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Whether you have just started dating in your teens, or began dating again in your thirties or forties, taking a chance on dating can be full of reservations and nerves. This is a guide on making that first date easy and fun.

1. Don't assume the man will do the asking and make all the arrangments: It's perfectly ok for women these days to do the asking. You can ask a man out without "asking someone out" by casually mentioning that you enjoy going to a certain place, that you are going there soon, and would he like to come? Also, if you ask a man out, don't expect him to make all the arrangments- tell him where and when to meet you and advise him if it is casual or formal dress. A good first date idea is to keep it casual, but if it is a wedding or performance, clue him in. And men, let the woman guide you in this instance.

2. Arrange to meet at a certain place and time: As this is a first date, meet at a public place. Take separate cars or transportation and be sure to have your own way home. If taking a bus or train, check the schedule in advance. This removes the nervous pressure of "waiting to be picked up" before the date or "should I ask him in" after the date.

Make it lunch to start: If possible, let that first date be lunch. A daytime lunch date is much less pressure than a "night out". It makes it seem less like a date and more like just getting to know someone. Dress and atmosphere are both less emotionally charged. That way, afterward, you can both go your separate ways and there is little chance you will end up in bed the next morning (unless the date continues into dinner etc.) If lunch went well, then try a romantic dinner.

4. Go Dutch Treat: Unless you have invited someone to an event to which you have tickets, split the tab on meals etc. You don't have to be obvious, if he has already paid for the movie, you can say "Ill get the coffee afterward". For a woman this shows independance, and you won't feel obligated. Most men say they find this very attractive in a woman.

5. Lastly but most important: Do not go on a blind date alone. Make sure others know where you are going, and who you will be with, and invite them to casually drop in the public place where you will be meeting. Do not get into a stranger's car and do not go home with a stranger, no matter how attractive. After a first date, a blind date IS still a stranger (to you) so don't leave yourself in an awkward or unsafe position.

Be wary of people you meet online, they may not be who they pretend to be. That lonely single guy could be married with five kids. I hate to quote the xfiles, but when it comes to first dates with a stranger met through chat rooms or personals, a good first date rule is "Trust No One".

So there you have it. If the first date goes well, you can make a decision whether to try another with that person.... but that is a whole other article...Good luck.