How to Survive Your First Date in Spanish

by Maria Inês Teixeira
April 07, 2020

We get it. You want to impress your Spanish-speaking crush. Your date is rapidly approaching, and you want to sound your best and charm them to no end. You’d like to show that you appreciate their native culture or heritage and demonstrate how committed you are to leaving a great first impression. We’re here to back you up! 

How to prepare for your Spanish date

What are some ways you can prepare for your first date in Spanish? What should you take into consideration? Let’s jump in!

Get specific with the dialect

Thankfully, Spanish speakers from all over the world can understand each other. Whatever Spanish dialect you learn, you’ll be understood by your date. But wouldn’t it be much better if you knew your date’s country of origin and tried learning some specific vocabulary from there? If your date is of Spanish heritage, learn some fun idioms from Spain! If they are Chilean, research specific pronunciation tips and some common colloquial language. Do the same for any other Spanish-speaking country. Your date will be impressed by your efforts, even if you don’t get everything right! 

Review ser and estar

If you find yourself at a level that allows you to speak Spanish for the entire date, congratulations! But it is always a good idea to review the difference between ser and estar (the two different verbs for “to be”). You should specifically remember this: one indicates permanent states, personality and identity (ser), while the other indicates temporary states or emotions (estar). This can make a huge difference in the way you come across! For example, saying “Eres muy bonita” (“You are a very beautiful woman” – in general) is different from saying “Estás muy bonita” (“You are very beautiful at the moment”). Both are nice, but what is implied changes.

Beware of those false cognates

Saying “Estoy embarazada” to mean you’re embarrassed can have terrible results for your date. In Spanish, embarazada is the word for “pregnant”. This has become a classic for the Spanish learning community, as it is one of the most common mistakes – and also one of the most embarrassing! Make sure you avoid these false friends that can create misunderstandings. Although let’s face it – your date probably won’t feel angry or insulted. The worst that can happen is an awkward moment followed by a good laugh!

Asking about your date’s opinion

Regardless of what topic comes up during your date, you’re likely to want to know their opinion about certain foods, movies, series, music or even clothing. For that reason, it’s wise to review expressions like “¿Qué prefieres?” (What do you prefer?), “¿Te gusta?” (Do you like it?) or “¿Qué tipo de … te gusta?” (What type of ….do you like?). Of course, if you are talking about plurals, remember to turn gusta into gustan. For example, you might ask: “¿Qué tipo de películas te gustan?” (What type of songs do you like?).

Express your likes and dislikes

Yes, you want to know more about your date’s personality and tastes. But they’ll want to know more about yours, too (hopefully)! Here are some expressions you can use to talk about your likes and dislikes. 

  • Use “Me gusta…” or “Me gustan…” to talk about things you like. (“Me gusta tu camisa” – I like your shirt)
  • Use “No me gusta” or “No me gustan” to talk about dislikes (“No me gustan las flores” – I don’t like flowers).
  • If you really love something, you can always use “Me encanta” or “Me encantan” (Eg: “Me encantan tus historias!” – I really like your stories!)

Practise ordering food and drinks

Apart from knowing basic words related to meals in Spanish, it is also a great idea to practice ordering food and drinks, especially if you’ll be visiting a Spanish-speaking restaurant or bar. Again, some of these expressions might change depending on the Spanish-speaking country at hand, but let’s focus on Spanish culture as a starting point. When it’s time to order a drink, you might say: “Voy a tomar un…” (Eg: Voy a tomar un cortado, gracias. – I am going to have an expresso coffee, thanks). You can also say “Para mí,” followed by your order. For example, “Para mí, la tortilla”. (A tortilla for me). 

Compliment your date

What are some smooth ways you can compliment your date and impress them? You can say “Estás muy guapo / guapa!” (You look beautiful!) as they walk into the restaurant. You can also use the previous expressions about likes and dislikes to talk about their personality or outfit: “¡Me encanta tu personalidad!(I love your personality!). “Me gusta tu vestido, te queda muy bien.” (I like your dress, it looks very good on you). 

Offer to pay the bill (if that’s your policy!)

The end of a date usually results in one of the lovers offering to pay the bill or check (cuenta in Spanish) and the other one refusing. A fight for the bill ensues. If you’d like to pay for the bill, start by asking the waiter: “¿Nos trae la cuenta, por favor?” (Will you bring us the check, please?) or just “La cuenta, por favor”. Then, you can always tell your date a simple “Yo pago, por favor!” (Please, I pay!). If you’re one of those sneaky dates that go behind the other person’s back to pay for the check as a surprise, you can always announce when they reach for their wallets: “Ya pagué!”. (I’ve already paid). 

Bonus: useful dating vocabulary in Spanish

  • llevarse bien (to get along)
  • salir juntos (to go out together) 
  • coquetear (to flirt)
  • novio / novia (boyfriend / girlfriend) 
  • besar (to kiss)
  • el beso (kiss)
  • el abrazo (hug)
  • soltero / soltera (single)
  • la vela (candle)
  • el restaurante (restaurant)
  • el cine (movie theatre)
  • las flores (flowers)
  • fin de semana (weekend)
  • bailar (to dance)

Conclusion: it’s all about your date

In the end, remember this: you know your date’s personality and interests better than we do. Make sure you review some vocabulary that could come in handy for that person in particular, and don’t be afraid to mess up. Your personality, values, sense of humor and open mind should be more than enough for your first date…and we’ll be here to help you with your Spanish progress! Buena suerte!

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