How You Can Transform Your Man on a First Date


If you find that your dates consistently don’t go well, the easy thing to do is say, “He wasn’t the right guy.” However, it’s much more powerful for you to look in the mirror and say, “How could I have made tonight go better?”

I can already hear you sigh:

“But I don’t WANT to make my first dates better. If a guy is nervous around me, that says something about him. I want a man who is confident, who is completely comfortable in his own skin, and can make the best of every situation.”


Now imagine a time that you were in the presence of a jaw-droppingly hot guy. He’s tall, gorgeous, rich, charismatic — and utterly oblivious to you as a romantic partner.

If you find that your dates consistently don’t go well, the easy thing to do is say, “He wasn’t the right guy.”

Do you feel confident?

Do you feel secure?

Do you speak profusely?

Do you clam up?

Whatever your answer, I’m pretty sure that there are some men whose mere presence totally messes you up.

Suddenly, you’re not acting like yourself.

Suddenly, you’re acting like a skittish schoolgirl with her first crush on a boy.

There are awkward silences. There is nervous laughter. There is stilted conversation.

But most of all, there is no chance for another date.

So if you’ve blown an opportunity with a hot guy because you weren’t able to act at your best, wouldn’t it stand to reason that there’s a great guy out there who wasn’t on the top of his game on your first date?

Damn right.

It also stands to reason that when you show up 10 minutes late, text on your cell phone, look over his shoulder, lean back with your arms crossed, don’t seem interested in his stories, interrogate him about his past, grill him on his beliefs, and dissect every single thing that you don’t like about him… that it may be hard for a man to have true confidence and poise in your presence.

Your takeaway from this short blog post is this:

Instead of seeing dating as a time-consuming, soul-sucking enterprise, where you have to figure out in an hour whether he’s a good husband and father and great in bed, try seeing it more like you’re entertaining a client and want to win his business.

Smile. Laugh. Go with the flow. Ignore his flaws. Do everything in your power to make the limited amount of time you have together into a fun experience.

Because if you’re having fun, he’s having fun.

If you’re easygoing and relaxed, he’ll be easygoing and relaxed.

But you can’t blame men for being bad dates if you’re not doing anything in your power to try to make their job easier.

As I wrote in Why He Disappeared, he’s putting on a show for you; the least you can do is applaud.

What you’ll quickly find is that the men you go out with are suddenly more confident, playful, and attractive, all because YOU decided to make them feel special.

It’s pretty magical when you can do this — on a first date and beyond.

Be a better woman and you will bring out a better side in your man.

Join our conversation (79 Comments).
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  1. 1

    So to sum it all up, we need to stay positive, keep it light, and give him a 2nd chance, right? But what if throughout the 1hour-2hour date, he kept on glancing elsewhere or checking his phone when we’re talking to him? This is a major turn off for me, but do disrespectful dates deserve a 2nd chance?

  2. 2

    I wish the last woman I went out with had read this!

  3. 3

    I can make no excuses for rude guys.   Some guys glance elsewhere or at their phones because they are shy or awkward or poor conversationalists. You were there in the actual situation, so I imagine you know whether they were arrogant or simply shy. I know “shy” isn’t a big turn-on for women, but I guess this is what this whole blog post is about.  

  4. 4

    You had me up until “ignore his flaws”. I think flaws should be on some kind of continuum. There’s the “maybe his outfit isn’t exactly right” kind of flaw and there’s the “he’s demeaning to the waitress, this guy’s probably not so nice”  kind of flaw. You don’t have to make a judgement on it, but it is a point of information. Paying attention to certain things in the beginning can prove to be especially important for women who may have been in any kind of violent or dangerous relationships in the past. Have fun and be flirty, but pay attention.

    1. 4.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      We’re talking, Trenia, about making the most of a first date with a man who has some redeeming qualities. Obviously, if he’s a tool who shows up a half hour late, stares at your boobs, is unemployed, stiffs you with the check, and makes derogatory comments about you, you don’t need dating advice.

