UNITED STATES—So, you’ve found that special someone and worked up the courage to ask them out. If you’re already planning the first date, chances are that they said yes. That’s great, but here comes the really difficult part.

After all, you want to seem excited, but you don’t want to come off too strong. You want to be intelligent, but not pretentious; funny, but not a try-hard. Then there are all the potential situations, such as figuring out what to say while making sure that you’ve wiped all of the sauce from your shirt.

However, before any of this even matters you need to figure out where to have your date in the first place. You should also have an idea of what you’re going to be doing the whole time. Fortunately, the following guide contains 5 tips for planning a fun first date that’s bound to lead to a second.

Think Ahead

The destination for the occasion in question is of vital importance. It sets the tone for your date and determines a lot about how you’ll spend it and who your would-be partner perceives you as.

If you’re lucky enough to know the type of activities your date enjoys, this step will be much easier. In the absence of any information, it’s best to pick a relaxed and neutral place where you can comfortably focus on getting to know each other. Remember that it doesn’t always work out, so keep timing in mind when choosing where to go.

For example, you don’t want to order at an expensive restaurant before realizing that things aren’t going to work out. That might leave the both of you stuck eating two very awkward meals. Instead of say, dinner or a movie, you may be better off spending this kind of date at a classy bar or coffee shop.

Choose Your Location

In the age of internet messaging, the aforementioned scenario isn’t as likely as before. You probably know a thing or two about your date already, which can open up more options when it comes to where you meet each other.

Perhaps you’re both the adventurous type and don’t mind something a little less reserved, such as a concert. If so, this list of the top ten best ticket sites can help you find out where you can make a booking. Other outdoor activities include creating your own picnic, going boating or taking them on an interesting and scenic walk.

Whether it’s due to your personalities or simply the weather, you might prefer to spend your date under a roof. In that case, here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Go to the library
  • Head to the arcade (or play games at home)
  • Take music lessons or watch a live band
  • Take cooking classes
  • Visit a psychic
  • Visit a local tourist hotspot that they haven’t seen before

At the end of the day, you should have an idea of what your date-to-be is more likely to enjoy. Just don’t forget to keep your own preferences in mind. You don’t want to end up somewhere that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Leverage Food

Chances are that you’re going to be eating at some point during your date. This not only meets a likely expectation and improves your moods, but it also serves as an opportunity to build trust. How so? By eating the same or similar food to your date, you bond over sharing something in common and subconsciously build rapport.

Double Up

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous and your potential partner is up for it, consider having a double-date with someone you trust. There are a few things to be aware of and it’s not for everyone, but there are benefits as well.

Prepare for Engaging Conversation

For many people, the most nerve-racking aspect of any date is saying the right thing and keeping the conversation going. This is particularly true for introverts and more so for those with social anxiety. But worry not, as there are several strategies that ought to help you maintain a successful interaction.

Of course, it’s wise to avoid cheesy jokes and pick-up lines, especially if you’re seeing a woman. Empty compliments and failed attempts at humor won’t get your very far. Conversations that show how curious, cultured and intelligent you are will lead to the best outcome.

Also, reciprocity is key. When someone shares a certain story, try to share a similar experience of your own. When you’re asked a certain question, remember to ask them the same one if appropriate. It comes off as polite and respectful. Be sure to have your mind right before the date as well. You don’t want to ruin it before it even happens.

No matter what you do or where you go, remember to keep your own interests in mind as well as those of your date. You should always be in an environment where you can present your best and truest self.