I have been told by many friends that blind dates can be really, really good.

Danielle Esplin described the feeling perfectly when she wrote “There’s an undeniable thrill about meeting a stranger and spending a few hours together, indulging in each other’s lives. It’s that spurt of saying whatever you want and leaving it behind with someone who’ll never look at you and think of it again.”

However, the feelings I most recall from blind dates I’ve had are more along the lines of nerve-wracking, cringe worthy, intimidating … You get my drift! Yes, I’m much more in the camp of Josh Stern who brilliantly quipped that he “always splashes on cologne before a blind date because dogs can smell fear!”

Alleluia! Never again will I allow my friends to take over my love life!!

Having said that, I have heard of some terrific blind dates. Some people just love them, particularly when they go on a date with someone their friends consider their perfect match.

My very good friend Jay Kamiraz (aka Mr.Fabulous) is a dating advisor on the BBC Asian network. He also appeared on the UK version of Blind Dates. Jay is openly gay and really is fabulous. He says his blind date gave him a fuzzy feeling inside, and was very relaxing and FB_IMG_1458086475316open. Unfortunately, his date was just not right for him. But he added that he would not rule out blind dating in the future.

So, if you’re brave enough to take on a blind date – good on you. Here are some survival tips I’ve picked up from my experiences.

Tips on how to survive a Blind date

First, obviously, you will never have met your blind date – that would kind of defeat the purpose, I guess! So, you might want to do some preparation.

At the risk of coming across like a latter-day Glenn Close – you know, the bunny-boiler from the movie, Fatal Attraction – look on-line and see what you can find out about your date. Any of the usual tools will be fine – google, facebook, twitter feeds etc…. I must confess I do this with every date. Honesty is a really big deal for me in relationships and I want to know from day one that my potential partner is actually who and what he or my friends say he is.

But remember, anything on-line is history. So don’t judge your date harshly. Give him (or her) the benefit of any doubt.

Oh, and at least try to act surprised when they start telling you things you have already discovered through your “due diligence”!

It’s also a good idea to break the ice before you actual date. You’ll have their number in case you are delayed etc.., so why not make a call before hand and say hi; or even send them a flirty text… to spice things up a little. Who knows, you may actually like him or her.

Give some thought to what you are going to talk about. There is nothing worse – I repeat, nothing worse – than going on a date where one of you has to do all the talking whilst the other just sits there like a lemon.

Actually, there is one thing worse – that’s where just one of you dominates the conversation – you know, they just talk, and talk, and talk – on and on and on…

So, share the load and both initiate and contribute to the conversation.

It’s good to get your date talking about themselves. Try asking what interests they may have, or what is the most adventurous thing they have ever done…. that sort of thing. You don’t need to ask for their entire life story. But it is good to probe a few key topics, if only to keep the conversation flowing and avoid awkward silences.

Of course, this also helps you get to know whether they really are compatible with you.

And offer some of your story too. Let them know what you’re interested in, and what are the most exciting things you have done in your life.

But again, just as you don’t need or necessarily want to know his entire life story, he doesn’t need or want to hear your’s either. So keep the stories short – it’s a date, not a lecture, after all!

Oh, and don’t go into too much detail! Trust me, I have toned down my life experience stories on many dates, let alone a blind date!

Never just talk about yourself. Remember, we have 2 ears and one mouth. Use them – even if you’re bored.

Avoid constantly checking your phone. It’s just plain rude. And don’t put it on the table either. It can cause a negative, distracted vibe. In fact, it’s better to keep your phone in your bag or jacket and, if you’re comfortable, kept on silent.

If you do need to check your phone, do so when your date goes to the bathroom. Otherwise, explain why you have to check it – to touch base with the babysitter, for example – even if you are, in fact, texting that friend you’ve lined up to call with your bail-out excuse – another key strategy for surviving any date!

Try to mirror his or her body language. This establishes a connection and promotes a real sense of engagement. It also shows your date that you’re interested in them without having to say straight out that you like them.

It’s funny, I actually only recently became aware of how important for relationships little things like body-posture juxtaposition are. Another little but important thing is simple touching – like just putting a hand on his shoulder when you’re both in a lift, or placing your hand in the small of her back as she steps into a taxi…

Trust me, those sorts of little things go a long, long way in relationships. Seriously, one of my all time favourite partners was really into things like that. He’d always open car doors for me; and he would always – literally always – reach over to touch my hand when we were sitting opposite one another at a restaurant table. He’d also make sure we held hands when we walked. It was quite strange for me because I had never been one for demonstrative affection before I met him. Now, I love and just can’t get enough of it!

Similarly, try to use the same tone of voice and pace of conversation as they use. These things show that you are in sync with each other, and that you are genuinely interested in each other.

Oh, and it’s really important to make eye contact. Of course, don’t over do it. Otherwise, it can come across a little creepy; or, worse, mistakenly give them the “come to bed eyes”. Unless, of course, you really connect and want to have sex with them. In that case, eye contact is absolutely essential – both in the lead up to, and of course during, the bedroom action!

Oh, and whatever you do, try to remember their name. Yes I’ve forgotten some on a few dates I’ve been on – and even once or twice in the bedroom – now, that was embarrassing!