  5. 5
    Karl R

    Daisy asked: (#1)
    “But what if throughout the 1hour-2hour date, he kept on glancing elsewhere”

    There’s a fine line between making eye contact which shows we’re interested in what you’re saying, and having an unwavering stare which makes you think we’re a future stalker.

    Everyone has a slightly different opinion of how much eye contact is appropriate (or possibly a very different opinion, if they’re from another culture).

    If you want to limit your options, eliminate  dates for inconsequential details like not knowing how much eye-contact to make. I had much better luck by cutting women some slack if they weren’t polished on the first date.

  6. 6
    Simple lady

    You got it right Evan! I had a date with this intelligent man  but does not talk much. On our first date I did most of the talking as I dont want the date to be a boring one. We both enjoyed our first date.  After the date he  thanked me for making him feel comfortable as he  was a bit nervous.  I gave him another chance for a second, third, fourth date  and now we are both happy and getting more excited  in our very young relationship. I  learnt and learning alot from your blogs  which makes  my man  gets more excited to me. Its really a nice feeling  when a man is really interested with you as he initiates and   always plan to see me. Guess what Evan? Im using the strategy”Play it cool”. Its  bloody effective to me…Im a very assertive woman sometimes I scared off the  past men I dated but since I started to read your blogs…Oh man! it helps alot. Wished I knew  your website 3 years ago…Keep it up Evan! You’re doing very well! Thanks very much!x  

  7. 7

    I used to err on the other side — on a first date, I used to let the guy get away with murder, figuratively speaking of course. My reasoning was — first date is a meet-and-greet, both people are nervous and anxious to make a good impression, but they don’t know how to make one since they don’t know each other. So when my first date from hell came along, I hadn’t even registered it as being hellish. I drove 45 miles to his area after work, as he didn’t have a driver’s license. Texted him when I left home. When I got there, he texted me that he’d just gotten back from a run and needed to shower and change before walking to our meeting place. I’d given him an hour notice and he still was 15-20 minutes late. He had his phone in front of him the whole time, getting texts, answering texts. Halfway through the date, a female friend of his walked over, said hello then asked him “what’re you doing tonight?” and right in front of me he said “don’t know yet, I’ll text you when I get out of here” True to my principle that first dates do not count against a guy, I let it all slide!… he repaid by messing with my head, playing me, dumping me and cutting off contact. So from there on out, when I went on first dates, I told myself that, while a guy still deserves a break, there are red flags. If he treats me badly on our first date, he’s out. If he shows no respect, he’s out. But other than that, yeah, I still believe that people should be given the benefit of a doubt on first dates. I dated for a total of about six months, met maybe a couple dozen people, and did what Evan says we should do — had fun. I met a lot of cool people, made a few good friends, and collected some hilarious first-date stories (like the one I just told.)

  8. 8

    Goldie #8: Something that myself and my guy friends have noticed is that women have crazy screening mechanisms. On the one hand, they will let some guys get away with crazy stuff as you did in your story, while on the other hand they will write off other guys for relatively small stuff such as coming across a little nervous or being “too” agreeable, and cite the chemistry thing. I mean, you gave this guy with all these huge red flags a second chance, but surely you have also decided against a second date with someone who was “nice but no chemistry” right?
    He can correct me if I am wrong, but I think Evan is really talking about more going on a second date with the guys who was “nice but no chemistry”.

    1. 8.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Not “no chemistry”, Michael. A “6” will do. But understand, it’s hard to have chemistry when he’s nervous about pleasing her. His confidence is low, she’s not helping him get comfortable and it all spirals out of control. So I implore women to HELP their men be their BEST selves on the date – which is a better indicator of how he is in real life. Not everyone’s a natural dater, comfortable with strangers, extroverted and confident around attractive people. The more you can help those people shine, the more you can see their goodness. And get some extra chemistry, to boot.

