Sophia Ledingham is a psychologist, a wife of 16 years and author of The Date Night Manifesto. Here, Sophia shares e some of the wisdom she has poured into that relationship and her new self-help book with us here at House of Coco. There are 16 Principles in The Date Night Manifesto, but Sophia has chosen to share with you just five easy-to-follow tips to execute a drama-free Date Night. Sophia’s advice will help any established relationship feel exciting and fresh…
We all lead busy lives filled with demanding jobs, time-consuming social lives and families that take planning and organisation; and yet we often let the relationships that matter the most slip in our priorities. To make a Date Night work takes effort so make sure to plan in advance. Fix a night and ensure you keep it completely free. No calls, emails, phones or tablets. If you need a babysitter book one well in advance and use someone who is reliable. Make sure it’s all about you and your partner – for that one evening at least.
Take some time to pick where you’re going to spend your evening.Datenightmanifesto.com/table-for-two/ has a series of recommendations in London, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Dublin but really it’s about finding somewhere that suits you and your partner. Make sure it isn’t your regular place, make it special and out of the ordinary. Choose somewhere with an intimate atmosphere (soft lighting, low music and tables set for two) and if you’re not sure call ahead or better still pop into the venue and check the vibe. And while there you can scout out the best table for your Date.
Any night out requires a touch of preparation but a Date Night takes a little more figuring out. Cover all the basics, make sure you’ve had a good night’s sleep in advance and give yourself plenty of time for pre-Date rituals (from a long soak in a bubble bath to getting a hair cut). Then try to add in one thing that will make the evening extra memorable for your partner. Whether you want to swat up on a subject your partner loves, or wear a new perfume. Consider also any special touches you can add to the evening to make it stress-free and memorable – some extra preparation will mean you’re confident and relaxed as you saunter into your evening.
Being on a Date is a difficult balancing act: you’re 50% audience and 50% performer for the whole evening with no one telling you when the cues are. While it’s impossible to tell you exactly what to do on your Date there are some rules of Date Night Decorum that can help. The most obvious is to ‘be attentive’ paying attention comes so naturally when we are in work settings and entertaining friends, but it is easily left off the list when we are with our nearest and dearest. So make sure you do your best to listen properly and respond in kind.
Many Dates are derailed by a few negative comments or conversations; staying positive is a really good aim for any evening. This sounds simple but can often take a certain amount of thought so here are a few quick tips that should keep you on the right track.
- Avoid talking about the domestic, from the state of the living room to the electricity bill try and keep conversations a bit more ‘exotic’.
- Introduce as many flattering points of conversation as possible – it really is hard to get a bad conversation out of a compliment.
- Concentrate on the things that are going right with the evening even if there are a few small hiccups.
Sophia Ledingham’s book The Date Night Manifesto is available now £8.99.