Here are some guidelines to get you started:

Make the best of yourself.  If you’ve been living alone, or in a long-term relationship, you may be used to scruffiness.  If you’re dating, you will need smart, freshly washed clothes, a good shave and haircut, and fresh breath.

Screen before you date Every blind date is a big emotional and time investment.  Do as much screening as you can before meeting up, to improve your chances of success.  Know the kind of partner you are looking for, and check things out by phone or email.  Understand what she wants, and if you’re likely to suit her.  Ask for a picture, and send yours.  Learn what matters most to you, and the questions that can explore this.

Enjoy the journey, not the outcome Blind dates are nerve-wracking: you are both accepting or rejecting each other, and it probably happens within the first minute.  I can recall a couple of blind dates with truly gorgeous women, who ticked all my boxes, but were clearly not interested.  There is a gift in all this, learning to value yourself even when she turns you down.  I tried to enjoy the conversations, even when they were going nowhere.

Blind dates are not therapy sessions.  If you’re still hurting from a major breakup, this nice woman across the table may seem ideal to pour out your troubles to.  Don’t!  Start with easy topics, go gradually deeper if it suits both of you.  Keep it a dialogue: ask plenty of questions, talk about yourself, but not for too long.  Talk about positives: what you enjoy, what you are looking for and offer in a relationship.

Value what you offer You may worry about your looks, but don’t be hard on yourself.  You are not in your twenties, that’s just a fact.  Fortunately, most mature women value other qualities more than looks.  If you have learned some of the skills of intimacy and can offer good conversation, have some emotional honesty, are learning to be open about your feelings, and are basically dependable and trustworthy, you are a good prospect!

Taken from from Alan Heek’s forthcoming book