The consternation caused by first-dates with a new person is a timeless, age-old dilemma that never goes out of style. The decisions abound, from what to wear, what to say and where to go?
While we can’t advise you on what to say the first time you go out with someone, and we’re not about to deliberate on fashion choices, here are suggestions to facilitate your decision of where to take someone on a first date:
- Meet her/him for dinner. It may not break new ground in the pantheon of dating ideas, but there are few better ways to get to know a person on a first date than over dinner. Do it at a casual restaurant rather than a four-star establishment. And don’t make the mistake Mark Ratner did when he brought Stacey to the German restaurant on their first date in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”—for Gosh sakes, bring enough money to cover the meal!
- Take them to lunch. It represents less pressure on the part of both parties on the date if the meeting is taking place in the daytime. Not only is it light out, but lunch usually brings with it inherent time limits—a key component just in case you two don’t hit it off and are looking for the escape hatch soon after getting together.
- Coffee or ice cream. This takes the lunch philosophy and dials it down even more. Although, quite famously, when someone asks, “Wanna come in for coffee?” they don’t always mean coffee, in this case, meeting over coffee or an ice cream cone implies little pressure and more of a breather until (if) you two are able to reach a greater comfort level with one another.
- A sporting event. Get tickets to a baseball or basketball game and take your date there. It isn’t romantic, but it’s wide open, public, fun, and you’ll have a natural focal point of conversation (the game that you’re both watching) to fill in the gaps in conversation that can be a first-date hazard.
- Concert. If you both have similar tastes in music, whether it’s rock, hip-hop or classical, then concert tickets might be a good point to start off your potential relationship. Like a ballgame, you’d be meeting in a public place with lots of people around and a common point of interest to generate conversation.
- Movie. A movie ticket is a lot more expensive than it used to be, and there isn’t a lot of opportunity for get-to-know-each-other conversation in a darkened theater, however the movies are a reliable go-to choice for a first date. You could also combine the movie with suggestions 1, 2 or 3. Or you could hang out at home with a DVD or Netflix movie choice, saving the gas and the money, but upping the ante in terms of possible first-date tension.
- Picnic. Enjoy the great outdoors by packing a picnic lunch and heading to the park to get to know each other. It’s breezy, casual and a nice chance to connect without having to tip a waitress or concern yourself with the niceties of dining out.
- The zoo. If you both like nature and wildlife, a visit to the zoo can be just as much fun with a first date as it is with a wide-eyed child.
- The mall. Another public place where you can walk around, discover common interests and quietly make fun of the people passing you by is the mall. There’s plenty to do, plenty to talk about and the pressure quotient is fairly low.
- Be active. Take your first date bowling, roller skating, ice skating, mini-golfing or apple picking. You’ll be doing something together, hopefully having fun, and you both might enjoy the dynamic of a plan that involves something other than sitting across a table or in a theater or concert hall with one another.
These tips are no guarantee of date success. Just relax, don’t be dull, and, again, make sure you have enough money on hand.