First dates can be scary; putting yourself out there for other people to judge isn’t exactly easy after all. The key to a successful date isn’t about placing the priority on making the connection with your date (that’s completely out of your control), it’s about making sure you’re relaxed and comfortable. This gives you the best chance to shine and your true self, letting your perfect match fall head over heels for you.

And, if they don’t?

Well, it’s their loss. It’s better to be yourself and not connect, than to try and force it and end up with a disastrous breakup down the line. So, if you’ve got a date lined up or are looking for some inspiration, here’s my five tips.

1. Make it a Low-Key Affair.

Okay, so meeting the person of your dreams isn’t low-key at all, but if you make a first date too much of a big deal, you’re going to get nervous, and that often means you won’t be able to shine. Go somewhere you feel comfortable, and where both you and your date can relax. Then you’ll be able to power through those initial nerves and really get to know each other.

2. Avoid Dinner Dates.

Taking your date to dinner is a well-rehearsed tradition, but for a first date, it can be a disaster. Many people don’t like eating in front of other people, particularly on a first date. There’s also all those interruptions from wait staff, as well as awkward pauses between courses. Get to know someone first with a couple of dates before considering taking them out for the full wine and dining experience.

3. Avoid the Cinema.

Likewise, if you’re actually trying to get to know someone, sitting in a dark room for two hours probably isn’t the best idea. If you’re intent on seeing a movie, at least go for a coffee date first. The movies are great if you’re just going to get it on in the back row, but if you’re looking for something a little more meaningful, it’s probably best to leave the latest blockbuster until date three or four.

4. Do Something of Interest.

You could plump for the same old drinks date, or you could do something you’re both interested in. Love animals? Take your date to the zoo. Your date loves art? Take them to a gallery. You both like walking? Go to the park! By making an effort before the date’s even started, you’re sure to make a good impression.

5 Don’t Have High Expectations.

Lastly, it’s vital not to expect too much on a first date. There are millions of people out there, and you’ll have to meet a lot if you’re to find that perfect someone. If you meet and there’s no spark – don’t be disheartened – life could be worse than spending a couple of hours meeting someone new.

If you don’t like them at all? Well, you can just leave.

If the spark lead’s to something, then great! If not, you’re just one person down on your way to find the perfect match.