Going on a first date can be daunting.

This is because, ideally, you want everything to turn out perfect, lead to a second date, and continue to bloom into a long-lasting relationship if you both match what you’re looking for. A key element that can make these wishes come true is knowing what your new man expects on the first date. 

To find an answer to what men want on a first date, we asked some members of our 128k  Quora community

First off, you should know there is no ONE answer that fits the expectations of every man. As Remco Harms, a member, pointed out what each man wants might differ. This is because “some men would like the whole package including sleeping over, and some men like to take it easy (like me) and just have a good time.”

That in mind, we have curated answers from the survey into 11 things men from women on a first date. Read on to find out. 

If you would love to know what women want instead, read the findings of our survey on what women expect on a first date

11 Things Men Want on a First Date 

1. Punctuality

Tardiness is a no-no for many people; and most men feel the same. When you show up late, your date will feel disrespected because you value your time more than theirs. They would feel worse if you forget to call ahead to say you will be late.

As Chris Duran said “showing up late and not acknowledging it is terrible form and makes me think that they are either inconsiderate or even posturing by not wanting to apologize.”

So, keep in mind that punctuality is an important trait men want on a first date. If for any reason you are running late, the decent thing to do is to inform them ahead of time and apologize.

Related post: How to prepare for a first date 

2. Active Listening

According to Steve Sae, “on a first date, men are looking for a woman who is attentive and engaged in the conversation. They want to get to know her better and see if there is a connection.”

When you practice active listening, you erase any opportunity for internal or external distractions, reduce the chances of miscommunication, and give your date the impression that their presence does not bore or disinterest you. 

How do you practice active listening?

  • Good eye contact: When you maintain eye contact, you show your date that you are a confident person and paying attention. Steve feels the same and mentioned that “good eye contact is important for both men and women on a first date. It shows interest, confidence, and respect.” 
  • Engage: When they are talking, respond with short verbal affirmations or a non-verbal gesture (like a nod), and ask follow-up questions afterward to show that you are paying attention.” Don’t just wait for your turn to talk; listen to what your date is saying and ask follow-up questions,” Steve advised.

3. Clarity

Chris Duran suggested that men want clarity. He said “PLEASE make it clear if you want to shake hands or hug when we meet and part. It’s such a relief when my date outright asks if I want to hug. Some first dates don’t want to, and some insist—clarity is welcome.”

Men want to know if you find them attractive and would welcome physical contact. They might not make the first move for fear of crossing into your personal space and upsetting you, but they will watch out for subtle non-verbal invitations like reaching out to touch them. 

Some may even take the next step and ask for your expectations for the first date. You could follow up by mentioning any boundaries set for the date. Whichever way it goes, be clear about what you want or what you do not want such as allowing them into your personal space, getting a kiss, or anything else.

4. Comportment & Demeanour

Men watch out for how you carry yourself, act, and what you say with your body language and facial expressions. This will tell them the kind of person you are and likely open the possibility of a second date.

One of the members in our Quora community said he will know if you are materialistic or high maintenance from how you carry yourself. Some of the questions he posed are: “Does she insist on you paying for everything? If YES, is she also ordering the most expensive items or enough food to feed a family?”

Michael Smith said he wants “to read you and your body language to figure out how far he can go on the second date.”

Steve Sae said men want you to “pay attention to their body language and verbal cues, and adjust your own accordingly.”

5. Lively and Meaningful Conversation

Having lively and meaningful conversations during a first date is a great way to bond with your date and get to know them better. This explains why it is a very important factor many men want in a first date. 

According to Chris Duran, “the woman should be willing to talk about herself and her desires and experiences because it will both help me get to know her and make me feel more comfortable doing the same (and no conversation ever stagnates when one is talking about things they love).”

Jerry said he would like to “have an intelligent conversation about yourself and us in general.”

Richard Coker said “most men just want to get to know you.”

Another member raised salient questions when he asked “can she hold a conversation? Does she want to talk about topics I find stimulating, not the latest gossip, fashion, memes, actors, politics, etc? Do we have the same interests?” 

For Ahmed Raza, it is simple—“men expect you to talk with them about anything you like.” 

