Photographer: Shaun Campbell
First dates are awkward whether you are meeting for the first time or have been friends for years. So it is my advice to keep things simple to try to eliminate unnecessary anxiety! There’s nothing worse than going to a location that you’re uncomfortable at, with someone you’re not comfortable with yet.
Everyone is different, but from my personal experience here are places that I would suggest avoiding:
- Expensive restaurants
- Money can be a touchy subject, so it’s best to keep the cost of the date well within a budget for everyone’s sake. Then whether one person or both are paying the bill, no one is left with regret or unease when the waiter brings the check. This also helps to avoid any feelings of obligation or resentment.
- Overly fancy places
- No one wants to go somewhere that they can’t pronounce something on the menu or aren’t sure exactly what the etiquette is (what the heck is the three pronged fork for??) when you are trying to make a good impression.
- The movies
- I think it’s best to be able to talk and get to know each other before sitting in a dark theater, where there are quite possibly teenagers who are making out around you.
- This also means that there is a set time that you have to spend with the person. So even if you meet up to talk beforehand and things are not going smoothly, you then have the obligation of spending the length of the movie together, or the awkwardness of saying that you are no longer going.
It is also important, especially when meeting someone on a dating app for a first date, to have plans that have an easy escape, without cutting things short if things are going well. Here are some suggestion for simple and fool proof first date ideas:
- Coffee shop
- You can take as much or as little time in a coffee shop as you want, so this leaves the date more open-ended. There’s also an out when your coffee cup is empty, if the date isn’t going well, or the option for grabbing a refill if the conversation is flowing!
- Plus it’s cost-efficient for everyone
- Casual drinks
- If you partake in adult beverages, this option, like the coffee shop, allows for less time restraints, while still offering wiggle room to leave. Restaurants typically have a time limit, because even if the waiter says “no rush” when they bring you the bill, the dirty looks from the long line in the lobby says differently.
- When choosing a place to grab drinks, I would make sure it is somewhere that is more low key, so that you can have a conversation without yelling. But still somewhere that has a decent amount of foot traffic and a good reputation to keep things safe.
- When I grab drinks with someone new, I like that I have the option of offering to take turns grabbing the rounds. This then eliminates any first date awkwardness when it comes to picking up the tab at the end of the night.
- Taco joints!
- This option depends on where you live, but there’s a lot of hole-in-the-wall places to grab made-to-order tacos in Pittsburgh.
- Casual dining places like this goes along with our theme of not being pressed for time. There’s enough people coming in and out that it’s safe, but no one serving you, so you can linger in that side booth for awhile if your date has great stories.
- Tacos also have a variety of options for those who have dietary restraints as well.
- Taco dives typically play fun music too and what better conversation starter than a song coming on that’s from your middle school days. Nothing breaks the ice like having a good laugh about how awkward you were in middle school and bonding over old trends.
These are just some things that I have come to realize now that I am back in the dating game. It is hard enough to meet someone when you are an adult with work obligations, without setting yourself up for failure with an overly complicated date. I would love to hear any fun dating stories or other date suggestions, so feel free to comment below to share!