  9. 9

    Having been on a huge number of date in the past 8 years, i’ve pretty much got the first date down to a tee now and almost always get asked on a second date. In a way this is good, as it then gives me the choice as to whether I want to see the guy again or not, but sometimes I end up feeling like I have led the guy on and i feel bad – I’ve been so smiley and interested and easy to talk to and laughed at his jokes and he thinks the date went really well, when in fact I was totally bored….

    Sometimes, perhaps due to pressure from friends, I agree to second dates I don’t really feel enthused about, to “give the guy a chance” – sadly, I have come to the conclusion that this never seems to work out well for me, but just ends up confirming how I felt after the first date. So I have now decided that unless I am actually excited about the idea of seeing the guy again,  I won’t accept a second date. That might sound harsh, but  the tedious second date is an even worse experience to sit through   than the dull first date, and   then I STILL have to go through th horrible thing of saying I don’t want to see him again after all that… not fun.

  10. 10

    I’m with helene. Inconsiderate lovers, too, I’m not anxious to give them a second go. I’m all in favor of helping the conversation flow, but if you’re doing all the lifting, something’s wrong. Also if when he does talk, you get gems about how hard he’s suing his ex, etc. The only thing I can imagine remedying the “heavy lifting” problem’s if you get a message afterwards apologizing, saying he was just so undone by your beauty etc. that he behaved like an idiot, and he’s embarrassed and hopes you’ll give him a second chance.

  11. 11

    If I’m not mistaken, Evan isn’t suggesting that we give the total dolts a second date.   He’s saying be warm and open on the first date so if he’s a wonderful guy who’s not the most natural, smooth dater, we’ll have a better chance of glimpsing his fine qualities.  
    I really do try to behave like this on all my first dates.   I figure that if a guy is horrid to me or just not interesting in spite of my gentle encouragement, I’ve at least practiced my dating skills and don’t give him a second chance.   But there are plenty of guys who have shown themselves to be funny, kind and smart on date #1 once (and only once) they felt a bit more at ease.   The guys who know how to turn on the charm & charisma for every girl aren’t necessarily the ones who turn out to be the best husband material.  

  12. 12

    Evan #10: I know that you do not mean that one should settle for “no chemistry”. What I meant was that the chemistry that might be there later (at a level of 6 or even higher) is often not there *on the first date*, and that if you are to give someone a second chance, it’s better to give “nice but no sparks” the second chance (because the missing chemistry might appear within a few dates) instead of “red flags but lots of sparks” (because the red flags aint going away!).

  13. 13

    I’m with Helene (11) and Amy (12). There’s a huge difference between the shy or nervous guy and outright Rude Dude. I think some of the best advice I ever got from Evan was to make the first date fun & enjoy yourself, regardless of whether your guy turns out to be not quite what you had hoped for. But this has also backfired a couple times when a guy contacts me for a second date, and I politely decline, and he feels I’ve tricked him. I’ve had them ask me, “Then why were you so nice to me?” Or “Well, you sure seemed like you were having a good time. Was that all fake?” I know I’ve asked myself that question when a guy seems genuinely interested in me, enjoying my company, only to be never heard from him again. Regardless, I still think it makes sense to give it your best shot, even if it’s just to make the best of an awkward (or boring) situation.

    For me this isn’t a chemistry thing. I don’t need to feel chemistry on a first date; in fact, if I do feel instant chemistry (and here I mean lust) that’s always, ALWAYS a bad sign for me. I lose my judgment, and any remaining ounce of common sense I have goes right out the window, blinding me to the large, vibrant red flags unfurling around me. Slow-growing chemistry is what works best for me. Kinda like the Slow Food movement, only with libido instead of home-grown kale.  

  14. 14

    Daisy #1

    There’s a difference between someone who is interested in you, and is a nice guy, but happens to be shy or awkward, and someone who’s distractedly looking around and keeps checking his phone because he’s rude or not really interested. I’d cut the former some slack, and dismiss the latter.  

