Josh Sway is every man's source for dating, relationships, self-improvement, and more.

Articles advice from Josh

/ What's Your First Date Routine?

Here's why you should have one.

Do you have a first date routine?

In other words, when you ask a girl out on a first date, do you already have a place to go in mind?

If not, you should. Here’s why.
<h3><strong>The Short Answer</strong></h3>
If you're in a hurry, you can just read this next sentence and skip the next 1,000 words:

<strong>You need a first date routine because without it, whether your dates go well or poorly, you’ll have no fucking idea why.</strong>

Imagine you go out with two women in the same week. For the first woman, you suggest you get drinks at a bar near your place on a weekday. For the second woman, she suggests you go out to a restaurant near her place on a weekend. If one date goes well and one dates goes poorly, <strong>you will have no idea why. </strong>The dates were completely different from each other, <strong>so you will be unable to isolate which differences actually mattered.</strong>

In other words: if the first date went well and the second date bombed, <strong>why?</strong> Maybe it was because you had a hard time finding parking and were stressed out before you even showed up. Maybe they sat you at a large table so you felt you were more on an interview than a date. Maybe you thought the restaurant was loud and so it was hard to talk. Or maybe she just wasn’t that into you, and it wouldn’t have mattered where you went.

<strong>But you don’t know for sure. </strong> And that’s a problem. Was it your game, or just bad logistics? If you had taken both women out to the same place, a place you felt comfortable with and thought was a good environment, then you’d know it was your game. But now, you don’t know.
<h3> <strong>Quantifying Improvement Requires Controlled Variables</strong></h3>
You’re reading <a href="/"></a> because you want to improve your dating life, and for the most part this will consist of reading advice here and trying to apply it in the real world through trial and error. A particular approach may get you a date with one woman and subsequently crash and burn with another. You won’t really be able to tell what works until your “sample size” is sufficiently high enough. But the more variables you have, the larger sample size you'll need.

Let’s use an analogy: say you want to try a <a href="/articles/the-josh-sway-bodybuilding-guide">new workout routine</a>. In one scenario, you try this routine at the same gym with the same equipment. In another scenario, you go to a different gym each time, substitute different exercises, and sometimes use weights labeled in kilograms instead of pounds. In which scenario is it going to be easier to tell if you’re getting results?
<h3><strong>Simplify Your Logistics, Because You Already Have Enough Shit to Worry About</strong></h3>
First dates can be stressful. You already need to worry about things like what you should wear and whether <a title="How To Prevent Her From Flaking" href="/articles/view/how-to-prevent-her-from-flaking/">she’s going to flake</a>. When you have a good first date routine, at least you don’t need to worry about the logistics of your actual date. You don’t need to worry about things like parking. You’ve already been there before and vetted the place, so you know what to expect. The more things you can minimize worrying about on a date, the better.
<h3><strong>It Doesn’t Have to be Dogmatic</strong></h3>
Look, if you’re talking to a girl and she says her friend has extra tickets to a Radiohead concert and suggests you both go, you should just go do that (assuming you don’t hate Radiohead). Likewise, if the girl says something like, “I have to work late, but I can meet you if you can make it to my part of town” then you can adapt.

So you don't have to be dogmatic about it.  Adapt your first date plans if you need to.  But for the most part, when you ask out a woman, she’s going to defer to you for suggestions on where to take her out.
<h3><strong>It Doesn’t Have to Feel Contrived</strong></h3>
I’ve found the main reason guys are resistant to a first date routine is because they feel it’s contrived. A first date routine can make it seem like you’re manufacturing dates off an assembly line and every girl is just another stamping another serial number. Meeting someone new is supposed to be fresh and exciting, but it can be tough to feel that way when you’re essentially replaying dates in the same setting over and over again.

I’ve made it sound like a first date routine means going to a single location every first date, but it doesn’t have to be this tightly defined. You can have a handful of places and just rotate accordingly. Or if you’re someone that thrives off “winging it” or feel dates a great place to explore neighborhoods in your city you’ve never been to before, then maybe a first date routine isn’t for you. As everything else on, our advice isn’t universally applicable.
<h3>One Major Caveat</h3>
If you do decide to establish a first date routine, then remember: <strong>don’t ditch your first date routine if you meet a girl you’re especially attracted to. </strong>This falls under our previous advice to <a title="3 Dating Mistakes You Don’t Even Know You Are Making" href="/articles/view/3-dating-mistakes-you-dont-even-know-you-are-making/">not adjust your approach based on how much you like her</a>, but it’s especially important here.

If you have a first date routine that's working for you, <strong>don't change it based on your attraction to the girl.</strong>  Your inclination may be, “I really like this girl, I need to take her somewhere ‘special.’ She deserves more than the same dive bar I always go to for all my first dates.” But this is nonsense. For starters, she doesn’t know you’ve already taken several dates there, and you definitely don’t <a title="Stop Volunteering Negative Information About Yourself" href="/articles/view/stop-volunteering-negative-information/">need to volunteer that information</a>. For all you know, she may be way more impressed by that dive bar that any expensive trendy restaurant you’d suggest instead!

But more importantly, <strong>why would you ditch what works?</strong> The point of a good first date routine is to minimize variables so you can maximize your skills at building attraction with the woman you’re with. If you ditch your first date routine, you’re literally ditching all that experience and knowledge that makes for a successful first date – with a woman with whom you want to have a successful first date! This is like an NFL team making it to the Super Bowl running a West Coast offense, and then throwing out their entire playbook because “they really want to win the game” and “think the game needs more than the same tired and true techniques.”
<h3>What Should I Look For in Good First Date Routine?</h3>
Great question, and one I <a title="Good First Date Routine Locations" href="/articles/view/good-first-date-routine-locations/">answered in another article</a>.  Check it out!

If you've enjoyed the articles on, there's even more advice in our e-books!

Buy Now!