The cliché "dinner and a movie" may be the most common first date idea, but it isn't necessarily the best. Many people are uncomfortable eating with a comparative stranger, and sitting together to watch a movie doesn't let a couple engage one another enough to discern if there should be a second date. A first date should allow the couple to meet, learn about one another in a fresh setting, and experience a broad enough range of behaviors to discover whether they want to meet again.
Good First Date Ideas and Tips
A first date should also provide entertainment to both individuals: something they both enjoy doing. First date ideas for memorable and enjoyable activities include:
- Discovering a sport you both enjoy: biking, swimming, hiking, skating, a baseball game, etc.
- Visiting a local tourist attraction as a couple: museum, art gallery, amusement park, zoo, etc.
- Botanical gardens provide a beautiful setting that fosters both romance and relaxed conversation.
- Trying a new activity together that you are both interested in, but have never done.
- In contrast, keeping your first date to a familiar setting may help to relieve the stress of dealing with multiple unknowns.
- Shopping at a local farmer's market will reveal your culinary sides and create an open door for future cooking encounters.
- Volunteering for a community project together will help others while granting you both an opportunity to work alongside one another.
- Going someplace for casual conversation away from regular companions: a coffee shop, bakery, park, etc.
- Taking a walk together is an excellent way to work out stress, put energy into the date, and provide an active setting for quality conversation.
No matter what you choose, the first date should be relatively stress-free, enabling both parties to relax and enjoy being together without pressure to perform to a particular standard or excel at a particular activity. The whole point of dating is to enjoy one another's company, and by keeping the event low-key, you are sure to start the relationship on a pleasant note.
Not all first dates need to follow the typical one-on-one paradigm. As mentioned previously, a relaxed setting that allows both parties to reveal themselves in a fresh light paves the way for a quality first date. In some cases, isolated first dates can seem more like job interviews as opposed to an organic method of getting to know one another. Although certain types of personal questions may seem key to understanding your partner, oral answers are good for revealing personal histories, but are not always the best way of conveying an individual's character or overall nature. The question/answer format may actually become stifling or lead to discomfort.
Dinner parties or events shared with mutual friends will allow you to view your partner in a group social setting where you are no longer the sole generator of conversation. This type of dating can make way for observations regarding how well your date can navigate the social plane and, importantly, what behaviors he commonly exhibits towards others. A group environment can help to relieve the pressure between two tense first daters. In some cases, where two individuals are particularly nervous, the one-on-one date model may create an unnatural situation that could encourage artificial behaviors or anxiety. However, more experienced daters who are comfortable in an isolated setting may not benefit as much from a group activity date. Group dates can feed flirtation, but limit romantic interaction.
Making It to the Second Date
If you decide that you do want a second date, be sure to have some way to contact one another. Within a few days after the first date, send a thank you message (via a quick phone call, brief e-mail, text message, etc.) and express that you had a good time and look forward to getting together again. With a bit of luck and patience, the second date may be followed by a third, fourth, and so on as the relationship grows into a solid friendship or romance that will last a lifetime.