  15. 15

    Ditto with Helen @11! I feel exactly the same way and always get the comment “you are so easy to talk to”… But I rarely feel anything towards them.   At 53, I’m no longer hormone driven and I really think that plays into how I’m looking at and hearing my dates….I do agree that making them feel comfortable (it just comes easy for me) and giving someone a second chance is important, otherwise (for me anyway) I could rule All men out.   The issue comes in when they want some sort of physical interaction (date 2 or 3 let’s say) and I’m not ready….then I either feel guilty or I just tell them “it’s just not working” when in fact, if they had slowed it down, it might have worked….my 2 cents.

  16. 16

    I’ve posted this story in other blogs but think it is very  pertinent here.  

    A couple of months ago I went out with the most physically attractive woman I’ve ever been on a date with.   Including my ex-wife who was also beautiful.   I couldn’t believe she actually replied to my e-mails and the e-mails and phone conversation that followed were so smooth it was almost organic.   I should add in addition to her physical beauty, I really liked her personality – she really was exactly what I have been looking for at least based on my limited information up to that point.

    Even though I was highly attracted to her, I’ve done a lot of dating in the last 2 years so I was not really stumbling or nervous (okay a little nervous but I was able to keep it in check).   I was this way because IMHO, she was the most attractive and interesting woman on Match in my area and I strated to think that maybe, just maybe all the highs and lows of dating that I put up with over the last few years was finally paying off.

    When I met her and we sat down (we went to a wine bar), she began commenting how much younger I looked in person (which I obviously took as a good sign).   She was interested in the wine I ordered and wanted to try it and drank out of my glass a few times which also led me to believe that she was attracted to me (or at the very least certainly not unattracted to me).  

    The date went very well, we had a lot of things in common and we were also generally in the same place in our lives (mid-30’s, divorced, we both own homes, we lived geographically close to eachother), the only difference was that she had a child and I have none.

    After I paid the check, we stayed and talked for another half-hour; she did not seem in a rush to leave and even said at the end, “so what do you wanna do?”   Which sounded like, “I’m having fun and I’m not rushing out of here but it is getting late…”

    At the end of the date, I decided I was going to not push my luck and that I would giver her a hug and a peck on the cheek.   So when I went to do that she made a move to kiss me and actually started open-mouth kissing me and we wound up having a little make-out session.   She then looked me in the eye and said, “I hope to see you again.”

    So short story long…a couple of days later (after I called her and she told me she was busy and  would call me back), she sends me a text that reads, Hi XXXX!   I’m sorry I didn’t respond to you, I didn’t want to not get back to you but I also don’t want to waste ur time.   I wish u the best of luck in ur search and I know you’ll find the right person.   XOXO.”

    Obviously I was dejected.   I know I didn’t have much invested at this point and I know you’re not supposed to take it personal (which I don’t agree with because the reality is, it IS personal) but getting a date with a girl of that caliber doesn’t come around that often.   I’de be lying if I said I still don’t think about her a lot (I’m obviously still writing about it 2 months later).   I’ve dissected it every which way but I still can’t help but think that if we had enough chemistry to make out, why not explore it further with a second date?   But I know that I’ve kissed girls that I never intended seeing again so who knows.

    I remember her saying that she hates Match (who doesn’t?) and that she went out with a few guys and that they were all nice but not interesting.   I’m sure I fell into the same category.   Yet 2 months later, I still see her online so it’s very hard not to feel discarded and since then I’ve been so burned out on dating that I’ve actually decided to cancel my Match subscription and detox for a while.

    I thought she might be out of my leaugue and it makes me sick to think that she may have been bored out of her mind the whole time.   But then I said to myself, I’m tall (it seems everyone places a lot of importance on this), very fit, I make six figures, and I’m sociable, there’s a reason she went out with me in the first place.

