Relationship expert Jacob Lucas has more than 750,000 followers on his TikTok channel ‘jacoblucas101’
Dating is a minefield – and a first date can often feel particularly incendiary, with those involved usually a bag of nerves, paranoid about saying or doing the wrong thing.
No one knows this better than relationship expert Jacob Lucas, 31. And he’s here to help.
The ‘Her Dating Coach’ author has more than 750,000 followers on his TikTok channel ‘jacoblucas101‘, and here shares his top tips for making sure a first date is fun, even if you don’t hit it off with your companion.
How long you spend with your date is ‘such an important part of the process’, according to Lucas, who believes three hours is ‘the perfect time to spend’ on a first date.
‘Three hours gives you enough time to get to know each other,’ he tells MailOnline Travel.
‘And because the date isn’t too long, you will leave them wanting more, which is great when building attraction.’
The dating guru, from Wiltshire, warns that those who stay longer during the initial meeting ‘risk the date turning stale’, but if you leave too soon, your date may think you are not interested in them.
‘With the mix of dating nerves and excitement it’s easy to get tired quickly when dating because your social battery runs out faster than when you’re hanging out with friends,’ he says.
‘If you spend too long on a date, you may not come across as the best version of yourself, and it may harm your chances of getting a second date.
‘However, if the date is too short then it’s very hard to get to know each other. You need time to be able to invest in the conversation with the person you’re dating to see if you are both compatible.’
Lucas recommends a coffee shop or a cocktail bar for the first meeting
Lucas says keeping the date relaxed and casual is key to combatting any first-date nerves.
The dating whizz recommends a coffee shop or a cocktail bar for the first meeting, which he says offer the ‘best of both worlds’ whether your date goes well or not.
‘These types of dates are great because if you don’t like the person, you will only have to endure the time it takes for you to have one drink and then you can leave in a polite manner,’ he says.
‘However, if you like that person and want to continue getting to know them then you can order another drink and go for a nice walk after your coffee. Best of both worlds.’
Another key tip from Lucas is to ‘always remember to go somewhere public’.
He adds: ‘It’s much safer and sets the right tone for you to get to know each other without it feeling too intimate too soon.’
Places to avoid on a first date? The cinema, Lucas says, because ‘you will both be focused on the film and not each other and it makes it difficult to talk’.
This is also the case for high-energy, activity-based dates, he suggests, which should be saved for a third date ‘when you know each other more and can be more playful’.
He adds: ‘A first date is about the basics and you need a calming, moderate activity.
‘I also recommend avoiding double dates for a first date.
‘Double dates can be fantastic later down the line but on the first date it can be hard to get to know someone when there are four people in the conversation and makes it a bit too casual.’
Lucas suggests ‘falling back on your strengths and passions’ if you feel like there could be an awkward silence (file image)
‘A simple way to keep a conversation flowing is by asking open-ended questions and to avoid asking “yes or no” questions,’ Lucas says.
‘This creates a conversation that can move in many different directions.’
If you are asked a question then ‘answer it’, he assures, adding: ‘When you feel like you have said your part, ask them a question in return that links back to them about what you have just said.’
Sharing another top tip, Lucas suggests ‘falling back on your strengths and passions’ if you feel like there could be an awkward silence.
‘For example, if you love travelling talk about that,’ he continues. ‘Talking about something with passion is contagious and it should inspire them to talk about their interests as well.’
HOW TO END IT
Almost three-quarters of daters (73 per cent) worry about the awkward goodbye at the end of a date and three in five (61 per cent) wish they had a reason to leave, according to research commissioned by Uber
Almost half of Britons who are actively dating feel more confident and relaxed on a date if they’ve set a deadline and known when and how they’ll make their exit, according to research commissioned by Uber.
Almost three-quarters of daters (73 per cent) worry about the awkward goodbye at the end of a date and three in five (61 per cent) wish they had a reason to leave, the findings show.
With this in mind, Lucas recommends pre-booking a ride home before your date as ‘a perfect way to end a date without feeling awkward’.
He says: ‘Let’s say you have booked a ride home for 9pm, then once the time comes you can leave the date in a way that doesn’t feel awkward, because you have a real reason to leave, and don’t need an excuse.’
The relationship expert says having your taxi home pre-arranged with a service like Uber Reserve not only ensures you get home safely but can also make you ‘feel more confident about your date because you will feel in control and not have to worry about what time you’re leaving’.
The service, which can be ordered via the Uber app, provides scheduled rides up to 90 days in advance with added benefits such as upfront driver assignment, early arrival, a longer 15-minute wait time, and an on-time pickup guarantee.
HOW TO END IT EARLY
If you feel your date is not going well, ‘the number one rule is to leave with good manners’, Lucas says
If you feel your date is not going well, ‘the number one rule is to leave with good manners’, Lucas says.
‘Sometimes people just don’t have a connection and that’s okay,’ he adds. ‘However, if someone is rude to you, it doesn’t mean you need to stoop down to their level.
‘Keep it polite and classy and know that you’ve done your part.’
Lucas suggests saying you have lots of work to do when giving your reasons for leaving a date early.
‘Not many people will complain about this, because they will have also had moments when they’ve been overwhelmed with work themselves,’ he says.
‘Plus, it’s polite because you aren’t saying anything negative to or about them.’
Another way of drawing things to a close is by saying you have a lift home ‘that you have pre-arranged because you have a busy schedule’, the expert says, adding: ‘Again, your date should be understanding of this, and you won’t come across as rude but just a busy person instead.’