Falling in love is a beautiful thing. Building and maintaining that love, however, is what requires work. It takes courage and commitment, as relationship experts say. They recommend that for one to build a love that stands the test of time, the foundation has to start off on the right foot. This is why the first date matters. How things flow and how you connect can set the tone and pace of your relationship. Here are ways to plan a first date with lasting memories; Plan ahead When meeting a potential mate for the first time, Shadia Nansasi a relationship expert, says it’s important to plan ahead. Depending on both of your personalities, choose the right place and activity that will be comfortable for the two of you, she says. She recommends organising something that will be fun but unique and comfortable. “Ensure that the place you choose will give you enough time to talk and get to know each other.” Be yourself It’s not advised to try to act like someone you are not just to impress your date. Sandrine Umuhire, a programme director, says being yourself on a first date is the only way a person can create a real and lasting impression. “When you hide who you are on a first date, it will be hard for you to change that in the middle of a relationship. The worst part is that your partner, will at some point sense the pretence and this will put loopholes in the relationship before it even starts,” she says. “People can tell when you’re not authentic. It’s better to be real, especially if you are looking for commitment in this relationship.” Be enthusiastic Chloe Carmichael, a relationship expert, notes that a great attitude makes an impression on someone. Show your date that you have a zest for life and are happy to be out with them, and they will be more likely to get you stuck in their mind. Gush about the activity. Say, “I’m so excited we decided to try this! “Point out things you like about the place. Say, “Wow, I love how they decorated the walls with local art.” Carmichael recommends. Be a good listener Carmichael notes that it’s important to listen to what your date has to say, and show them that you care by repeating parts back to them. Try not to interrupt them, and don’t hog the conversation with stories about yourself. She also believes it’s important to make eye contact and nod along. Repeat part of what they said back to them to show that you’re listening and care about what they say. Mind your dressing When going on a first date, picking the right outfit can be extremely challenging. You want to make an impression and you are not sure how to go about that. Nansasi says it’s always best to choose a comfortable outfit; something that makes you feel smart and confident. “Choose an outfit that’s comfortable and one that will let you be you. Don’t go for tight fitting dresses for the sake of impressing your date, a nice pair of jeans and sneakers can be as classy depending on how you pair your outfit.” Be aware of your body language How you present yourself on a date speaks volumes and this goes beyond how you dress for the occasion. How you show up, react and act during the conversation matters—this includes how you communicate both verbally and nonverbally—what you say and how you say it can indicate how present you are in the moment.