There's a lot riding on a first date, and a lot that can go wrong. Here are nine tips for all the guys out there who think this girl could be the one. Follow them, and there may be many more dates with this girl to come.
Find out her preferences ahead of time
If you're a truly considerate gentleman, you won't just assume every girl enjoys bareback horseback riding or mountain climbing. You'll ask your chosen date a few questions before the first date to find out what she's comfortable with, and then you'll let her know how to dress and what to expect so she can prepare herself for weather, walking or whatever else the date might entail.
Some girls won't have a preference, but it's still probably better in that case to choose a more tame activity (like bowling or mini golf) and wait until the second or third date for the more intense activities.
Pay her a compliment
When asked on a first date, girls spend untold hours figuring out what to wear, how to do their hair, etc. Show your appreciation for their effort by paying them a sincere compliment at some point during the date. The more specific and thought-out your compliment is, the better.
Drive safely, and don't be embarrassed about your car
Honestly, most girls couldn't care less whether you're driving a Porsche or a Buick. The most they'll probably notice is what color it is. But they will notice whether you opened the door for them to get in, whether it's clean and whether they felt their life was in danger while you drove.
So don't feel self-conscious about how new your car is, but do pick up the trash before picking her up, and give it a vacuum the day of the date. And most importantly, obey all traffic laws. There are few things more embarrassing than getting pulled over on a first date.
Plan more than just a movie
Movie dates are fine once you've been in a relationship for a while, but they don't make good ice-breaker dates. In a dimly lit movie theater there's no chance to talk with or even look at each other, which is the main reason you're going on a date in the first place. If you really want to go to a movie, make it a matinee so it's still early enough when it's over to go do something else, or go out to dinner first.
Ask her questions
The best way to show your interest in a girl is by asking her questions about her interests, likes, dislikes, family, future plans, etc. If all you're doing is talking about yourself, there's a good chance she's checking her phone under the table to see what time it is, wishing the date was over already. You should, however, avoid really personal questions, saving them for a later date when you're ready to take the next step in your relationship with her.
Consider doubling with friends
You can avoid a lot of the inherent awkwardness on a first date by doubling with another couple. There's less pressure to maintain constant conversation with each other, and the options for date activities expand. It can also help a girl feel more comfortable with the idea of a first date with you if she knows you won't ever be alone together. After all, she hardly even knows you yet!
Pay for her
Hopefully this goes without saying, but just in case, know this: If you ask a girl on a date, you should always pay for her. The only exception is if you're just going as "friends" and she knows ahead of time she'll need to pay for herself. But in 99 percent of cases, you'll be the one paying.
And please, don't talk about how much the date costs the whole time or make jokes about ordering the most expensive thing on the menu. It will make her feel extremely uncomfortable, and is one of the biggest date turn-offs of all time.
Save that first kiss for later
Some guys feel pressured to end the date with a kiss, whether they're really interested in the girl or not. There's always that awkward post-date door linger that makes the guy feel like if he doesn't kiss the girl, he's being rude. But honestly, guys, a first date is just that: a first.
If you're really interested in the girl, save the kiss for a more romantic time. And if you're not interested, don't lead her on with even the quickest of pecks. Just end with a nice hug and thank her for going out with you.
If the date went well and you'd like to see this girl again, don't leave her hanging for days or weeks. Call (don't text) her in the first two to three days following a date to talk and find out whether she'd be interested in another date. Waiting too long out of laziness or nervousness could have you end up thinking fondly of her as "the one who got away."