    Unfortunaltely for me, her options are limitless and she can shop till she drops.   But I think that also makes it easy for her to reject quality guys.   And even though my above-listed qualities are good, in my neck of the woods (Long Island, NY), I’m probably average.

    I say this with all due modesty; I am usually the one to turn down a second date.   It’s a real kick in the teeth when you find someone you’re legitimately excited about and the feeling isn’t mutual.  

    I have to say that even though I was highly attracted to her, I didn’t feel intense chemistry or sparks.   Though as were were kissing, I did feel elated.   But I didn’t feel a 10 in the chemistry dept.   Mostly because it’s an online date and I am cautious by nature.   But I think everyone has their definition of how much chemistry they need on a first date to go on a second and there’s nothing you can do to sway that.

  17. 17

    @ Michael #9, I will admit that I pre-screened like crazy before the first dates, just to save both of us valuable time, gas and dinner money. But once someone made it to the first date, 90% of the time I was okay with the second. And, on the first, I always made sure we both had a good time, so it’s not a total waste of an evening for us both – if all else fails, at least we’ll have had a relaxing coffee/dinner with a fun person. I’ve only encountered the “no chemistry” twice, as in, it felt like kissing a fish, and there were other issues in both cases as well. FTR, I felt pretty little chemistry with my current BF for the first few dates, and was dating somebody else at the same time where there was crazy chemistry. But the BF treated me infinitely better than the other guy (who was well-meaning, very nice but kinda flakey), hence he’s the BF. Believe me, I pay attention at least some of the time when I read Evan’s blog 😉

  18. 18

    Goldie #19: I hope I didn’t sound like a jerk in my first reply. Anyway, nice!

  19. 19

    Aww thanks Michael, no you sounded fine 🙂

  20. 20

    hespeler #18: I’m going to take a stab at this. I don’t think she was bored during the date, I think she was genuinely attracted. But then when she went home and thought about it, she felt differently. (Key word being “felt”)
    I do wonder if the way the date ended had something to do with it. She might have been hoping the night would have gone on somewhere else and she might have been disappointed you didn’t take the initiative in that regard. Even if going someplace else wasn’t an option… At the end of the date you didn’t seem that assertive. She initiated everything—the kiss to saying she wanted to see you again. Why didn’t you set up the second date then and there?
    The women here are learning to date more with their heads as well as their emotions and so if they had a date as the one you described, they probably would have gone on a second date with you. Most of the women on Match and probably the girl you went out with, don’t date like that though. They go primarily by their feelings. And by not stepping up and showing leadership when the moment was there–even if you were to say “Hey, I had an awesome time. I do need to get up tomorrow early for work but I do want to see you again. What is your schedule like?” you lost the feeling.
    (Aside: Which is why there is a thriving Men’s Community of guys—many of them are actually looking for a great girlfriend—who are trying to learn about “game”—acting in such a way that triggers the woman’s emotions so that she does want to see you again. I know a lot of woman hate “The Community” and the things that the guys there are trying to learn, but the truth is that many women actually date by their feelings, and many of the guys who would make the best boyfriends often struggle the most when it comes to triggering these feelings, and so they feel the need to learn “game”.)
    Then again, there very well might have been something going on at her end that has nothing to do with you.
    Again, this is my take!

    1. 20.1

      If a guy asks me out during the first date, I let him know about my 24-hour rule. It takes me a while to process all the new information I gained in the first date, and I prefer not to commit to a second date on the spot and then have to cancel it later (which has happened many times). So if he asks me out, I will let him know in 24 hours if it is a go for the second date or not. I view it as a positive sign if he texts me in 24 hours.
      So I guess I am unlike those women who are dating by emotions only. When you date in the emotion of the moment, you are likely to ignore red flags and focus solely on chemistry. (And I love sex and sexual chemistry, but I also value mental, emotional, and spiritual chemistry and I like to be treated the way I treat my partner, which is very well.)  

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