Your second date is about getting to know one another better. It is probably more appropriate to think of this as a "second first date," as many of the same principles apply, though much of the uncertainty is behind you. This is your chance to put an even better foot forward and avoid any mistakes you may have made on the first go-around.
Unfortunately, having already had a one-on-one encounter does not remove the pressure of a second meeting; after all, this is still a date. If you had any major snafus the first time, this is your one opportunity to reveal your true self. If the first date was great, the expectations will be even higher the second time around. The advice below will walk you through the entire process to alleviate your anxiety and help you survive the second date.
Your first date venue can probably be summed up in one word: safe. The second date opens the door for a bit more creativity and, if it is not overdone, intimacy. First dates serve as a filter, while the second date should be used to build a connection. There was a heavy focus on the first encounter being a casual experience to avoid any unnecessary pressure; it is ok to create a more intimate environment on the second date. Events can be a little more formal, and dinners a little more expensive. You don't want to force the situation, but you want to move forward.
No matter what the plans, they should reflect your date's interests now that you've had a chance to get to know him or her. If you've done your homework, you listened to your date the first time around and have at least a basic understanding of what they might like. This may be as simple as their favorite cuisine, local band, or movie genre. Use the information you gathered to suggest an idea for the second date. Cater to their interests and you won't go wrong.
The planning is done, and now it is time to execute. In particular, we are looking at initial greetings and mid-date conversation.
It is ok to disagree with the other person. You don't have to start a heated debate, but expressing yourself in a healthy way will generally work in your favor. The key is to disagree in an agreeable manner. This will shed light onto the other person's views and let you see what he or she is passionate about, an important aspect in any lasting relationship.
A second date is the perfect opportunity to show you were paying attention the first time around. Was there something in particular your date was either worried or excited about? Perhaps there was a deadline they were trying to meet at work, or an event they planned to attend. Ask how it went. Remembering information about the other person and inquiring about it later instantly creates a positive connection.
What do we mean by being incompletely open? Do not get too personal too soon. Highly personal conversation is best avoided in the beginning, even if you form a connection with your date. No matter how close the connection, you just met the person and now is not the time to start pouring out your deepest secrets. There is plenty left to learn about one another before it gets to that.
Having said that, you should always be honest and open. We cannot stress enough that dating is not about impressing the other person; you are trying to find the perfect match for you, not an enhanced version of yourself.
The most important advice we can give is to maintain proper perspective. If you are looking for a long-term companion, make sure your date is someone with whom the relationship can mature over time. Focus on compatibility. How much do you actually have in common? Everyone is on their best behavior at first, so look at who your date really is. Emotional availability, baggage, family, and financial standing are extremely significant, though you shouldn't push anything. We also caution you about prying into their views on religion, morals, and the like; these will reveal themselves naturally as you get to know one another.
Ultimately, the second date is an opportunity to evaluate your return on investment. If there isn't chemistry, don't force a third date. Too many people fall into the trap of giving the benefit of the doubt with the hope that the chemistry will come. This will only lead to wasted time and money, and possibly even a forced relationship doomed to fail. Trust your instincts.