Location, Location, Location
Staging the perfect first date is an art form, and location is crucial. Conversation basics, how you look and how you act are all vital – but without a stage you have nowhere to perform; without a field you have nowhere to play; without water, you have nowhere to swim… You get the picture. Pick a terrible location and all the charm in the world won't help you.
Choosing the right locale is the easiest way to show your date a good time. You've got plenty of time to do your homework and pick a knockout spot, but time and again people get it wrong… Which is a shame, because it can make or break your date.
The right place should spark conversation, put you both at ease and be the seedbed from which romance can grow. Get it wrong and you'll both be sitting awkwardly in silence, destined for your paths never to cross again.
This depends on how your online relationship has developed. Who made the first move? Who's been driving the conversation since then? If one of you is newer to the city, an “insider's tour” is a no-brainer. The local expert should take the reins, organizing where the date should be.
The choice doesn't have to be democratic. Sometimes it's a relief to just be given a time and a place, without any superfluous to-ing and fro-ing. Remember, confidence and decisiveness are attractive characteristics. If you can't pick a place to go without endlessly checking if it's OK, what does that say for the rest of your personality?
So when organizing your date, confidently make the suggestion and add a ‘Sound good to you?’ at the end. It gives your date a feeling of being involved in the decision-making process while making it clear who's in charge.
Ace The Place
The beauty of online dating is that even before your first meeting, you already know a little about your date's likes and dislikes. But don't assume you know everything. Just because they mention their fervor for fiction doesn't mean a book club meeting will make for a romantic evening.
Keep these tips in mind when you're making your choice:
Quick & Painless
We have to face the facts: first dates don't always succeed. There'll be times when you know within seconds it's not going to work, and you need to put your escape plan into action.
Choose an activity from which you can make a quick – yet smooth – exit in the event that no one wants to prolong the agony unnecessarily.
Keep it short and sweet. After all, even if your first rendezvous is a success, you always want to leave your date wanting more. It’s much better to walk away with more to talk about the next time you see one another, as opposed to letting the conversation run dry. Meeting for drinks is always a better choice than a romantic dinner. Coffee or tea is better than lunch.
When it comes to cost, unless you're Donald Trump, pick somewhere that won't break the bank. Whether or not you intend to split the bill, it’s best to go for something for which anyone would be comfortable paying.
Conversation Is Crucial
Remember, this is the first time you will meet face-to-face. No matter how genuine you are online interacting in person is different, so a good place for conversation is key. The first date may not be the right time to check out your favorite band. No matter how much you both enjoy the music, sign language is not an ideal mode of communication. Opt for an activity that gives ample opportunity for interaction. You are there to get to know one another after all.
But don't go too far the other way. Even if you're a great talker, we all need inspiration sometimes. Rather than getting cozy in a coffeehouse, get a latte to go and take a walk in the park, along an interesting waterfront, or somewhere with a nice view and plenty of people watching opportunities. If you run dry there's always a terribly dressed passer by you can both beat up on.
Creativity And Comfort
Don’t be afraid to get away from the traditional dinner-and-a-movie option. Try something kooky and fun – miniature golf, go-karting, playing air hockey at a local arcade – something different that can offer respite from any stalls in conversation.
Beaches, hikes, forest picnics and romantic dinners at your place are best avoided. It’s never a good idea to seclude yourself away from others while you are getting to know someone. On the other hand, nor is it a good idea to attend an event (like a football game or rock concert) which often attracts a raucous crowd. You don’t want your date to feel uncomfortable or unsafe.
By following these simple rules, and with a little creativity, your date will be itching to know what you have up your sleeve for that next encounter.