4 Tips for a Good Date

Going on a date? Here are a few guidelines to make it a good one.

A couple talking and enjoying coffee.

The most important things you can bring to a date are an open heart and mind, an attentive ear, and a true desire and curiosity to connect. These guidelines will also help you stay on track:

1. Talk a lot. Take along the list of open-ended questions for that particular date topic. These will serve as a guide and compass for your conversation.

2. Avoid judgment. Don’t be critical, and don’t give advice unless your partner asks for it. Strive to communicate respect, understanding, and empathy. The goal of these conversations isn’t to prove that you’re right and your partner is wrong; it’s to better understand each other.

3. Drink little (or not at all). Many couples increase their chances of fighting when they drink, so we recommend you limit your alcohol consumption to one drink or less on date night. Alcohol relaxes inhibitions but it also disinhibits aggression — not great for a date. You want to be coherent and truly present for intimate conversations.

4. Keep a sense of humor. Find the moments of humor. Find the joy, even when it feels difficult. Don’t forget why you fell in love with each other. And most important, don’t forget to laugh.

This article originally appeared as “A Few Guidelines for a Good Date” in “5 Essential Conversations for Any Couple” in the December 2020 issue of Experience Life.

, are cofounders of the Gottman Institute in Seattle, where they conduct research and clinical training for marriage therapists. This article is adapted from Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, Workman Publishing, 2019, coauthored with Doug Abrams and Rachel Carson Abrams, MD.

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