It doesn’t matter if you are a serial dater or just coming back into the dating scene after a hiatus. There is nothing that will give your stomach the jitters like a first date. It is that mix of nerves, anxiety, excitement and intrigue all bundled into one.
It would not be too far-fetched to consider a first date a personal interview. After all, that is exactly how you feel when you agree to go on one. Just like a professional interview, you struggle with what to wear and what to say all in an effort to make a good first impression. You also stress about the logistics such as will you be driving separately and meeting there and even how the bill will be handled.
There are definite dos and don’ts to a first date. Most of the do’s and don’ts can be accomplished effortlessly based solely on where you and your partner choose to go and the activities you choose to do on your date. While we would like to believe that a first date should just be a “go with the flow” type of date; it is more realistic to have a plan in order to achieve your goal of getting to know the other person and seeing if there is a connection or chemistry.
There are five things that you will want to consider when deciding where to go on your first date:
- Will you have the opportunity to talk and get to know each other?
- Will you be able to be yourself?
- Will you feel safe?
- Is it something of someplace you both agree on?
- Is it something or someplace you will both enjoy?
First let’s bust a major myth. All dates to not have to happen on the weekend at night. In fact, it is often best if they don’t. Keeping a first date casual is the best way to reduce some of the stress a first date brings.
Another myth is that dates usually always consist of some type of meal followed by a movie or other activity that does not promote conversation. The best way to avoid this is by considering how you met in the first place or why your friend thought you would make a good pair. Did you meet at a museum or at a sporting event? If so, why not make your first date a similar activity since you already know you have that in common. It would lead to easy conversation and you will relax being in your comfort zone.
To avoid both the “weekend/nighttime” and the cliché “dinner and a movie” dates, here are some suggestions for dates that are casual, safe, and comfortable.
Go for a walk – Simple but awesome. Nowadays, people think they need to pull out all the stops and make the date amazingly impressive. Dates are not about how much money or how elaborate the date is. It is about having great conversation, getting to know each other and seeing if this is a person you would like to spend more time with. Why not pick a small town with a cute historic main street for your stroll followed by a stop into the local café for a cup of coffee?
Picnic and people watching – Decide on a local park or beach and enjoy a nice picnic. Not only will everyone feel relaxed but there is always conversation to be had when you are in an area that is great for people watching.
Go boating, canoeing or kayaking – Any fun outdoor date that keeps you active, allows you to use teamwork and gives plenty of time for relaxing and talking is a great first date option.
Go for a jog – If both of you are runners why not make your first date a run followed by a stop for a great protein shake afterwards?
Games and pizza – Sometimes low key is the best date so you may want to consider an afternoon or evening of video games and pizza. If you have mutual friends than this might be a great way to have a date while being around others that you both enjoy hanging out with.
Antiquing and old bookstores – Any type of place that intrigues you both is a great place to go wonder and window shop. Discussing your favorite authors or exploring period pieces in an antique shop will make for non-stop conversation that you will both enjoy.
Suggest a class – Do you both like painting, wine tasting or sushi? Take a class together. Many businesses and community colleges offer one day classes on everything from kite making to yoga.
Go to dinner – While dinner and movie is so cliché, you can still go to dinner and make it interesting. Choose a new restaurant in town that neither of you have tried. Pretend you are food critics and enjoy the evening ranking the food, wine list, ambiance and service.
Avoid any date that puts you way out of your comfort zone. If you are afraid of flying than do not agree to do on a helicopter ride of the city. However, don’t be afraid to try things that you have never done but always wanted to try. If your date suggest horseback riding and you want to go…say yes! Don’t be shy. Let your partner know this is new to you and that you are looking forward to the adventure.
Hopes are that after your first date you will both agree that the company was the best and that a second date is in order. Each of the first date suggestions above offer a great opportunity for a follow up date. If you enjoyed your jog together, suggest another jogging trail you have wanted to try. Did you love the wine tasting class? Why not suggest the advanced class being held the following week? If the restaurant critiquing was fun suggest you do it again at another restaurant or offer to try to recreate the same meal together at your place next week.
Dating doesn’t have to be a stomach turning, jitter filled activity. Plan ahead, relax, be yourself and enjoy!