Too often the stress and worry of dating someone new--especially if she is someone you really like--can eclipse an otherwise very good time. Some dates are doomed from the start because people are just not compatible, but others go awry because of silly mistakes or bad behavior. Start out with a list of things to do and things not to do firmly in mind and be realistic about your expectations.
If you're picking her up, show up when you said you would--literally. You won't get kudos for appearing at 6:45 p.m. when you told her you'd be there at 7:00. If she's not ready, you'll stress her out and things will get off on a bad note, just as much as if you're 15 minutes late. If you're worried about being late and arrive too early, find a public parking lot nearby where you can delay a few minutes and arrive right on time. Likewise, if disaster occurs and you can't avoid being late because your tire has just gone flat, use your cell phone. Let her know.
Have a Game Plan
One of the most awkward aspects of a date with someone new is running out of things to talk about, so have a mental list of potential topics that you can pluck from if an uncomfortable lull occurs. She'll think you're quick-witted and charming if you can keep the conversation going along myriad, interesting paths, and she'll be grateful that you haven't left that onerous task up to her. A date that involves some kind of activity, such as bowling or skating, can be ideal. It takes the intense focus off each other, such as what you would experience in a bar or restaurant. Just make sure it's not something either one of you excels at, leaving the other feeling inept.
Give Her Your Full Attention
If you want to succeed with her, listen to her. Ask questions and learn more about her from her responses. Promise yourself that you're not going to talk about yourself unless she asks, and if she does, just answer her question--don't go into a biopic of your life. If you're listening, you can glean a lot of information about her likes and dislikes and use it to your advantage on your second date. If she loves puppies, you'll score big points taking her to a dog show. When the date is over, ask her opinion of whatever the two of you did together. This, too, will give you tips you can use the second time around.
Ending the Evening
If everything goes well, this will be the trickiest part of your date. If you've been paying attention to her all night, you'll probably have picked up on some level of body language to indicate whether she wants you to kiss her, hug her or simply shake hands. If you're unsure, follow your heart or your instincts, but take it slow. You don't want to make her feel threatened, hurried or crowded. If you tell her you'll call her, do it when you say you will. Don't neglect to tell her that you're going to be out of town the next few days so you won't be able to reach out to her until Wednesday. Otherwise, she'll stew and wonder what she did wrong, or worse, dislike you for taking your time about following up.