As a professional matchmaker, and from hosting the Farmer Wants a Wife events all over Ireland, I have matched over 6,000 people on dates since 2016.
As a result, I have seen what works, what does not work and what can increase your chances of dating success.
You only get one chance to make a good first impression so here are some of my dating tips.
1 Dating mindset
2 Date location
Make an effort to meet in a nice location, make it a little special. Ensure it is somewhere that you can chat easily and that you won’t be interrupted by people you know. For safety, this should be a public place with other people around.
3 Dress to impress
First impressions are hugely important so look your very best. Ladies, I would recommend something fun, feminine and flirty. A nice dress or dressy jeans and a nice top with a pop of colour. Men, smart leather shoes, good well-fitting jeans and a smart shirt. I recommend long-sleeve shirts and roll up sleeves. As a lot of dates will be outdoors this summer, bring something warm for the Irish weather.
4 Building a connection
The gift of the gab means that most Irish people are well able for chit chat, however, on a date be mindful to build a connection and get to know your date. Ask them questions about themselves – what they enjoy doing, what makes them happy, etc. People are more at ease when they are talking about things that make them happy. Remember, you should listen more than you talk, so be genuinely interested in what they are saying. It is also important to make an effort to chat, as they will be interested in you too. So think about what you will share with them beforehand. Overall, keep the conversation light, positive and fun.
Irish people tend to be a little shy when it comes to flirting, but if you are on a date, it is important to flirt. If you fancy your date, subtly let them know. Compliment them; their outfit or their characteristics. Smile more. Make sure your body language is open.
6 Eye contact
Most dates this summer will be outdoors, so take off your sunglasses. Eyes are hugely important in the flirting stages so remove the shades, make eye contact and smile.
7 Avoid COVID-19 small talk
Keep COVID-19 talk to a minimum. That includes your opinion on vaccines, Government responses, lockdowns, vaccine passports, hotel quarantining, people breaking rules... bored yet? I have made my point! Try not to talk about ex relationships, religion and politics, if possible too. These topics will not help you build a romantic connection, promise.
8 Men, be gentlemen of greatness
If you are on a date with a lady, treat her like a lady and speak to her like a lady. She is not one of the lads. When you start dating, both of you are teaching your date how to treat you, so be clear on your boundaries and start as you mean to go on in your potentially new relationship.
9 Relax and enjoy
The more fun and laughing on a date, the greater the chance of a second date. It also makes people more relaxed. Equally, the psychology of “breaking bread” helps build connections. Meeting for coffee? Make sure to get cake. Going for a walk? Get ice creams.
10 Be kind
Regardless of how your date went, text your date to make sure they got home safe. If you would like to meet them again, ask them out again. If you do not wish to meet them again, thank them for a lovely evening and follow up by saying that you do not feel that there is enough romantic chemistry to meet again but that you wish them well. Always have the manners and courtesy to reply kindly. Ghosting is rude and never acceptable.
Nobody ever taught us how to date, most people learn from watching their own parents, friends or from TV. So here are my top tips to starting your new relationship.
Does the relationship enhance your life?
Would you be happy to see your child in a relationship like this?
Unless your relationship enhances your life, stay happily single.
If you are single and would like Mairead to arrange your dates or if you would simply like to book a consultation, get in touch with Love HQ on www.lovehq.ie
Mairead holds private consultations in Dublin, Galway, Cork, Limerick, Kilkenny and Mullingar.
Special thank you to Kieran and Mary Conway for allowing us take photographs with their Highland cattle.