First Date Gifts: Five Ideas (And Tips) That Can Help Start The Date Off Right

Updated April 8, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

First dates can feel intimidating, especially if you don't have an established relationship with your date. The less you know about the person, the more difficult it may be to establish a connection and get the ball rolling towards a more meaningful potential relationship. Giving your date a small gift can not only be a great ice breaker, but may show your date that you're a thoughtful, giving, and caring person while also setting you apart from other suitors. Let's talk about some possible thoughtful options that likely won’t come off too strong for a first date.

Making a good first impression can be stressful

Before we get into what to give your date, let's talk about some general first date tips that may help everything go smoothly. First, let's acknowledge something important: most of us are our own worst critics. Many of us may spend a lot of time psyching ourselves out before a first date with someone, possibly engaging in negative self-talk. Rather than giving in to these unhelpful thoughts, take a moment to refocus your mind and engage in positive thinking, keeping in mind there's a reason why your date said “yes” in the first place. Be confident in yourself and who you are, which can exude an extra element of appeal to your date. According to data gathered by the popular online dating medium Match, chemistry is usually not experienced fully (nor is it expected) on the first date, but more so on the second, so don't sweat it.

First date tips

Arrive on time

Make punctuality your priority, even if that means showing up a bit early rather than being late. No one likes having to wait for someone, especially while experiencing feelings of nervousness over the meeting and interacting with someone new. Being late may leave your date with negative feelings about whether you will even show up or not. There are some cases when unexpected circumstances do occur, and you may not be able to make it on time. Take the time to communicate any unforeseen circumstances with your date to stay informed so their mind can rest easy as they wait. Be sure to offer a legitimate reason as to why you're showing up late. This can go a long way toward earning trust and holding yourself accountable. Once you arrive, be sure to apologize for your lateness in person.

Listen to your date and ask questions in response

It's important that your date feels heard and appreciated. Ensure you're aware of the conversation and allow yourself and your date to have a nice tennis match back and forth as you speak. You're both here to get to know one another, so be sure to give each other equal opportunity to both share and listen.

Even though it's important to get to know one another on the first date, it's also worthwhile to think about the fact that you've both probably been on other first dates that were very similar. There are often typical questions asked like, "Where do you work?" or "What are your hobbies?" These questions can help with getting to know someone but might get boring and repetitive after a string of first dates. One thing that may set you apart from others is asking questions that are different and unique, offering your date a chance to think about their answer on a deeper level. Asking something like "What is your favorite thing about what you do?" or "What is it that you're most passionate about outside of the workplace?" allows for more of a conversational, thoughtful response.

When your date responds, be sure to be an active listener by asking some follow-up questions to the responses and offering commentary on what was said. Even being able to repeat something that was said when offering comments will go a long way in showing that you care and not only hear what is being said but are interested, invested, and listening.

Don't talk about exes

Unfortunately, this is one of the most common mistakes made on first dates, especially if it has not been a long time since your last break up. Even though it might not be something done consciously or intentionally, some people do end up discussing their past relationships. While it depends on the individuals and the date, it’s generally best to avoid discussing exes on the first date. This time is about getting to know one another, not one another's exes. Bringing up memories about someone from your past can leave thoughts in the other person's mind that you may still have feelings for them or have unresolved issues. Focus on the person in front of you, not the people you've left behind.

Put the phones away

We live in such a plugged-in time in which many of us have trouble separating from our mobile devices. However, if you're on a first date, limit or eliminate phone usage so you can show undivided attention to your date. This can help them feel significant, important, and of course, special. It will also give you more time to focus on one another without any distractions. It won't kill you to put your phone away for an hour or two at the dinner table, so show that extra level of respect and attention to your date. If there may be a situation where you need to check your phone or call someone back, step away and go to the restroom or go outside. Make this conversation quick, and upon returning, offer a sincere apology for any disruption.

Avoid political and controversial topics

A common date faux pas is discussing hot topics too soon. The first date is a very fragile time where both you and your date may still be feeling one another out. While it may be important to hold some of the same political, religious, or moral views, the first day might not be the best time to bring these things up. Establish a personal connection that's purely based on who the person is before discussing their personal views. If you or your date are very passionate about certain topics you disagree on, this can set the stage for an awkward date and potentially prevent a second from happening.

Now that you're familiar with some tips for first dates, let's figure out what you should bring along with you to give as a gift.

First date gifts


Giving flowers to your date may seem like a cop-out, but it's a classic for a reason. Flowers are simple and not too personal, so they can make the perfect gift for someone who you may not know too well or at all. Giving flowers shows that you have been thinking about them and wanted to go the extra mile. 


This is another classic that can make a great first date gift, unless your date doesn't drink. Before your first date, start dropping some small hints to find out about the type of wine they like. Showing up with a bottle of wine will show thoughtfulness. This will have a personal element (since your date will be able to see the effort you put into learning about them and their preferences) but still not be too intimidating or personal for a first date. If things go well and decide to have a nightcap together, this gift would be perfect for you both to enjoy together. 

Chocolate or other candy

Okay, so we're still rolling with the classics here. It's important to show that you know your date when choosing chocolates. Be aware of any allergies; ask about your date's favorite candies. Do they even like chocolate or candy? If they do, this is a very gentle and literally sweet gift that shows your thoughtfulness, ability to listen, and of course, is something that will keep your date reminded of you long after your date is over as they enjoy the sweet yummy goodness.

Something exclusive to your date's preferences

We promise this option isn't a cop-out, and no, we didn't run out of ideas. However, this one is really where your listening and intuitive skills will come in handy. If you've spent any time getting to know your date before your first actual date, or if this is someone you've already been familiar with, get them a gift that shows how well you know them and that you listen and pay attention. For example, maybe your date has mentioned their love for traveling. Something like a snow globe of a place they wish to go to, or a compass will show that you not only pay attention but support your date's passion. It is also just generalized enough to not come off as too strong or emotionally attached.

A book

Before opting for a book as a first-date gift, we strongly advise only choosing this option if you're familiar with the person you're going out with. Choosing a book can go a few ways; perhaps the person is very receptive or even excited by the book you've chosen, or they're completely disinterested or maybe even offended by the title selected. Rather than walk this line, if you know for a fact that your date is an avid reader and you know what kind of books they're interested in, this can be a great choice that will keep them thinking of you each time they pick the book up.

Getty/Xavier Lorenzo
Making a good first impression can be stressful

Online support for dating and relationships

First dates can be challenging. Both you and your date are placed in vulnerable positions as you both work to get to know someone new. Giving your date a gift can serve as a great ice breaker that allows you both to feel a bit more comfortable around each other, and it may even give you a topic of discussion. If you're looking for tips for first dates or are interested in discussing how you can become more comfortable with approaching first dates, visit us at for some help.

Online therapy, such as the services offered through Regain, is often more affordable than face-to-face therapy even without insurance. Additionally, you’re able to attend sessions anywhere you’re most comfortable and have an internet connection. You can connect with your therapist via video chat, phone call, in-app personal messaging, or live voice recordings.

Although online therapy is gaining steam, there is still some skepticism surrounding it. However, the National Center for Health Research found that internet-based therapy is just as effective as traditional therapy for a variety of conditions and concerns.

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