Your date will not appreciate talking about your family problems or crazy exes, but would like to know your likes, dislikes, hobbies, goals, and aspirations. Stick to only what matters while you are with them.

6. Attention

Source: Rodnae Productions on Pexels

Nobody wants to continue conversing with someone who gives all their attention to their phones, much less doing that on a first date. 

Steve Sae said “be sure to put away your phone! Nothing says “I’m not interested” like constantly checking your texts or scrolling through social media. Just be present in the moment, and let the conversation flow naturally. By doing so, you’re sure to make a great first impression.”

Another member also mentioned that while having a conversation, men will observe and have questions like: “Is she constantly looking at, OR using her phone? Does she avoid eye-to-eye contact? Does she look or act like she’s bored, distracted, anxious, or in a hurry?”

Ensure you keep your phone in your purse to limit the possibility of being distracted. Your date will feel respected and appreciated when your focus is on them. 

7. No Judgement

There is a thin line between evaluating and being judgemental, and we unconsciously cross that line a few times. One of the things men want on a first date is no judgment—they don’t want to feel like they are being observed under a microscope. 

Chris Duran confirmed this when he wrote that men want “no judgmental comments of any kind, even if through sarcasm.” 

When your date talks about his experiences, try to contribute neutrally and objectively. Subjectively stating your opinion could paint you as self-righteous and uncompassionate.

Chris also said “trust me, if I inadvertently say something stupid, I’ve already heard myself do it—I don’t need you to make me feel worse about it.”

8. Be Yourself

Steve Sae advised that you “remember to be yourself. There’s no need to try to be someone you’re not, as this will only lead to disappointment later on.”

Another member said some of the questions men consider when on a date with you include: “Does it feel like she is being fake, or forcing the conversation? Can I feel the “real” her showing through? Does she come off as shallow or conceited?”

When your date notices that you are struggling with being yourself, they will doubt your ability to be real if they start a long-term relationship with you.

9. Fun

Men want to know if you are fun to be around. One of the members of our community asked: “Depending on what you are doing, is she fun to be around?”

Jim Carson also said “I like to have a good time and a nice meal. I hope we both like the date.”

To ensure you have a good time, help your love interest plan for the first date, if possible. This will allow you to choose places and activities that you would both enjoy. 

10. Look Nice

According to Chris Duran, looking nice is “…much more about the effort and less about looking like a bridesmaid at a wedding. Knowing somebody cares enough to have forethought and put in the effort is a huge plus for me.” 

When planning what to wear, choose the appropriate outfit and color to suit the activities or places you have both picked out. When in doubt about what color to go with, pick black. A study on Sage journals reviews that wearing black on first dates makes you look fashionable, while red connotes you are sexually receptive. 

Also, avoid heavy makeup. Why? Because your date might love taking a good look at your face. One of our members said he would like to know if you look like your photos, some of the questions he asked are: “Does she look like your photos (Did she use filters or 10-year-old photos) OR is she wearing Heavy Makeup? Am I seeing the real her OR an Alter Ego? …Makeup should be on the light side & enhance your natural beauty).”

11. Good Manners 

Being well-mannered is a human trait that paints you as respectful towards the feelings and sentiments of those around you. Say “thank you,” “excuse me,” and “please” when necessary, smile genuinely, observe table manners and avoid interrupting your date when they are speaking.

Another member said he wants to know if “she talks down to staff, homeless people, etc, OR acts like a KAREN?”

Steve Sae mentioned that “a genuine smile indicates that she is comfortable in her skin and confident in who she is. It shows that she is friendly and open to new experiences. On the other hand, a forced or fake smile often makes a woman seem insecure and uncomfortable. It can be difficult for a man to trust and open up to someone who seems closed off.”

Chris Duran, on the other hand, focused on good table manners, “…no need to be an etiquette coach. I pray that they eat with their mouth closed and don’t smack. Still, if I see them grab the wrong fork for the salad, I’m gonna pick up that same fork and do the same without saying anything.”

Simply put, good manners will earn you respect from your date.


In a way, what men want is simple; decent behavior From punctuality and authenticity to looking nice and more, how you carry yourself on the first date will determine the chances of building a relationship with your dream man. 

Remember, be yourself, listen to what they have to say without being judgemental, and be clear about what you want.

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