Dating Tips and Advice

Dating Tips for Women

Selecting people to date

Women are great at lists. And many women create lists for when they go dating...must have a sense of humour, must be tall, must have a degree, mustn't want any more children, mustn't be more than 10 miles from my front door. We're also more likely than men to let this checklist put us off seeing someone who might otherwise be perfect.

Yet, where has this checklist come from? Previous partners? What your mother used to say? How important really is it?

London Dating Couple
It's only lunch
Country Walk

1. Let's take height. The average height for UK men is 5ft 9in. So, if you exclude everyone, say, under 5ft 9in, that's half the male population you've just eliminated. And, unless you're exceptionally tall yourself, what are you gaining? Neckache?

2. And then there's distance. No-one goes into dating wanting a long-distance relationship. But what are the chances of your perfect man being on your doorstep? Wouldn't you have met him by now? The further you're prepared to travel, the more people you'll meet.

3. Where are you on baldness? Whilst we'd all love a man with a full head of hair, realistically, half of all men will lose their hair at some stage in their lives. So, by excluding bald or balding men, you're narrowing the field considerably. Most women also wouldn't say 'no' to Sean Connery, Bruce Willis or Patrick Stewart!

4. Whilst there are exceptions to all rules, in general, men prefer to date women of their own age or younger. In recent years, there has been a trend towards younger men with older women, but these relationships are still very much in the minority. Many women say how young they look for their age; the trouble is, almost everyone says that.

5. Then there are degrees and qualifications. More women than men go into higher education, so there are more women with degrees than men. The academic life doesn't suit all men and many of them go on to become successful entrepreneurs, often with few educational qualifications. That doesn't make them inarticulate or poor company. And the lack of a degree doesn't seem to have held back Richard Branson or Sir Alan Sugar.

6. Women are more likely to repeat relationship mistakes of the past - books have been written on the subject! But we can help break the mould by screwing up the checklist and trying something new.

7. Keep in mind what you see in the mirror: men are highly visual creatures and are attracted first and foremost by appearance. And in most cases, this means keeping yourself slim, toned, well-groomed and well-dressed. But, beyond that, they're relatively easy to please.

Pour moi?
Meet for coffee
Singles Walks are a great way to meet

Going on the date

By agreeing to meet a man you don't know on a date, you are taking a leap of faith that you won't be meeting a rapist or an axe-murderer. So, you need to be absolutely sure that you're in control at all times. If anything seems odd or unreasonable, forget it; no date is worth putting your personal safety at risk for. Plus, keep in mind that men don't have these concerns, so won't always think about them. It's down to you to look after yourself. Some points to bear in mind:

1. Always tell someone where you are going and with whom. Some dating agencies provide this service as part of their membership.

2. Always make the first meeting in a public venue, midway between where you both live or work, easy to find, and where you won't have to walk a long way on your own in the dark. Pubs are not great, because they're not easy places for a woman to sit on her own; better a hotel, wine bar, coffee shop, cafe or similar.

3. On the first occasion, meet for a short time - maybe a drink or a coffee - so neither of you have too much invested in the outcome. Don't go for a three course meal on your first date. Don't let the date drift on because you're too polite to say something. You don't want to be missing the last train or walking home in the dark.

4. Arrive on time. Forget any notions of being fashionably late; you will just end up drinking/eating unfashionably on your own.

5. Make an effort on your appearance and arrive and leave sober. Research by professionals' dating agency RSVP shows that, in dressing for a date, men prefer women to:

  • be dressed appropriately for the venue
  • be smart, rather than tarty
  • be clean and well-groomed
  • be lightly and subtly made-up

6. Greet your date in warm and friendly (though not over-friendly) way, regardless of your initial impression. Our body language can give so much away; steel yourself against that.

7. Have a fund of things to talk about. These shouldn't be too deep; although dating is an accelerated process, there's no need to discuss whether you want children at the first meeting. Try to establish a light-hearted, fun atmosphere, with plenty of laughter.

8. Find some common ground - interests, work, holidays, music, film - so you can focus on building some shared experience.

9. Don't drone on about previous relationships. No-one wants to hear a blow-by-blow of your messy divorce.

10. Pay half. Leave your ideas about male chivalry at home; this is a meeting of equals.

11. To close, agree what you'll do next. Don't lie. If you like him and want to see him again, tell him what you will do to set up the next meeting - or agree it there and then. If someone agrees to call, that can be you or him; he won't think you're too keen if you call him! If you don't want to see him again: 'I've had a lovely time and thanks very much for meeting me. But I don't feel I want to take it further at this stage'. Some agencies organise events (see RSVP's singles events) and this offers a great (and somehow less final) exit if you don't want to see him again: 'I'll look forward to seeing you at an event very soon'.

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