The line between being attentive on a date and being too gung ho is straightforward when you step back and look at it. In the moment, however, bad ideas can make a lot of sense.

Take this bad idea that ended in disaster. I just graduated from college, and as every guy knows, the pickings start to slim (especially in the Midwest). But then I met Heidi, a blonde bombshell Cru girl, and I scored a date. This was obviously an important date because if it didn’t work out, I was up for a long and lonely road in Middle America. So I got to work, with the goal of designing a date she’d never forget (pretty sure she hasn’t). I decided to take her on a island date, but not some stereotypical Gilligan island. She got treated to a date on a grass island at a stoplight intersection. Glow-in-the-dark sticks supplied our candlelight, and plastic champagne flutes complimented the sparkling grape juice. A policeman kindly escorted us off the premises.

That was the last date.

A lot of guys think being attentive on a date means rolling out the red carpet, but really, it’s the simple things that matter most. Your goal should be to exhibit confidence, not desperation.

What are some simple but attentive things you can do on a date?

1. Plan and communicate

Looking back, a big surprise was unwarranted on the date. I was overly excited. Don’t be eager. Keep calm and plan on. One safe rule of thumb is to ask her on a date several days beforehand (the night of doesn’t convey you are attentive). Tell her what you’re going to do and then do it.

2. Touch

Physical touch has been shown to reduce stress more than a full night’s sleep or meditation. It lowers blood pressure and heart rate. It’s why we go and get massages.

How can you use this to be more attentive on a date? Find ways to make points of contact. Not talking hands across America here. Help her out of the car by holding her hand, touch her lower back when you lean in to talk to her.

3. Don’t get distracted

If you have ADHD like me, face the opposite direction if there’s a TV. Maintaining good eye contact is being attentitive. Get to know her. Be present. Focus on the treasure in front of you, and turn off your phone or at least flip it over.

4. Listen and ask questions

On a date, and especially the first one, you might be thinking of something clever or romantic you’re going to say next. Don’t. Being a good listener means you’re not worrying about how to respond. Repeat or paraphrase your understanding of what she said, or ask more questions to discover what’s really important. Understand her and discover her.

5. Nod and Reflect

I read some study that showed people tend to buy-in more to what someone is saying when they nod their heads, so I nod my head a lot. Plus, it keeps me engaged. Show her you’re on the same page with your own body language, but also pay attention to hers. If she puts her hands on the table, put your hands on the table. If she sits back, do the same. Subtle mirroring creates connection.

5. Remember Etiquette

The ways of a gentleman, the use of manners, shows you pay attention to details. Opening a door for her, pulling out her chair, shows you care about the little things. Gentlemanly manners is putting your best foot forward.

6. Dress appropriately

Do your research and check the venue beforehand, then dress the part. I’ll double-check with friends about what to wear. You’ll impress her if you give her a heads-up. It’s good to understand dress codes for events such as black tie (formal), cocktail, semi-formal, business casual, etc.

7. Nice and slow

When she asks you a question, take a moment and think. Don’t be too eager to answer. It’s not a job interview. Don’t talk too much, but instead, be wise and measure your words carefully.


Written By Kris Wolfe