Dating Advice For First Dates

So you’ve finally managed to score a date with your crush and you don’t want to mess it up. But despite asking your friends and scouring the internet for dating tips, you’re getting even more confused with the conflicting messages.

Is it really necessary to always pull out her chair? Or stand when she rises from the table? What on Earth do girls actually like? Are Michelin-starred restaurants a good dinner venue for a first date? Are movies too boring? Should you pick her up or send her home? Are these questions making you sound desperate?


There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to relationships. But to find out if these classic pieces of dating advice hold true, we asked Singaporean girls for their opinion.

*Names were changed to protect identities

Do you need to bring her to an atas restaurant?

“No, don’t set the bar too high.”

On the first date, your girl is probably feeling just as nervous as you are. This is why a casual dining environment is preferable to a fine dining one. Unless her regular diet consists of 3-star Michelin caviar and Wagyu beef (RIP to your wallet), do not take her to the most expensive restaurant.

Being in a fine dining restaurant usually means having to abide by stricter dress codes and manners. Being in an unfamiliar setting can add unnecessary pressure.

It’s also unwise to set the bar so early in a relationship. I know girls who get pissed off when their boyfriends cannot maintain the same standard. The next thing you know, she might pull the “you’ve changed” card and break up with you.
Jenna, 25

“It’s nice but unnecessary.”

I appreciate guys who bring me out to a fancy restaurant on the first date. Bonus points if the restaurant is an Italian restaurant, as Italian food is my favourite cuisine. It shows that he’s willing to be generous with me, and can provide for me.

That being said, I wouldn’t mind if he brings me to a cafe. In fact, I prefer it. While fancy restaurants are great, I’ll feel bad if he offers to pay the hefty cheque.

At the end of the day, it’s not so much about the dining location but the effort that goes into planning the date. Girls like it when you bring them to fancy restaurants because it shows that you’ve put in thought when planning the date. But you can demonstrate thoughtfulness without spending a bomb. A packed picnic at the Botanic Gardens is a simple activity which can be equally memorable and successful.
Shanelle, 21

Are movies a good idea?

“Yes, but ask for her opinion.”

I personally love movies so I wouldn’t mind a guy who can chill with me. A movie date is best for guys who may be a little more introverted as you can take a break from awkward silences. I suggest that if you’re not much of a talker, it’s best you plan several activities in advance; an hour of dinner, an hour of doing an interesting event she enjoys, like watching a movie.

Some people dislike movie dates though. They feel that they’re not interacting with their partner, so you should ask for her opinion.
Clara, 24

“No, movie dates should be kept as a third date activity.”

Don’t go for the typical movie date because it focuses on quantity, not quality, time. Dates should revolve around getting to know the person. Watching a movie doesn’t allow you to engage with and talk to your partner. If I wanted to watch a movie, I’d do so at home.

I feel the best first dates are coffee/art exhibition dates. Both are casual, but in art exhibits, there’s an added bonus of never running out of things to say. Just point to a painting and tell her what you think! If you really want to go on a movie date, keep it as a third or fourth date activity.
Megan, 22

Do you have to be good looking for a girl to be attracted to you?

“Being well-groomed is more important.”

Guys, if a girl has agreed to go on a date with you, she already finds you attractive enough and she just wants you to be well-groomed. You don’t have to look like a supermodel. Case in point, my current boyfriend.

I remember his outfit for his first date: A plain button shirt (¾ rolled-up sleeves) and denim jeans. He also had on the most incredible smelling cologne.

I always tell my guy friends to put on a spritz of cologne if they’re going out on a date. Don’t over do it though, your date should only be able to smell your cologne when standing next to you. I recommend scents from the Davidoff line.

Also, don’t spray cologne directly on your shirt, particularly at your chest area, or she’ll choke to death when she hugs you. Instead, even out the smell. Spray it onto your wrists and rub it into your neck.
Jeanne, 22

“No, compatible personalities is more important.”

I don’t think it’s necessary for a guy to be super good looking. In fact, my mum advises me not to date a guy that’s too handsome as there’s a higher tendency for him to sway. Of course, it’s not always true but I do see where she’s coming from.

I still like to date pretty boys but I prefer guys I can easily talk to. Good conversation is a sign of good chemistry and it shows that our personalities are compatible.

