Asking someone who you fancy out can be nerve-racking, and planning a first date can be even worse. Odds are you’re going to want everything to be ‘perfect’ so that you both have a great time, but how exactly can you pull that off?

To make it easier to plan a great first date, there are a few useful tips that you should follow:

Pick a location that lets you connect

On the first date, your goal should be to connect with your date and learn more about them. That is why it is best to choose a location that is conducive to do that.

In general neutral locations that are low-pressure and public tend to be best. On top of that, the location should be quiet enough that you’re able to hold a conversation with the other party.

Give them options

Everyone has their schedules and preferences, and you should take that into account. It never hurts to let your date know what you’re planning, lay out the various options, and ask them whether they prefer a specific day or a particular activity.

If you don’t want to ask them outright, you could at least get a feel for their preferences in other ways. For example, you could ask whether they would sometimes like casual and relaxed, or something a little more active.

Look at ways to break the ice and make conversation

While you could show up with a list of talking points, that isn’t the most natural approach. Instead, planning a first date that has icebreakers and conversation-starters built-in would make things flow a whole lot better.

For example, if you plan a visit to a museum, the exhibits will help provide topics of conversation. Or if you take a pottery class, the activity will help to break the ice.

Keep it short

As a rule, it is best to keep first dates short – usually a couple of hours. That way both of you can get to know a little about one another, without it dragging on for too long and getting awkward.

While technically you could extend the date if you guys hit it off, it is best not to. Rather than that, you could both arrange for a second date instead, and this time plan something that is longer.

If you’re a bit stuck looking for ideas for your first date, why not try generating them automatically? Tools such as the Date Night Decider can help on that front and will make it easy to come up with ideas that fit your preferences.

Keep in mind that it is always best if you have a backup plan, too – just in case anything happens. It doesn’t have to be anything too elaborate and can be a simple alternative that you turn to if your initial plans don’t work out for any reason.