couple_walking_in_flower_gardenBetween dating sites, smartphone apps, blind dates, and singles nights; the dating landscape has changed. And if you’re coming out of a long-term relationship( or just leaving a convent), it can seem completely foreign. But while the way we meet people has changed, the basics of dating remain the same. So if you’ve downloaded a new app, found a great person, and are now planning on going on a date. You might be asking, "where’s the app for that?" Don’t sweat it. We've got you covered...

The first thing we forget when a date comes up is that it’s okay to not like the other person (and vice versa). If they don’t like you then don’t expect them to like you a year from now. It can be a blow to the ego if the other person doesn’t fall for you on the first date, but there’s someone out there who will like you, so don’t force it on the wrong person. Fish in the sea and all that.

So before you go on your next date– take a deep breath, relax, and remember these dating basics.

1. There are No Secret “Rules” to Dating

If you really want kids, talk about kids. If you want a traditional Jewish wedding, recite your favorite Torah passage. While I don’t recommend bringing it up on the first date, nobody’s stopping you. If it’s important to you, don’t be afraid to find out if they’re okay with it. There’s no rule to what you can and cannot say. You’d be surprised how many people are not only willing, but happy to discuss their future plans.

The same thing goes for calling. There are no magical number of days or hours to wait after a date that makes you seem like the perfect, attentive, but coolly aloof partner. If the date went well and it seems appropriate to call and make sure they got home okay, go for it! Do you want to shoot them a text telling them good morning the next day? Some might find it odd, but others might find it romantic. If it feels right to you, it’s your best bet. Don’t concern yourself with secret rules because nobody’s refereeing.

2. Don’t Forget the Importance of a First impression

It’s no secret that despite what we’re told, we judge books by their covers. So there’s no shame in sprucing up a bit to impress someone new. Give yourself time to clean up. You might be extremely busy, but don’t schedule a date so you end up coming straight from the office.

Take your time to find a good outfit, do your hair and makeup, and generally freshen up. Besides makeup, this applies to men too. The least you can do is iron your shirt and comb your hair.

One of the most overlooked aspects of our appearance is how we smell. Don’t forget to take a shower, brush your teeth, and pop a breath mint. Perfume and cologne are also a great way to make a powerful first impression. Just make sure not to overdo it. A couple of spritzes under clean clothes is just enough to leave them wanting more. Nothing ruins a date faster than body odor and the remnants of the Italian sub you had for lunch.

3. Pick a Place Where You Can Actually Talk

It’s tempting to pick a place that’s informal and casual for the first date or two, but don’t expect it to go anywhere if you can’t have a real conversation. Starting out, don’t go to the movies. You’ll end up not talking or even looking at each other for two hours. If you go out after, you’ll be tempted to just talk about the movie the whole time.

Avoid noisy bars. Instead, go to a quieter cocktail bar if you’re looking to get a few drinks in. And while a quiet, romantic restaurant may be too bold a move early on, don’t be afraid of more casual dining. As long as you can carry on a conversation, use your imagination. Activities like bowling can be fun and still allow for a few questions. A round of tennis, however, isn’t the most conducive to scintillating discourse.

4. Stop Asking the Same Old Questions

Who’s your favorite band? Read any good books lately? What do you do for a living? Stop right there. Nothing makes your date tune out faster than going through the motions. Instead, come up with some new material. It may not make for the most efficient background check, but interesting new conversation starters make you stand out and contribute to a more engaging conversation.

Don’t worry, you can still find out what they do for a living, but work it into a more interesting question such as, “What’s something cool you accomplished at work this week?” By the end of the date, you’ll have learned a lot and they’ll be excited for the next date.

5. Be Decisive and Take control of your Own Destiny

Whether you’re a man or a woman, indecisiveness is boring and unattractive. Can’t figure out where to go on a date? Pick a place and a time and throw it out there. Want a second date but they haven’t called back yet? Pick up the phone and ask.

Remember, there are no super secret rules and there’s certainly no rule saying that one person has to come up with all the plans or initiate all the conversations. The surest way to get a second date is to ask them out on one. And the only way you’re going to get a goodnight kiss is if one of you leans in and pucker up. It might as well be you.

So take a deep breath, relax, and have a great date!

For more dating advice, follow us on Facebook and Twitter