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Sharon O'Brien
A first date is one of the most nerve-wracking aspects of dating at any age. If youre 50+ and just starting to date again after a few years or a few decades, however, the uncertainty about where to go, what to wear, and what to talk about can seem almost insurmountable.

You wonder whether your date will like you, whether youll like him or her, and how much dating etiquette has changed since the last time you were out there.

While there are no absolutes when it comes to senior dating, there are a few tried and true strategies that may help calm your nerves and increase your chances for a successful first date:

One purpose of every first date is to decide whether you want a second one. With that in mind, plan a date that encourages conversation and helps you get to know each other, and avoid activities like movies and plays that leave you sitting silently in the dark.

Tailor your first date to include a common interest, hobby, or shared value, which may help you establish an immediate connection around something that has meaning for both of you.

If you plan to have a meal on your first date, make it lunch and combine it with some fun activity so that you have more things to talk about while you eat. Dinner sometimes implies more intimacy than you may be ready for on a first date, and having the whole date depend on two near-strangers sitting across from each other and making conversation can create a lot of pressure.

If the whole idea of senior dating makes you nervous, consider going on a group date with friends or participating in a group activity such as a wine tasting or charity auction.

Be smart, be safe, and have an exit strategy. On most first dates youre going out with someone you dont know well, so stick to public places and tell someone you trust who youre meeting and where youll be. If you start to feel uneasy about the person youre with, then leave.

Whether youre 16 or 65, the best way to enjoy a first date is to keep an open mind, focus on the things you have in common, and make your primary goal to simply have a good time.
Sharon O'Brien

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