Online dating has become the norm and it’s here to stay. While every trend will have its detractors, most of us are here for it, myself included.

Today, I’m going to run you through some of the most common complaints from men and women about first dates. Since it’s your only opportunity to make that first impression, keeping these basics in mind can go a long way.

Look good, feel good

Most of us know that proper grooming and an appropriate wardrobe is important on a first date. Obviously, looking our best is important in terms of building physical attraction.

On top of that, it tells the other person so much about who we are. Showing up looking like you just rolled out of bed doesn’t inspire much confidence for the rest of the date, right?

As if that weren’t reason enough to put in some effort, there’s a third, less obvious reason as well. When you take the time for some personal grooming and style, you feel good about yourself. Believe it or not, feeling good has a positive impact on how we think and act.

If you’re clinging to the excuse that your wardrobe is just too limited, sorry friend — I’m going to take that one away from you too. Even the most limited of clothing choices can be so versatile. Don’t believe me? Check out Whitney Sylvain’s example with four totally different looks from one blazer.

Don’t arrive with expectations

This is the most common mistake I hear my friends making on their first date. If you’re showing up expecting something to happen, you’re doing it wrong.

This is the first date. No matter how well things are going via text, you don’t owe each other anything at this point. It doesn’t matter if you met on a dating app focused on relationships or the most popular apps for people just looking for hookups you don’t want to be too focused on outcomes.

Better yet, when you ditch the expectations, you’re allowing yourself to enjoy the date for what it is. You aren’t sitting there trying to obtain some objective, you’re in the moment and actively building a connection with the other person.

Ultimately, that’s all dating really is. This leads us to our next point.

Ask questions you actually want answers to

It sounds like obvious, common knowledge but you’d be surprised. Rather than the mundane “what do you do for work?” type of questions, ask things you actually care about.

You’ll be more engaged in their answer because you’re personally interested. They’re going to be happy to tell you about something they’re interested in. It’s a win-win! It also keeps you from talking about yourself the whole time.

While that’s great for interesting conversation, the real benefit here is that you’re getting to know each other. This type of conversation goes beyond polite chit-chat and allows the two of you to establish comfort and rapport.

Ladies and gentlemen, those two elements are how we get to the second date.

It’s okay to be normal

By normal, I don’t mean “normal.” I mean an actual human with a personality and a sense of humor. A shocking concept, I know.

Growing up, we’re all taught that we need to conform to some generic, watered down version of ourselves. Like having an opinion on something or personality quirks will get us shunned from society.

I can tell you from experience this is the last thing you ever want to be, especially on a first date. It might feel risky at first but the better you get at breaking that barrier down and being yourself, the better your dating life will go.

Why? Because nobody can form a connection with a robot. Sooner or later your actual personality will start to show — don’t make them wait until the third date to see it.

Enough with the bragging, nobody is impressed

While men are most likely to be guilty of this one, I’ve seen it from women on a first date too and it’s not cute. Nobody cares about the car you drive or the D-list celebrity your brother’s friend’s hairdresser knows. Literally nobody.

Name-dropping and humblebrags bring a level of cringe that’s hard to overlook. Besides, if you are wealthy or connected, do you really want that to be the reason someone’s with you?

Relax, it’s just a date

If you spend enough time reading about online dating, you’ll come across a lot of arbitrary rules. Gold commandments that you “must” follow to be successful.

The thing is, there are no rules when it comes to dating. A first date is two people meeting up, getting to know each other and seeing if it’ll work out.

Sure, you want to make a good impression, which is basically what this article is about. As for special rules that make ridiculous guarantees, forget about it.

Go on the date, show up looking and feeling fresh and enjoy getting to know someone new. If you both have a good time, take things from there.

This isn’t a game and you’re not an “artist”

Finally, let’s talk about the basement-dwelling dweebs that are the “pickup artist” community. Successful dating isn’t a game to be played and these people aren’t artists. 

The moment you start reducing your dates to a number and trying to “game” them, you’ve started down the wrong path. In case the heavily curated “PUA” clips have you considering it, I have one for you to watch. This is what it actually looks like when a so-called artist tries this in the real world.

Honestly, just go enjoy the experience of dating life and see where it takes you. Dating really is a lot of fun and if you adopt the right mindset, it’ll start to feel that way too.