Ah, the dreaded first date. I have been having quite a few of them lately now that I jumped back aboard the dating wagon. While I used to think as the first date as nothing more than an awkward situation, I have learned to rewire my thinking to help me get through even the most bizarre of dates.
Trust me, when you see first dates as learning opportunities and games, not one is a wasted moment. That is why I decided to share with you some ways to make every first date fun, even when you do not click.
1. Ditch the usual scenery
Does going on dates mean suggesting the same restaurant, bar, or area you have always gone? Do you find yourself frequenting these places so much it feels like a revolving door? Yeah, that is not a good sign.
When you surround yourself with the same uninspiring scenery, you are less likely to be invested in the overall experience of the moment. You go on autopilot. Even if the food or alcohol is tasty, consider a place neither of you has gone before so that you are both immersed in the surroundings and enjoying the time together.
2. Get outside
If you are anything like me, you probably get ridiculously nervous on the first date, regardless of how long you and your date have been chatting. Nothing amplifies my anxiety more than sitting in the same spot for an extended amount of time.
Therefore, if you find that nervousness keeps you on edge the entire time, you should choose dates that let you release some of that energy. One of the best ways to bond with another person is to go for a walk with them.
Hiking, picnicking, taking a trip to the beach, going for a jog, and outdoor concerts are a surefire way to release tension. In short, all that fresh air will do you both good – even if the chemistry is off.
3. DIY fun
This really works well if the both of you are creatives. For example, you can set up a DIY project like building birdhouses, tables, or anything else you think would be fun to make together.
Not only is working together with an excellent way to test compatibility, you get something the share if things do happen to spark. Procure all the materials beforehand then set up the workstation outside or anywhere where the mess won’t trouble others).
Another DIY you can do is beer, wine, or coffee sampling. You can either buy different bottles or types at the store then try them out over a homecooked meal or do a walk from cafe to cafe, for example. Or, you can even meet up at the park, unroll a blanket, and have a DIY wine-tasting (or beer, champagne, or whatever tickles your fancy) party while playing Pictionary or something.
4. Embrace your inner child
I think one of the things that makes a first date less intimidating is if you can laugh about things. A friend of mine once called this kind of date “stupid fun,” where you can both make fools of yourself and be okay with it.
Depending on the season, this could be talking a muddy hike, building sandcastles on the beach at dusk, having a nerf gun or laser tag fight, playing video games, going to karaoke, having a snowball fight, building snowmen or making snow angels, going ice skating, or what have you. The possibilities are endless, and if neither of you has done it before, the better.
5. Go to an antique store
I don’t know what it is about old and reused things that make for a wonderful conversation spot. I think it is because everything has a story. The dusty furniture, worn books, secondhand clothing, and dozens of knickknacks have history, and so a trip to the antique store feels less like shopping and more like a cheapo museum.
You can discuss history, how things have changed, and also find things from your childhood that would be nostalgic. I always think it is cool to talk about the positives of your childhood, such as the toys that defined a certain age.
It is a wonderful way to connect because there is always some kind of entertaining story to be told. Just avoid the “And this one time at band camp…” scenario, okay?
6. Get touristy
Even if you have seen everything there is to see where you live, it is okay to pretend that you are visiting someplace for the first time. Go to a touristy spot, walk around, and enjoy the sights and sounds.
The energy to the other people will be an excellent atmosphere for the two of you to get invigorated. Do what tourists do, too. Take pictures – the cheesier, the better. Buy a souvenir. Have the local delicacy. Try an excursion or take a tour.
By discovering more about a location, you can also discover more about each other. Plus, if things are really awkward between the two of you, there will be plenty of ways to “accidentally” lose one another.
7. Take a class
If the two of you love learning, why not take a class together? This could be an art or pottery class (One word: Ghost), a wine-tasting class, a fitness class, or anything that you two might be interested in.
For example, do you both love Indian food? Instead of just going to an Indian restaurant, why not learn how to make naan together? That way, even if the conversation runs a little dry, you have other things to focus on, like ingredients or form or technique.
Again, working together is a wonderful way to test compatibility and communication (both verbal and nonverbal). You will know right away if your date’s feeling it or not.
Making a first date fun even when the two of you might not be a match made in heaven does not have to be challenging. The key is finding something that the two of you might enjoy. Create your own adventure.
As long as you are excited about the experience, you will not be so paranoid about making a great first impression. And if by the end of the date the two of you can admit you had fun, then you can go on with no regrets.