When conversing, we should both have the chance to talk about ourselves. Couples should respect each other—there’s no need to humblebrag, name drop or put the other person down.

Also, I don’t like it when a guy shoots me questions non-stop or start with “tell me about yourself”. When that happens, I feel overwhelmed—I just don’t know where to start. It makes me feel like I’m at a job interview, not a date.

At the end of the day, you can be infatuated with someone’s looks, but to fall in love, you fall in love with their souls.
Patricia, 25

Also read:

I Went On A 28-Day Dating App Cleanse And Realised SG Millennials Date Because We’re Bored

Do women expect men to pay on a first date?

“I expect you to offer, but I’ll insist on going Dutch.”

When on a first date, always offer to pay. While I’ll insist on going Dutch, it’s the thought that counts. When a guy offers to pay for the date, he seems generous.

In the first place, the date should be inexpensive, costing less than $30. You want to enjoy your date and not worry about the bill that comes after. Also, when a date’s too expensive, I feel pressured to ‘perform’, as I feel like I have to justify the large sum of money my date’s willing to spend on me. I don’t want to feel bad if I don’t end up dating him.
Berlinda, 25

“Yes. If she pays her half, she may not be interested.”

If girls insist they should split the bill on the first date, it’s usually a sign that they don’t really like you, and don’t want to owe you anything when they never speak to you again.

If I like my date, I’ll stick to the social conventions and let the man pay. Not because I’m unable to, but it gives me the opportunity to say, “Hey since you got this one, let me get the next.” It’s one of the ways I ‘subtly’ suggest a second date. So guys, pay if you want a second date!
Mandy, 24

Should you send her home on the first date?

“No, I don’t want a stranger to know where I live.”

While I appreciate that he tries to send me home, I don’t want to let a stranger know where I live. I get that most guys are just trying to be nice, but I’d rather a date walk me to the nearest MRT or bus stop and wave me off.

Also, I don’t want to be pressured into giving him a goodnight kiss. Going home on my own is a tactical way to avoid that situation.

I’ve had a date with one guy who just wouldn’t take a hint, despite me repeatedly telling him that I’d rather head home on my own. He got into the cab with me and walked me right to my doorstep despite my protests.

The moral of the story is that it’s important to read her body language, to see what she’s comfortable with. If she says no, she probably means no. Pushiness is never sexy.
Gillian, 23

“Yes, it’s a gentlemanly thing to do.”

Send your date home at the end of the first date, even if she lives in Yishun. After all, she stayed out late to hang out with you. The least you could do is make sure that she arrives home safely. It’s basic courtesy and a gentlemanly thing to do.

For me, I like it when a guy sends me home because it makes me feel safer walking home at night. I have a slight fear of the dark, so the company is always welcome. It also gives me the chance to think about whether I should invite him in for some Netflix and Chill if I’ve really enjoyed the date.
Gracia, 28

Do opposites attract?

Yes, but not for long-term relationships.”

I believe that in the beginning, opposites will always attract. The boys who catch my eye tend to be completely opposite from who I am as a person. The first few months of the relationship are exciting and chaotic. But once that dies down, we’d usually realise that we have little in common and break up.

After several similar whirlwind romances, I decided I had enough, and chose to date guys who were more like myself. If you’re looking for a long-term relationship, it’s better to find someone whose goals and values align with yours. Opposites do attract, but the relationship doesn’t necessarily last.
Jennifer, 26

No, compatibility often requires similarity.”

I have a specific type of guy I always go for, and I’d say that he’s quite similar to who I am as a person. I’m more willing to pursue a romantic relationship with guys who are similar. We have to be emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially and intellectually compatible.

Having said that, I don’t think a guy should change the way he behaves when out on dates. Girls can tell when you’re faking it or trying too hard. When you be yourself, it shows that you’re confident with who you are, and that’s super sexy.
Hidaya, 27

No Hard And Fast Rule

Different girls have different opinions on what they expect on a first date. It’s important to plan your date according to what your lady love is interested in. Having no hard and fast rule means that you have to pay attention to the verbal and nonverbal cues she gives off.

At the end of the day, if you’re kind and generous with a good sense of humour, we’re pretty sure you’ll ace that date.

This article was first published on 10 July 2017 and last updated on 20 February 2024. 

Also read:

Are Singaporean Girls Tough To Date? Local Men Discuss.