You have both agreed to GO on a First Date! Whew! Big hurdle cleared there. Now....the planning starts.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to locations for the first date. The key is to be open to the suggestions of the other person and to use some common interests you may have already discovered.
It can be quiet and romantic, which is conducive for talking and listening if your goal is to gather more information; a restaurant with outdoor seating if the weather is good, or one with a cozy corner booth and fireplace if cold. You could go to a museum, an exhibit or even a movie. I have mixed feelings about a movie. Statistically more people respond favorably to a movie as a first date than any other suggestion. I am not sure if that is because it limits the amount of conversation that has to take place, or if people just enjoy a good movie. A movie definitely inhibits talking and finding out more about the other person, but there is something a little romantic about sitting close in the dark while leaning in to whisper about the film. I have had movie dates where we met, went inside, watched the movie and parted ways with probably less than 100 words total spoken. Then I have had those where we met, watched the movie and then went somewhere to grab a bite and talked about it. It opened up an obvious topic of conversation that branched off to other things. This can also be a tell-tale sign about common ground since agreeing on a movie can be quite challenging at times. The Sci-Fi vs the Chick Flick, the Horror vs the Animated, the Action vs the Documentary. If a couple finds the right movie fit right away, that’s a good sign!
You can also go loud and crowded if you just want to let loose and have fun; an outdoor festival where you can walk around checking out the craft or artisan vendors and sampling different foods. You can listen to a band and go out dancing; try karaoke. Any of these options will highlight the similarities or differences in artistic taste, music, food/eating styles, activity level. You can take in a local sporting event. If you would rather gauge their spontaneity and skill sets suggest a round of putt-putt, tennis, bowling, or go shoot a game of pool. Wherever you pick, make sure it is a public place and that you arrive separately. I am still not in favor of giving out home addresses and starting (or ending) from there. No matter how sweetly they talk on the phone or how appealing a home cooked dinner and Netflix in front of the big screen TV sounds, this should never be the first date. There is plenty of time for that later if things go well. This isn’t even necessarily a safety feature, even though that’s a valid concern; until you know that this person will not park in your driveway with headlights (or a spotlight) pointing into your living room window playing a love song at full volume at 1 am, do NOT let them know where you live.
In addition to picking a public place, pick a place/activity within a reasonable budget. From a recent survey, 80% of the men questioned still pick up the check (Yeah for you guys!), but each person should be prepared to pay their own way. Here is my take on this, even though I know there are those that disagree with me. I love the idea of a man ‘taking me out’. It’s romantic and sweet and flows with the traditional dating roles. However, if we have never met before, I have no idea whether or not this guy really digs me or not. If he is watching the clock until it is time to go, I would never want him to feel an obligation to pay my way. My personal opinion is to have the conversation before the date so there are no awkward moments when the check arrives. I have had this happen. I had one guy get very insulted that I offered to pay, assuming I was attacking his ability to provide. I had this talk with another when the check came and at first, he said no, and after my explanation, he said, “Well then, why don’t you pay for this one and I’ll pay for the next one?” I figured I had backed myself into a corner because I am the one who brought it up, so I paid for all of it. I never heard from him again. I also recently went out with someone and did not offer to pay my portion and afterward he spent thirty minutes complaining about how much it cost. The rules are shifting a bit on this topic and honestly, I am not convinced I have the right answer. My advice is to do what feels right for you, even though I still choose most of the time to offer or at least have the funds available to do so. To the girls, if you offer and he declines and wants to pick up the check, be gracious and grateful, do not insist or create a conflict. And to the guys, if a woman does bring this up, please do not be offended. We are not being ultra liberal or unappreciative of your generosity; it is simply a nice and fair gesture on our part. If the wheels keeping rolling, there will be plenty of opportunity for both of you to contribute to the fun!
I hope I have given you plenty of ideas and options of things to do on your first date. The most important piece is YOU and the most important outcome is FUN. So get out there and go for it!
Stay tuned next week for more tips on what to wear and what to say (or not!).
Hope With Abandon