this. As such, I'm not qualified to teach you how to be a great listener in 500 characters, so please google "active listening" and give it an honest shot. Your date will truly appreciate it if you're a great listener.
  5. Tell the truth
    This is he only legitimately difficult thing on this list. I struggle with this precisely because I believe in it so much. Anytime I avoid an honest question or comment because I think I will make this awkward or fear rejection, I feel like I just lost the date. You don't want to be crass or impolite, but if you're respectfully honest at all times, it will serve you and your date well. I promise x 1000. Just force yourself to tell the truth. It's a powerful weapon against bad dates!