Short and Sweet - First Date Keys

First dates are hard! There is a fine balance to create so you both feel excited and comfortable. Too many people plan boring first dates, and then wonder why they flop. The goal of the first date is to see if you share a connection and chemistry.... not find out how many siblings they have.

Your first date should be about the conversation and allow you to experience each other in a casual and authentic way.  If you are ready to ditch the 5 hour agonizing dinner date, loud and awkward coffee shop meetup, and avoid the "I'll have another" when you just want to bolt, remember these 10 Keys.

1) Keep it short! One to three hours MAX. Just long enough to discover if you've got a real spark, but short enough to escape if it’s going south. Plan to meet mid-morning or mid-day so you both have somewhere to head to afterwards.

2) Keep it Public! But meet somewhere not too noisy that allows you both to feel at ease and experience each other in "real life".

3) Keep it stimulating! Walk through an outdoor art fair, head to a games cafe, or explore the aquarium. Do something that allows you to engage with each other and gives you topics to keep the conversation moving in case it gets stale.

4) Keep it sweet! Your conversation should be positive and light. No one wants to listen to negative Nancy, or sit through a rant about politics or religion. Save the debates for the second date, and share your passions and likes right now.

5) Keep it cheap! Find free events in your city, use a Groupon and keep it low key. This way neither of you will feel you're breaking the bank to meet, and you've got extra coin to take them to that restaurant you've been dying to try on the second date!

6) Keep it classy! Over-sharing blinds your potential partner and forces them to turn away. Keep all skeletons, tears, messy and drunk stories for later, and instead share the brave, exciting and proud moments. 

7) Keep ex’s out!  No need to talk about past relationships while trying on a new one. Sharing ex stories can make your partner feel compared or worse...  think you're not over them!  Focus on sizing up your new interest and exploring your compatibility.

8) Keep curious! This is your chance to genuinely get to know someone new, and what better way than to ask questions? Everyone enjoys talking about themselves and their life, so ask away, play tennis and rally!

9) Keep Boundaries! We all have different comfortability levels. Decide your boundaries ahead of time such as no kissing, or no sex until the third date so you leave respecting your needs, and ready to reflect with a clear conscious.

10) Keep it honest! Everyone deserves the truth. If you know a date is leading nowhere after... tell them and they'll admire you for it. Practice a kind and positive way of letting someone know you’re not a match, and don't wait, no one likes being strung along.

Follow these keys to create a fun, light and easy first date experience you'll both enjoy. And, if it turns out your date is not the character you've dreamed up, you’ll walk away with time to spare, money in your pocket, and a positive date experience under your belt.