How to NOT be late on your first date

I cannot emphasize how important punctuality is on first dates.

It seems like such a simple thing. And many people will go… “Ah but then?” But you be amazed by the percentage of people who are late on their first dates.

Last Saturday, 2 dates did not materialize because the guys were late.

The first guy is more forgivable I suppose as he actually went to the wrong branch of the restaurant. Instead of going to Suntec City, he went to Orchard instead. But by the time he arrived at the restaurant, the lady was already terribly worked up. They met at the entrance of the restaurant. And the lady was fuming. If I am not mistaken, he was 40 minutes late by then. They did not say much to each other as the guy figured that there was no point staying on if the lady was SO angry.

The second guy. He was late because he was waiting for a delivery at home. He was 30 minutes late. And by then, the lady has already left the restaurant.

Well, of course, under such circumstances, the most innocent victims are my poor dating consultants as they are the one at the brunt of the anger. :( I feel sorry for my consultants, because they have done everything from arranging the date to reminding them of the date a day before. It is really out of their control if one party decides to be late. Or the other party decides to storm off after waiting too long. The perils of the job I guess…

Ok, here are some easily-applicable-pointers to help you be punctual on your first date.

ONE: Choose the right time. Choose to meet at a time you are most relaxed. Do not choose time in-between appointments. Do not arrange for home deliveries on the day you are going on a date. Allow yourself at least 2 hours prior to the date so that you can have time to prepare as well as calm those nerves.

TWO: Do your research. If it is an arranged date, find out at least a day before where the restaurant is. Use your street directory or you could always Google it up on the Internet. Or if you are the one choosing the venue, choose somewhere where you do not need to battle the traffic.

THREE: Plan your route in advance. If you know it usually takes 30 minutes to get there, leave your house/office 45-50 minutes prior to your date. Allocate time for unexpected traffic conditions, time to find a parking space. If you are early, you can always go to the washroom to freshen up or browse the bookstore.

FOUR: Set up a reminder structure. If you are one of those people who can be so engrossed  in something that you forget all about the time. Use your mobile phone’s alarm/appointment function to remind you about your appointment. And for goodness sake, do not put it on ‘snooze’ mode once your alarm beeps!

At the end of the day, first dates are all about first impressions. If you are late, your date might think you do not respect him/her. Or you are irresponsible. Or you have no control over your time. The conclusions they can draw are endless.

In the case of the first and second guy in the above scenarios, they are missing out on a chance to get to know their dates. The lady could have been someone they would have wanted to get to know better. By being late, they have sabotaged their chances.

So, the first step to a successful first date… be punctual! :)

What are your thoughts? If you were the lady, would you have stormed off? What was the longest time you have waited for your date? How long would you wait for your date before leaving? Do you think we are always late because we assume the other party will be late too? Has it become part of our culture?

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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17 Comments

  1. Being punctual is an important trait no matter what endeavor you are undertaking, be it business or love. Excellent post.

    [Reply]

  2. I have noticed this particular trend among Asians, and not just on dates, even during parties and gatherings.

    And their usual excuse is almost always “I was tied up in a meeting”, ” I had to finish some work first” (like they were trying to impress you on how succesful they are), or just plainly blame the traffic. What’s worse is that they could’ve informed the other party beforehand. What the hell is that cellphone for anywway?

    I once had a scheduled meeting with a business associate who did not arrive at all. After 2 hours of waiting, I called him up to ask what’s wrong. His answer? He couldn’t attend…. just like that. No apologies, no nothing. %$^$#@$^ pardon my french… :D

    I know what I just said wasn’t about dating. But then, a business meeting and a first date entails promptness, don’t you agree? :D

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  3. Hey Crimsonhands! :)
    Welcome! Thanks for dropping by and your kind compliments! And yes – I agree… punctuality is important for any appointment… be it for love or business or friendship!

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  4. Hey Rudy-
    Haha… the worst is during the weddings!

    I am not sure whether it is the same in Philippines. There’s really no point stating the starting time as 7.30pm, because people would mostly arrive only by 8.30pm. And most wedding dinners begin at between 8.30pm to 8.45pm.

    The reason is… most people think that the others will be late anyway, and so they ‘adjust accordingly’!

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  5. hahaha. i thought when you say the word ‘punctuality’, i immediately assumed that the girl was being late for their first date.

    hmm. i would have stormed off. i hate waiting. really, i do. still, i prefer to make people waited for me. hehe.

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  6. I say, ah screw it. If the guy is late, he can call to let the girl know. Then it’s up to the girl to decide whether or not she wants to wait or even not see him anymore.

    As simple as that.

    It’s a girl’s over-perfectionist (and ultimately stressful) strategy to plan everything right down to the last detail.

    I mean, FOUR things to take note of before going no the first date?

    I would like to propose that men and women just take it easier.

    1) No need to spend 3 hours dressing up before date
    2) No need to spend $300 on facials etc before date
    3) No need to spend 2 days researching the *perfect* place and the *perfect* time and the *perfect* clothes

    I mean, if you like each other, you can spend the next lifetime planning your wedding, your children and your retirement. No need to jump the gun on only the first date, which is supposed to be FUN.

    In the US, a lot of girls aren’t like that. It’s like “Hey, wanna go grab some sushi at Midoka’s?”
    “Oh, OK.”
    And that’s it.

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  7. I really wish I can have a date..

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  8. OH, it’s same same here Violet. Especially in a Chinese banquet, whether for wedding or birthdays. And it’s not because they assume that everyone will be late, but because they don’t want to be seen as too eager or too hungry…. in short,’paiseh lah!’. :D

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  9. Chengsim-
    Haha! I never thought about that until I read your comment! Ya that’s right – we would usually think that it’s the girl who’s late on a date and not a guy right?! :) Oh well…

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  10. Hey Aw-
    Hiya! Thanks for dropping by! Actually that’s precisely what we (the dating consultants) do… inform them that their date is late, and they decide whether to wait or to leave.

    I get your point on simple dates where you just go like, “Hey, want to grab a pizza?” :) Think that’s great!

    But I guess things are a bit more complicated when it is an arranged first date, where both parties have never met each other. :)

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  11. Kenny-
    What’s your game plan? Turn your wish into reality! :) Email me for more info! :)

    [Reply]

  12. Rudy-
    Haha! I have never thought about it that way… people not wanting to be early because they don’t want to appear too eager or greedy! :) Hehe, but I guess that makes sense…!

    [Reply]

  13. Cheers ALL…I’m Alice Crowder and I live in Wisconson. Blogs are new to me and I am sort of a newbie, but I’m learning. I have added your blog’s rss feed to my rss reader. Totally informative blog site!

    [Reply]

  14. Hi Alice!

    Welcome! Thanks for dropping by! :) Hope to see you posting up more comments here… Have a fantastic week ahead! :)

    [Reply]

  15. I’m Carly, really nice blog, lots of great info, Thanks a lot!

    [Reply]

  16. Thanks Carly, hope to see more of you! :)

    [Reply]

  17. Cindy /

    O my over 50% of first dates I have been on the men have been late. I mean what kind of impression is that setting? Do you not care enough to show up on time? If they are over 20 minutes late I either leave where I am meeting them, or if they are picking me up from my house I will not answer the door when they come. NOTE TO MEN: SHOW UP ON TIME

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