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Ace the Second Date

By Laura Snyder

Sure, the first date is important - you never get a second chance to make a first impression and all that - but it's the second (and sometimes third) date that really decides whether you'll continue along the road to couplehood, or just call it quits.

With that pressure, along with high expectations if you had a great first date or the stress of trying to redeem yourself if you didn't, suddenly the second date is looking more nerve-wracking than the first.

Here's how to not just survive, but succeed.

Make a Great Second Impression

It's important on a second date to really show you're interested in taking things further (haven't you ever wondered after a first date if they felt as strong a connection as you did?), so at first hellos make sure you say how great it is to see him or her again. But don't go overboard in your exuberance - no kiss hello, even if the first date ended with a smooch. Better to be cautious than freak out a date who's got reservations.

Build on First-Date Success

The second date is a great opportunity to show off how well you paid attention the last time. Think back on what you talked about. Did she mention a work deadline? Or a sick cat? Or a fun weekend plan? Ask how it went and - voila! - instant connection.

Do Something Fun

While you're thinking back on your first date chat, review any interesting hobbies your date might have named and consider one of them for your second date activity. Show you can think beyond the boring dinner-and-a-movie formula in favor of catching a live band, taking a hike, or going wine tasting. Now you look both interesting and thoughtful!

Apologize for Any First-Date Faux Pas

Grateful your date was able to overlook your drunken antics or bad mood enough to initiate Date #2? Say so. Apologize upfront (perhaps with reassurance that it was not normal behavior for you), say you want to do better this time, and then forget it and focus on making it happen.

Agree to Disagree

On the first date, you were careful to steer the conversation away from controversy. But now that you're getting to know each other better, it's okay to express your opinions (politely). By withholding your beliefs, you will avoid conflict, but you'll miss the chance to show how open-minded you are, to reveal a different side of your personality, or to learn something about what makes your date tick. Something that will surely come in handy for Date #3.

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