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by self-help expert Dr Pam Spurr.

We all have different expectations of what ‘dating’ or a ‘date’ is. For some it’s going out with your friends and theirs as a group. Hanging out and letting things develop in the safety of your group.

For others it’s you two meeting for coffee, drinks, eating out or going to a gig or film. Whatever dating means to you what’s crucial is making it a good experience for you and that new person.

Some dates go wrong. Interviewing people for my new dating guide for women, you may be surprised what I found.

For instance, with first dates or meet-ups, men appreciate it when you do these things:

  • Say what you want to do for your meet up. This takes pressure off him to choose what you two do.
  • Enjoy your food if you go for a meal! Otherwise they think you can’t let go and enjoy yourself because you’re overly worried about weight. They may not realise date-nerves mean you don’t have a stomach for much.
  • Absolutely be yourself but be aware if you’re naturally very loud. Shyer guys feel overwhelmed. Technically that’s their problem if you have an exuberant nature. But sometimes you miss out on a good guy, who’s shy, if you don’t tone it down a notch.
  • Definitely express your opinions on things! He wants to hear what you have to say. But if you’re the shy one, and don’t express yourself, it might be misread as aloofness or disinterest.
  • They appreciate it when you don’t go on about ex-boyfriends. You’d think people know that exes are a ‘no go’ area. But it’s easy to start talking about an ex without realising it.

What did the women think about first dates?

They also appreciated the last three points. For whatever reason, most men don’t have a problem with the first two – they say what they want to do and they don’t pick at their food.

How to feel good about being on a date

The following goes for everyone:

  • Always go out focusing on the two best qualities you have to offer – like you have a good sense of humour and you’re caring.
  • Think you have nerves? Always remember that guy or girl probably feels nervous too. Reassure yourself you both feel the same.
  • You don’t have to be the best conversationalist, just talk about things that matter to you – maybe music, films, politics. For instance, start a chat about music, asking what they’re listening to.
  • Put the spotlight on them and ask them what they get up to, where they hang out, etc. Showing interest in someone else is crucial to a happy experience.
  • Don’t use alcohol to cover nerves. Many think a ‘few more’ will relax them. The reality is that can lead to bad choices. Nerves are acceptable! If you worry your nerves come across as being aloof, joke about the fact you feel quite nervous. A little honesty is great.
  • Never feel if you’ve had big struggles in your life, you have to tell them everything about your personal problems. Respect yourself enough to know you’re allowed some privacy. As you get to know someone, you build trust to tell them what you want to.

What if they make you feel bad/undermined on a date?

Two things you really need to know. First, if you go on a date with, or hang out with, someone that makes you feel bad about yourself – they’re not good enough for you! Don’t try and be “better” or fit in with what you think they want. Be yourself!

Second, if they pressure you to drink more than you’d normally, or take drugs, or have sex when you’re not ready, set your boundaries. If they reject you because you say no, again they’re not good enough for you!

Finally, if in doubt about how you’re being treated, run it past a trusted friend.

About the author: Dr Pam Spurr is an award-winning radio presenter, agony aunt, relationship, sex and behaviour expert, and life coach. Dr Pam is the author of 14 self-help books on topics including sex, dating, happiness, emotional eating and dream interpretation. She has appeared as a contributor on TV programmes including This Morning, Loose Women, LK Today, Daybreak, GMB, The Wright Stuff, BBC Breakfast, and for ten years running as a resident behaviour expert on Big Brother’s Little Brother and Big Brother’s Bit on the Side. Pam has a doctorate in psychology from a London teaching hospital and is a chartered research, academic and teaching psychologist. Her doctoral and postdoctoral research looked at parenting/family issues.

You can follow Dr Pam @drpamspurr or visit her website at

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